Barbara Rubin - "Christmas On Earth" - Slipcased exhibit catalog
by Jonas Mekas and Barbara Rubin
Barbara Rubin filmed Christmas On Earth in the Lower East Side apartment of Tony Conrad and John Cale at 56 Ludlow Street, an apartment that was also the future home of Sterling Morrison and Lou Reed, and where the first version of “All Tomorrow’s Parties” was to be recorded in the summer of 1965. Originally titled Cocks and Cunts, Christmas On Earth is a film of sexual tableaux vivants, gay and straight, where two separate reels of film are super-imposed on each other, with additional light effects layered on these images, all accompanied by the soundtrack of contemporary rock radio, as intended by the artist. After a handful of screenings in the mid to late 1960s, Christmas On Earth remained unseen for years as per Barbara Rubin’s instructions for the film to be destroyed. Luckily, Jonas Mekas did not follow through on Rubin’s request, as she later changed her mind and allowed Mekas to screen and distribute the film.
Boo-Hooray is publishing a slip-cased multi-volume catalogue to commemorate this exhibition and the 90th birthday of our hero Jonas Mekas. The exhibition is the first of a triptych of homages to legendary figures of the New York City underground, chosen by Jonas Mekas. Barbara Rubin is followed by a Jack Smith exhibition opening on Valentine’s Day 2013, and an exhibition on Piero Heliczer and his legendary publishing imprint the Dead Language Press in late March of 2013.
The three-volume exhibit catalog for Barbara Rubin: Christmas On Earth is published in an edition of 55 deluxe copies in silk-screened boards contained within a silkscreened slipcase.
Volume 1 is a 64-page perfect bound book in silk-screened boards containing still photographs from Rubin’s 1963 film Christmas On Earth.
Volume 2 is a 128-page book with silkscreened covers containing reproductions of a variety of contextual materials, including unproduced scripts and film prospectuses by Rubin, handbills, newspaper & magazine clippings.
Volume 3 is a 68-page volume in silk-screened boards containing reproductions of manuscript letters by Barbara Rubin dating from ca. 1964-1968 to Jonas Mekas, Charles Hoag, and others. It also features oral histories on Rubin by Amy Taubin, Rosebud Pettet and Richard Foreman alongside essays and texts by Daniel Belasco, and exhibit curators Jonas Mekas and Johan Kugelberg.
The slipcase also contains two facsimile reprints of typescript outlines for Rubin’s unproduced film Christmas On Earth Continued (14 and 20 pages) and an 8” x 10” color glossy c-print of a still from Christmas On Earth.