Bulletin Board Project: Monte Cazazza

January 13, 2004 to February 21, 2004

One of the most elusive and maverick figures of the past 30 years, Monte Cazazza is responsible for what has been described in RE/Search magazine as an "erratic history of insanity-outbreaks thinly disguised as art events." Cazazza, who lives in the Bay Area, works simultaneously in music, film, performance, art, puppetry, and sleight-of-hand magic.

Monte Cazazza's project for the Bulletin Board takes the form of a selection of artwork (record sleeves, inserts, magazines, and manifesto-like texts) that accompanied the early releases of the legendary French record label Sordide Sentimental.

The brainchild of Jean-Pierre Turmel and Yves Von Bontee, Sordide Sentimentale was founded in 1977, in the medieval city of Rouen⎯the hometown of Marcel Duchamp and site of Joan of Arc's infamous burning at the stake.

In the late seventies and early eighties, Sordide Sentimental, in Cazazza's words, "combined music, writing, and design with graphics from the influential Bazooka Group and issued some of the earliest recordings by Throbbing Gristle and Joy Division among many others. All of their releases were produced in limited editions: each record was accompanied by an intricately and strikingly designed folder accompanied by a manifesto-like 'warning,' thought provoking texts, inserts and color prints, all of which were housed in 8 1/2" x 11" plastic sleeves. [Although currently less active,] Sordide Sentimental's releases remain some of the best-designed and most thought-provoking packages in the history of recorded music. Sordide Sentimental outperformed and put to shame the major record companies and shows what two people with imagination and style can achieve."

Monte Cazazza's own Sordide Sentimental release "Stairway to Hell" (1982) continued the sonic provocations suggested by his earlier releases, such as "To Mom on Mother's Day" (1979) and "Something for Nobody" (1980) for Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records.

For further information about Cazazza's earlier activities, consult RE/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook (San Francisco, 1983).

The Bulletin Board has been supported by a generous grant from Art for Art's Sake, New York. The Bulletin Board is a project space that is part of the ongoing exhibitions and public programs of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. Each semester three artists/practitioners are invited to create new projects for the Bulletin Board.