First Edition of Lee Friedlander's The American Monument; Signed by Him
The American Monument.
Item Number: 22084
New York: The Eakins Press Foundation, 1976.
First edition, one of only 2000 copies, with 213 photogravure plates. Oblong folio, original blue-gray cloth. In fine condition. Signed by Lee Friedlander.
With more than 200 photographs scrupulously produced and bound ledger-style, The American Monument is a humorous, lyrical, and excessive expression of a country's obsession with immortalizing itself. Leslie Katz writes: "This photographer in these photographs affirms the residual order in the crazy scene. He understands and brings us human civilization, embattled but intact in the various wilds of American enterprise, whether downtown, in suburbia, or on the roof." “Twelve years in the making, The American Monument is almost maniacally inclusive, rounding up everything from Plymouth Rock to a plaque commemorating the Pony Express in Salt Lake City and treating them all with the same deliberate nonchalance. The doggedness of Friedlander’s quest is at once astounding and hilarious… Friedlander’s memorials, no matter how solidly anchored, seem adrift, lost in the landscape, unnoticed if not forgotten… Tidy arrangements of two, three and four pictures multiply obsessively as the book’s momentum builds; towards the end, there are accumulations of six and nine photos to a page. The result is overwhelming, as it clearly was intended to be. History stalks the landscape at every turn” (Roth 101,236). Open Book 310.