February 2021 – March 2021
Ken Price and Charles Bukowski: Heatwave
Brooke Alexander, Inc.
59 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012
Heatwave is an ode to Los Angeles, made through the collaboration of poet Charles Bukowski, artist Ken Price and book publishers / designers John and Barbara Martin.
John Martin founded Black Sparrow Press in 1966. Having recently discovered and become enamored with the poems of Bukowski, Martin offered to become the poet’s patron in addition to starting a business to publish his books. Bukowski is famously known as the laureate of the down and out, his work a dark recital of alcoholism and failure. Ken Price became friends with Bukowski early on in his career as one of the rebellious “cool school” west coast artists. A native of Los Angeles, Price was already a major surfer when he started to upend how people thought of ceramics.
Heatwave was published in two editions: a regular version that is an edition of 170, and this deluxe version, which is an edition of 26. This version is composed of three parts. One is a beautifully designed book containing 31 poems by Bukowski and spot illustrations by price. The second is a collection of 15 color screenprints, all signed and numbered by Price. The poems are full of the gritty underbelly life that Bukowski is known for, a litany of drinking, drugs, deprivation and violence. Price’s illustrative screenprints are also documentary in nature, alternating between visions of the crisp city center and the seedier corners where angels fall.
The third component is a CD recording of Charles Bukowski reading a selection of his poems. Heatwave was published in 1995, a year after Bukowski’s death.