Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Sex & Violence

Dec 14, 2018 - Jessica Buie

 In 1950, Gold Medal Books became the seminal American publisher of pulp novels. Made from a substandard wood pulp instead of a traditional paper source, pulp novels offered escapist fantasy tales with often lurid and sensational content. In 2013, I began working for the fifth-largest comic book publisher in the United States, headquartered in San Diego, California. Amassing a bloated personal comic book collection quickly led my collecting interests to other “lowbrow” cultural objects, such as the now rare and mythologized pulp novel. Difficult to find today outside of eBay auctions and specialty comic conventions, the pulp novel is known for providing mid-20th century American readers a private place to engage in provocative content that was not frequently portrayed in mainstream media. Their low-cost and unpretentious qualities produced a sense of disposability, as if a reader could simply leave the book on a park bench once they were finished with it.

I began using pulp novels as material in late 2017, fracturing their covers and interiors and mining their salacious texts and illustrations for some resulting photomontages. The tagline texts to these novels were striking: Death Crawled Up My Body, Do You Really Know How To Make Love? Bride of the Lash in the House of Lust! They read less like selling-points to mass distributed fiction and more like Dadaist poetry experiments. I began photographing and scanning the texts. Shown here in their installation view at Public Pool Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, the images were printed on vinyl banners, a new method and iteration of their original marketing purposes. Separated from their original contexts, they speak with a more universal and contemporary tone, musing on topics like sex, violence, and class.