Mike Mandel: Untitled (Baseball-Photographer Trading Cards), Complete Set of 135 Cards
Publisher: Santa Cruz, California: Mike Mandel (Self-published), 1975
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: No binding
Condition: Near Fine / No dust jacket as issued
Item #: 112340
First edition, first and only printing. 134 photo-offset lithographic reproductions of photographic portraits printed on individual "trading cards," with an additional card including a complete checklist of participating photographers. Photographs by Mike Mandel. Texts, statistics and quotes by the respective artists printed on verso (e.g., Ed Ruscha: "Everything you've ever wanted is right in your own backyard;" Bobby Heinecken: "...Critics often misspell his last name, hence he is often mistaken for the European beer player.").
Each card 3-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches. Lithographic reproductions printed by Mike Roberts, Berkeley, California. The cards were originally packaged with sticks of chewing gum by Topps Chewing Gum, Brooklyn, New York. In 1975, Mike Mandel traveled around the U.S. with baseball equipment and uniforms to produce a series of portraits of important and influential photographers, curators, art historians and critics. The resulting cards were, and still are, traded by those in the field. Out of print. A rare Near Mint complete set.
The cards are stored in clear polyproylene archival baseball card pages (9 cards to a page).
Near Fine (slight aging to most of the cards and slight edge wear to some).
The photographers, curators, art historians and critics included are: 1) Bob Flick; 2) Joel Meyerowitz; 3) Van Deren Coke; 4) Joe Deal; 5) Ron Walker; 6) Lee Witkin; 7) Al Sweetman; 8) Don Drowty; 9) Ellen Brooks; 10) Dennis Hearne; 11) Elaine Mayes; 12) Bart Parker; 13) Larry Sultan; 14) Ed West; 15) Arthur Siegel; 16) Leonard Freed; 17) Margery Mann; 18) Harry Callahan; 19) Gary Metz; 20) Peter Gowland; 21) Ansel Adams; 22) Ed Ruscha; 23) Grace Mayer; 24) Mike Mandel; 25) Harold Allen; 26) Laura Gilpin; 27) Hank Smith; 28) Anne Tucker; 29) Phil Perkis; 30) Michael Simon; 31) Bill Owens; 32) Manuel Bravo; 33) Nathan Lyons; 34) Bill Arnold; 35) Jim Hajicek; 36) Les Krims; 37) Joyce Neimanas; 38) Judy Dater; 39) Al Coleman; 40) Ira Nowinski; 41) Jack Welpott; 42) Linda Parry; 43) Burke Uzzle; 44) Jim Dow; 45) Dave Freund; 46) Todd Walker; 47) Catherine Jansen; 48) Eva Rubinstein; 49) Eddie Sievers; 50) Minor White; 51) Michael Becotte; 52) Fred McDarrah; 53) Richard Link; 54) Betty Hahn; 55) Nick Hlobeczy; 56) Bob Cumming; 57) Ken Josephson; 58) Naomi Savage; 59) John Divola; 60) Tom Barrow; 61) Carl Chiarenza; 62) Bea Nettles; 63) Roger Mertin; 64) John Benson; 65) Cal Kowal; 66) Aaron Siskind; 67) R. von Sternberg; 68) Paige Pinnell; 69) Arthur Tress; 70) Jacob Deschin; 71) Linda Connor; 72) Don Blumbeing; 73) Jim Alinder; 74) Harold Jones; 75) M.J. Walker; 76) Bill Parker; 77) Al Woolpert; 78) Duke Baltz; 79) Gus Kayafas; 80) Duane Michals; 81) Darryl Curran; 82) Arnold Newman; 83) Geoff Winningham; 84) Paul Vanderbilt; 85) Anne Noggle; 86) Timo Pajunen; 87) Edmund Teske; 88) Imogen Cunningham; 89) Andy Anderson; 90) Bill Larson; 91) Pete Bunnell; 92) Robert Doherty; 93) Joe Jachna; 94) Oscar Bailey; 95) Jerry Uelsmann; 96) Art Sinsabaugh; 97) Charles Roitz; 98) Doug Stewart; 99) Chuck Swedlund; 100) Bill Edwards; 101) Bobby Heinecken; 102) Micha Bar-Am; 103) Beaumont Newhall; 104) Wynn Bullock; 105) Jerry McMillan; 106) John Schulze; 107) Neal Slavin; 108) Lee Rice; 109) Joan Lyons; 110) Bill Jenkins; 111) Fred Sommer; 112) Barbara Crane; 113) Emmet Gowin; 114) Barbara Morgan; 115) Mark Power; 116) Cornell Capa; 117) Lionel Suntop; 118) Bunny Yeager; 119) Doug Prince; 120) Eileen Cowin; 121) Eve Sonneman; 122) Reg Heron; 123) Scott Hyde; 124) Conrad Pressma; 125) John Szarkowski; 126) Bill Eggleston; 127) Mike Bishop; 128) Bob Fichter; 129) Liliane DeCock; 130) Tom Porett; 131) Arnold Crane; 132) Arnold Gassan; 133) Elliott Erwitt; 134) Len Gittleman; 135) Trading card checklist.
From the artist: "The project satirized the phenomenon of the fine art photography community being consumed by the larger art world and commercial culture. I photographed photographers as if they were baseball players and produced a set of cards that were packaged in random groups of ten, with bubble gum, so that the only way of collecting a complete set was to make a trade. The reverse side for each card enabled the photographer to fill in their own personal data that referred to the information usually included on real baseball cards. In a sense, each photographer's response provides an insight about how they approached their participation."
From Aaron Schuman, writing in Aperture 200 (Fall 2010): "Mandel's Trading Cards sit comfortably within this movement [the conceptual experimentation "with popular rather than 'artistic' forms of photography" practiced by such artists as Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Stephen Shore] -- the half-ironic, half-sincere reappropriation of everyday images and photographic contexts -- and also reflect an almost exaggerated unpretentiousness through the performances of many of their subjects.
A baby-faced Larry Sultan (#13) is satirically pious as an altar boy, his two hands clasped around a baseball, his wide eyes aimed toward the heavens; a grinning Beaumont Newhall (#103) is subsumed by a face-mask and chest protector, jokingly playing the umpire-in-chief behind home plate; on the back of her card, Joyce Neimanas (#37) proclaims: 'You should bunt to sacrifice yourself to the runner'; and on the front of another Bill Owens (#31) does just that, bunting the approaching camera back down toward the ground; a bemused William Eggleston (#126) looks at his glove, apparently surprised that the ball has actually managed to land in it -- the back of his card reads 'No comment.' Even Mandel's own card (#24) shows him releasing a curveball, subtly implying that although he may appear to be aiming straight at the target, his delivery will deliberately veer away from the strike zone at just the last second. It's as if all these newfound 'photo-celebrities' are reminding the viewer -- and perhaps more important, one another -- that despite their impending art-stardom, at heart they're still just goofy kids with cameras who don't take themselves too seriously.
Of course, today these cards no longer convey accessibility or lampoon the celebrity of their subjects. Instead, they have become coveted icons in their own right, treasured totems to heroes of previous generations. Eggleston's cool bemusement is now legendary, the disorientating break of Mandel's artistic pitch is now venerated, and the overall wit and comedic self-mockery of 1970s Conceptual photography is much revered....Collectively, Mandel's Trading Cards testify to the humble, joyous, and ultimately supportive spirit of a small, tightly knit network that truly shared a passion for a once 'disdained medium' at a particularly awkward point in time, and mutually refused the egotism and envy that can so easily accompany the approach of artistic success."