Cover Version is the Specific Object 2004 Publication of the Year.
No kidding. You ask how can a business, Specific Object, that has been in operation for only a few months have such an award? Well as an independently owned operation I guess I can do whatever I wish, and if giving out an award is something I want to do - then damm, that's just what I'm going to do! End of story.
In all honesty, this book deserves the award. It's crafty, clever, laden with a particular sense of not simply humor or self-awareness but something that melds these disparate positions together - as is true with much of Monk's work at large. Of course the book itself is a beautiful formal object too, but on some level that's irrelevant - it's a great book. Plain and simple.
Following is a blurb from the publisher's catalogue :
Jonathan Monk is an artist who loves other artists. His work draws on oblique autobiographical references and personal anecdotes together with art historical strategies and legacies to express a critical camaraderie in his subject. Cover Version features a selection of seminal publications from Monk's extensive collection of artists' books. Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner and Ed Ruscha are represented side by side to form a cogent series, which presents a contemporary investigation into materiality and the problems of signification in conceptual art publishing.
An integral section of Cover Version is a transcribed telephone conversation between Jonathan Monk and Seth Siegelaub, which unfolds and discusses their mutual obsession with book making and collecting whilst speculating on the nature of the object. This "collectable" book also has three different covers designed with its monetary value in euros, dollars and pounds, a direct reference to Lawrence Weiner's 1968 publication Statements.
Cover Version was designed by Jérome Saint-Loubert Bié.