World Food Books is a book shop in Melbourne, Australia.
Founded in 2010, World Food Books is a book service dedicated to the presentation of a rotating, hand-selection of quality international art and design journals, artists’ monographs, exhibition catalogues, artists’ editions, collected writings and printed ephemera.
Presenting new titles alongside rare and out-of-print publications spanning the fields of contemporary art, modern art, cultural theory, photography, film, poetry, fiction, fashion, architecture, interior design, typography, illustration, politics and much between, World Food Books wishes to encourage active and thoughtful reading, looking, writing, publishing, and exchanging of art and design press, both contemporary and historical.
As well as our book shop, located in Melbourne's historical Nicholas Building, all of our inventory is available internationally via our online mail-order service. We also have outposts at MUMA (Monash University Museum of Art) and Westspace, both also in Melbourne.
World Food Books semi-regularly co-ordinates "Occasions", a program of exhibits and events at the bookshop and in partnership with other hosts (such as museums and art galleries) that develop out of the activities, relationships and content of the bookshop itself.
World Food Books
The Nicholas Building
Studio 19, Level 3
37 Swanston Street
FRI 12-7 PM
SAT 12-4 PM
& OPEN BY APPOINTMENT
MAIL ORDER RUNS EVERY DAY
World Food Books
PO Box 435
Theory / Essay
Architecture / Interior
Graphic Design / Typography
Fiction / Poetry
Film / Video
Sculpture / Installation
Performance / Dance / Theater
Sound / Music
Group Shows / Collections
Illustration / Graphic Art
Ceramics / Glass
Italian Radical Design / Postmodernism
"Various Works 1986 - 1999"
02 February 16 - September 10, 2016
Various works 1986 - 1999, from two houses, from the collections of John Nixon, Sue Cramer, Kerrie Poliness, Peter Haffenden and Phoebe Haffenden.
Including: Geometry of Cakes (various shelves), 1993; Poor People’s Law (black and white plate), 1993; White Absence (glasses, ruler, set square, silver spoon, silver ladel with skin photograph and wooden cubes), 1990-1996; Exploitation of the Dead (grey and red star painting, wooden painting, black spoon with red table, red plate), 1984-1990; Money and Zeros (zero tie, paintings made for friends in Australia (Sue, John, Kerrie), numbers painting), 1991-1992; Words - Slogans (various t-shirts) - “they talk about the death of art...help! someone is trying to kill me”, “my sweet little lamb”, “work is a disease - Karl Marx”; Various artist books, catalogues, monographs, videos; Poster from exhibition Insulting Anarchy; "Circular" Croatian - Australian edition; Artist book by Vlado Martek (Dostoyevsky); more.
Thanks to Mladen Stilinović and Branka Stipančić.
Curated by Nic Tammens
March 26 - April 4, 2015
B.Wurtz works from a basement studio in his home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
This local fact is attested to by the plastic shopping bags and newsprint circulars that appear in his work. As formal objects, they don’t make loud claims about their origins but nonetheless transmit street addresses and places of business from the bottom of this long thin island. Like plenty of artists, Wurtz is affected by what is local and what is consumed. His work is underpinned by this ethic. It often speaks from a neighborhood or reads like the contents of a hamper:
“BLACK PLUMS $1.29 lb.”
“USDA Whole Pork Shoulder Picnic 99c lb.”
“RITE AID Pharmacy, with us it’s personal.”
“H. Brickman & Sons.”
“Sweet Yams 59c lb."
Most of the work in this exhibition was made while the artist was in residence at Dieu Donne, a workshop dedicated to paper craft in Midtown. Here Wurtz fabricated assemblages with paper and objects that are relatively lightweight, with the intention that they would be easily transportable to Australia. This consideration isn’t absolute in Wurtz’s work, but was prescriptive for making the current exhibition light and cheap. Packed in two boxes, these works were sent from a USPS post office on the Lower East Side and delivered to North Melbourne by Australia Post.
Wurtz appears courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York.
Thanks to Rob Halverson, Joshua Petherick, Sari de Mallory, Matt Hinkley, Helen Johnson, Fayen d'Evie, Ask Kilmartin, Lisa Radon, Ellena Savage, Yale Union, and "Elizabeth".
December 15 - January 20, 2014
The presentation of John Nixon's archive offered a rare showcase of this extensive collection of the artist's own publications, catalogues, posters, ephemera, editions and more, from the mid 1980s onwards, alongside a selection of his artworks.
Organized by John Nixon, Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley.
at Minerva, Sydney (curated by Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley)
November 15 - December 20, 2014
Lupo Borgonovo, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley,
Lewis Fidock, HR Giger, Piero Gilardi, Veit Laurent Kurz,
Cinzia Ruggeri, Michael E. Smith, Lucie Stahl, Daniel Weil, Wols
“...It contained seven objects. The slender fluted bone, surely formed for flight, surely from the wing of some large bird. Three archaic circuitboards, faced with mazes of gold. A smooth white sphere of baked clay. An age-blackened fragment of lace. A fingerlength segment of what she assumed was bone from a human wrist, grayish white, inset smoothly with the silicon shaft of a small instrument that must once have ridden flush with the surface of the skin - but the thing’s face was seared and blackened.”
William Gibson, “Count Zero”, 1986
"Autumn Projects Archive"
Curated by Liza Vasiliou
March 6 - March 15, 2014
World Food Books, in conjunction with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 2014, presented the Autumn Projects archive, consisting of a selection of early examples in Australian fashion with a particular interest in collecting designers and labels from the period beginning in the 1980’s, who significantly influenced the discourse of Australian Fashion.
Curated by Liza Vasiliou, the exhibition provided a unique opportunity to view pieces by designers Anthea Crawford, Barbara Vandenberg, Geoff Liddell and labels CR Australia, Covers, Jag along with early experimental collage pieces by Prue Acton and Sally Browne’s ‘Fragments’ collection, suspended throughout the functioning World Food Books shop in Melbourne.
presented by CENTRE FOR STYLE
November 14, 2013
"Hey Blinky, you say chic, I say same"
H.B. Peace is a clothing collaboration between great friends Blake Barns and Hugh Egan Westland. Their pieces explore the divergences between 'character’ and ‘personality’ in garments....etc
Special Thanks to Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley of WFB and Gillian Mears
and a Very Special Thank you to Audrey Thomas Hayes for her shoe collaboration.
Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley
May 10 - June 8, 2013
The first of our occasional exhibitions in the World Food Books office/shop space in Melbourne, "Aesthetic Suicide" presented a body of new and older works together by artists Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, including videos, prints, a wall work, and publications.
During shop open hours videos played every hour, on the hour.
Softcover, 1st printing, 43 pages, 11 x 8.5"
Edition of 500.,
Published by 2nd Cannons / Los Angeles
$30.00 - In stock -
Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton telescopes 350 years, the period from the 1620s to the 1970s. It is what artist William E. Jones imagined Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy would have looked like had it appeared in the pages of Drummer magazine. In preparing the book, Jones condensed Burton’s vast 450,000-word masterpiece of 17th Century English literature to a small fraction of its length, and paired the excerpts with vintage images of leather men at work and play. Robert Burton was fascinated by the variations of human sexuality, albeit more as an observer than as a participant. He wrote about sex in covert Latin passages that are newly translated in Jones’s book. Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton is a delightfully perverse condensation of Burton’s speculations on the sexual proclivities that subsequent generations of gay men put into exuberant practice.
Softcover, 43 pages, 21.5 x 28 cm
Edition of 500,
Published by 2nd Cannons / Los Angeles
$30.00 - In stock -
The third release in a series of books by William E. Jones, Heliogabalus pays tribute to the most decadent Roman Emperor. Who was this creature who called himself Elagabalus, after El Gabal, god of the sun? What to make of his addiction to luxury, his overbearing mother, his controversial genitals? Enlightening texts can be found in the latest 2nd Cannons publication. The book features accounts of Heliogabalus by Edward Gibbon, Herodian, Cassius Dio, and the spurious Aelius Lampridius. It also contains a contemporary text, “This Necrophilic Strategy Entails Some Risk,” a collaboration by Bruce Hainley and William E. Jones, previously published only in expurgated form, and now presented with all lurid details intact.
Varius Avitus Bassanius, later known in his infamy as Heliogabalus, ruled Rome from 218 to 222 of the Common Era. After he was murdered by the soldiers who had formerly supported him, his successor, Alexander Severus, ordered that all sculptures of Heliogabalus be desecrated. The iconoclasm directed against Heliogabalus was so nearly complete that very few portraits of him still exist. William E. Jones has somewhat opportunistically dealt with the paucity of images of this imperial person by inserting advertisements from a bygone era at intervals in Heliogabalus. These advertisements, and the book’s design in general, derive from the pages of that avatar of 1970s urban culture, After Dark.
Softcover, 304 pages, 15 x 23 cm
Published by Semiotext(e) / Los Angeles
$43.00 - In stock -
Introduction by William E. Jones
Ronnie Reagan’s bizarre legs are sufficient reason to watch John Loves Mary (1949), a picture so ordinaire it needs this bizarre touch. When the faces in this historic still from the Museum of Modern Art are cropped, Reagan could pass for a butch lez from the Women’s Army Corps who is about to put the old make on a fluff (Patricia Neal).
—from Cruising the Movies
Cruising the Movies was Boyd McDonald’s “sexual guide” to televised cinema, originally published by the Gay Presses of New York in 1985. The capstone of McDonald’s prolific turn as a freelance film columnist for the magazine Christopher Street, Cruising the Movies collects the author’s movie reviews of 1983–1985. This new, expanded edition also includes previously uncollected articles and a new introduction by William E. Jones.
Eschewing new theatrical releases for the “oldies” once common as cheap programing on independent television stations, and more interested in starlets and supporting players than leading actors, McDonald casts an acerbic, queer eye on the greats and not-so-greats of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Writing against the bleak backdrop of Reagan-era America, McDonald never ceases to find subversive, arousing delights in the comically chaste aesthetics imposed by the censorious Motion Picture Production Code of 1930–1968.
Better known as the editor of the Straight to Hell paperback series—a compendia of real-life sexual stories that is part pornography, part ethnography—McDonald in his film writing reveals both his studious and sardonic sides. Many of the texts in Cruising the Movies were inspired by McDonald’s attentive inspection of the now-shuttered MoMA Film Stills Archive, and his columns gloriously capture a bygone era in film fandom. Gay and subcultural, yet never reducible to a zany cult concern or mere camp, McDonald’s “reviews” capture a lost art of queer cinephilia, recording a furtive obsession that once animated gay urban life. With lancing wit, Cruising celebrates gay subculture’s profound embrace of mass culture, seeing film for what it is—a screen that reflects our fantasies, desires, and dreams.
About the Author
Boyd McDonald (1925–1993) was a writer for Time and IBM, a journalist, and founder and editor of Straight to Hell, a celebrated fanzine that bore a variety of subtitles, including “The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts” or “The New York Review of Cocksucking.”
Hardcover, 200 pages (25 colour and 55 b&w ill.), 178 x 254 mm
$37.00 - In stock -
Fred Halsted’s L.A. Plays Itself (1972) was gay porn’s first masterpiece: a sexually explicit, autobiographical, experimental film whose New York screening left even Salvador Dalí repeatedly muttering “new information for me.” Halsted, a self-taught filmmaker, shot the film over a period of three years in a now-vanished Los Angeles, a city at once rural and sleazy.
Although his cultural notoriety at one point equaled that of Kenneth Anger or Jack Smith, Halsted’s star waned in the 1980s with the emergence of a more commercial gay-porn industry. After the death from AIDS of his long-time partner, lover, spouse (and tormentor) Joey Yale in 1986, Halsted committed suicide in 1989.
In Halsted Plays Himself, acclaimed artist and filmmaker William E. Jones documents his quest to capture the elusive public and private personas of Halsted–to zero in on an identity riddled with contradictions. Jones assembles a narrative of a long-gone gay lifestyle and an extinct Hollywood underground, when independent films were still possible, and the boundary between experimental and pornographic was not yet established. The book also depicts what sexual liberation looked like at a volatile point in time–and what it looked like when it collapsed.
William E. Jones is an artist and filmmaker who teaches film history at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has made two feature length experimental films, Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), several short videos, including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998), the feature length documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many video installations. His films and videos were the subject of retrospectives at Tate Modern, London, in 2005, and at Anthology Film Archives, New York, in 2010. He has worked in the adult video industry under the name Hudson Wilcox.
“[A] fascinating glimpse of a bygone gay culture whose aesthetic was far less polished, more earthy, and more dangerous than our current one, defined as it is by dollars and digital media.”
—Sam Biederman, Bookforum
“As a project born out of the author’s sincere admiration for his subject, Halsted Plays Himself amounts to a very passionate, if not sentimental, account. Jones not only attempts to symbolically revive Halsted in this elegy, but continuously constructs imaginary scenarios which could have resulted in him still being alive, better understood, or more accepted.”
—Aliina Astrova, Kaleidoscope (blog)
“[A] rich and rewarding excavation of a blazing moment in the early 1970s...[A] valuable installment in a recent, resurgent interest in queer documents from that flourishing social period, positioning Halsted's artistic legacy within a teeming moment of gay visibility.”
—Bradford Nordeen, Art in America
Softcover, 2nd printing, 43 pages, 11 x 8.5"
Edition of 1000,
Published by 2nd Cannons / Los Angeles
$14.00 - Out of stock
Tearoom is a companion piece to Jones’s video of the same name. A work of appropriation, the video Tearoom is a police surveillance film – presented virtually unaltered – of men having sex in a public rest room in Mansfield, Ohio during a three week period in the summer of 1962. This film, used as evidence in court, led to the conviction of over 30 men on charges of sodomy, which at that time carried a minimum sentence of one year in the state penitentiary.
In the book Tearoom, William E. Jones presents the results of research on these cases and on the production of the surveillance film. The book includes a number of historical texts, as well as two new essays by Jones. Tearoom is extensively illustrated with more than 100 film stills, most of them in color. These stills show men from all walks of life who met for furtive sex under the central square of Mansfield, and who went to jail as the result of a law enforcement sting. Tearoom provides a unique view of the clandestine sexual life of a small Midwestern city at the beginning of the 1960s.