BALDESSARI, John. Choosing: Green Beans. (Milan): (Edizioni Toselli), (1972).

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Choosing: Green Beans.
(Milan): (Edizioni Toselli), (1972).

4to (296 × 207 mm), pp.[28]. 9 colour photographs. Introduction by Baldessari in Italian and English. Design by A. Sganzerla; minor handling crease to top edge of pages. Side-stapled. Printed card covers, white, text in black; lightly toned as often, minor handling crease to top edge, light impressed marks to fore-edge from historic stacking with another copy, minor rubbing to covers with scuffing to rear. A very good copy.

First edition of this highlight among 1970s conceptual artists’ books, which has ‘plenty to say about the process of photography, especially as it relates to the loaded act of recording the world for the benefit of the archive and the social deployment of discreet knowledge’ (Badger). In the introduction, Baldessari explains that Choosing: Green Beans documents a game devised for two players:

‘This work is part of a series of works about choosing. In this version a group of green beans was available from which to choose. A participant was asked to choose any three beans from the group for whatever reasons he/she might have at the moment. The three chosen beans were then placed upon a surface to be photographed. I chose one of the three beans for whatever reasons I might have had at that moment. A photograph was taken of the selection process. The chosen bean was carried over; the two other beans not chosen were discarded; two new beans were added. The next chose was made, and so on.

Each of the participants develops strategies unknown to the other player as the selection process continues until all the beans are used.’

Parr and Badger, The Photobook: A History Vol.II pp.146-7


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