Item No: #362505 Eureka. Martin Wong.
Eureka
Eureka
Eureka
Eureka
Eureka
Eureka
Eureka

California Artist's First Published Collection of Drawings

Eureka

Notes: A collection of reproductions of Wong's Human Instamatic drawings of people and places in and around Eureka, California. Mostly printed offset in black; a few have an overprinting in red for his chop. One reproduces Wong's "Human Instamatic" blindstamp. Wong lived in Old Town, Eureka, at the time this book was published, and his exuberant drawings of the run-down sections of Eureka show his clear love of shabby splendor. He would take that aesthetic appreciation to New York, where his greatest works would document the Lower East Side.

Wong was a late-20th century artist whose influence has grown markedly in the last decade. Wong (1946–1999) was born in Portland, Oregon; raised in San Francisco's Chinatown; earned a degree in ceramics at Humboldt State University; lived in the Eureka area from about 1965 to about 1978, when he moved to New York. While in Eureka, Wong began painting but was best-known for his drawings. He called himself the Human Instamatic and drew portraits and local scenes with quick, fluid, organic lines.

When Wong died, of AIDS, in 1999, he was known and respected by a small group of artists, collectors, and dealers. In the two decades since his death, his reputation and influence have blossomed with several published monographs, a traveling exhibition, skyrocketing auction prices, and tributes from other artists. In 2022, the first of his paintings to reach $1 million in a public sale crossed the auction block.

ARTnews named Danh Vo's "I M U U R 2", an installation of Martin Wong's belongings at the Guggenheim, as one of the most important works of art made in the 2010 decade. An international traveling exhibition is scheduled for 2023, to be accompanied by a large monograph that will explore Wong's queer identity, the way he incorporated Chinese art influences into his work, and how graffiti and calligraphy influenced his drawings and paintings.

Eureka is a very uncommon book. In twenty years of serious looking in and around Eureka, this is the third copy we've handled. OCLC locates two copies (one of which was previously sold by your humble bookseller; the second is Wong's own copy).

13 by 11 inches (oblong). [i], 1–10, ["Table Bluff"], 11–24, [25], 26–31 leaves, printed front side (rectos) only, for a total of 32 Wong drawings, including one printed next to John Ross's introduction. One might think of this as a collection of original prints, selected and produced by the artist.

OCLC: 59280837 (New York University, Berkeley)

Edition + Condition: Very good in spiral-bound wrappers. Minor edgewear to covers and two small white spots at the bottom right corner. Someone, perhaps Wong, inked "$5" in the upper left corner. This is the first time I have seen a reference to a price for the book.

Publication: Arcata, CA: Bug Press, 1977.

Item No: #362505

Price: $5,000