7 x 7"
100 pages plus cover
February 2021, second edition of 100
signed and numbered
August 2020, first edition of 100
signed and numbered
this edition is sold out, a few copies are left for library purchase only
about the second edition:
Drop Dead Gorgeous is a visual book comprised of scientific photographs, scientific illustrations and editorial illustrations of the Covid-19 virus sourced online during April, May and June, 2020. The second edition which came out in February 2021, includes new images of the vaccine promising hope for the end of the pandemic.
In 1967 John Szarkowski curated a show at MoMA which examined the aesthetics of scientific photography. The photographs of Covid-19 captured with electron microscopy are colorless until an artist working in the field of scientific illustration transforms them into a full color image. Using brilliant colors borrowed from Baroque paintings and Impressionist sunsets, creates an image with a seductive aesthetics, conceptually in direct conflict with the deadly virus.
The book has a loosely built visual narrative, which gains momentum building toward a sci-fi ending in the first edition. The second edition includes new images from the summer of 2020 as the world talked of social inequities brought out by the pandemic and the eventual discovery of vaccines.
The production of many of the images of Covid-19 speak about artistic labor, since many of them have been created by artists working for stock-photo agencies in countries like India and China, and sold to media outlets around the world. Like photographs of Hiroshima, the Kennedy assassination, and the terror of 9/11, the iconic imagery of Covid-19 collected in Drop Dead Gorgeous is informed by a world wide visual lexicon specific to this moment.
When the pandemic hit in April, I started collecting images of the coronavirus in order to create an encyclopedic book of the entire scope of the imagery. In June I was done with the design and went to press. DDG came out in August 2020.
By December it was almost sold out, so I decided to print a second edition for the upcoming Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair. I was only going to revise the last few pages and add a new ending, when I realized I had too many good images to add to this project.
In order to keep the price affordable I still wanted to limit myself to 100 pages. I revised almost half of the spreads from the first edition, added a total of 71 new images, and a fresh cover, an homage to El Lissitzky. The "vaccine edition" has a new ending, but I suspect it is not the end of the story. Maybe a third edition when this one is almost sold out? And hopefully a new ending to our saga.
Generously supported by a faculty research fund from Tufts University.
( second edition )
( first edition )
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
DUELING COVID BOOKS
Phil Zimmermann and Chantal Zakari in conversation
New York Virtual Art Book Fair 2021, February 2021
by George Slade, October, 2020
"FINE" ART PODCAST
with host Keegan Shiner, September 22, 2020
by Cate McQuaid, July 23, 2020
by Taylor McNeil, August 12, 2020