GINZBURG, Ralph. Avant-Garde.

(New York, NY): Avant-Garde Media, Inc., 1968 – 1971. First edition. Square quarto. Fourteen volumes. Issues 1-14, all published. Wonderful complete set of Ginsburg’s notorious arts and culture magazine that published articles and imagery that were often sexual, critical of the American government, and radically different than traditional publications. Avant Garde stoned its readers with its mind-blowing beauty bringing to the printed page a transcendental new kind of high. This was achieved through a combination of pioneering printing methods and the genius of Herb Lubalin, who was Avant Garde’s art director and created the publication’s nameplate. The Avant-Garde moniker became so popular that Lubalin developed an entire font set from it. What became the Avant-Garde Gothic type design included a series of ligatures (combinations of two letters into one type element), an innovative development for a sans serif font. Officially launched by ITC in 1970, Avant Garde Gothic became one of the most popular typefaces of the era. Notable issues include: Number 2 complete with a portfolio of flashy serigraphic prints by Bert Stern picturing Marilyn Monroe, – number 8 devoted to Picasso’s erotic gravures, – number 11 illustrated with erotic lithographs by John Lennon, – n. 13 contains “Portraits of the American People”, a portfolio of photographs by Alwyn Scott Turner, – number 14 with the famous “Belles-Lettres photo-alphabet” or “Naked alphabet” created by Anthon Beeke in an Amsterdam gymnasium with naked girls. All issues are generally in very good condition. A nice set of this important journal.


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