Beautifully rebound, signed, and almost universally misdescribed first hardcover edition (and second edition overall) of Clark's classic photobook.
"i was born in tulsa oklahoma in 1943. when i was sixteen i started shooting amphetamine. i shot with my friends everyday for three years and then left town but i've gone back through the years. once the needle goes in it never comes out."
First published in 1971 by Ralph Gibson's Lustrum Press, Larry's Clark's indelible TULSA was followed by this edition, published by the photographer himself in 1983. And let's make one thing clear right away: this book WAS published in 1983. Not 1979 as innumerable booksellers routinely, indeed pretty much exclusively, describe it. First and foremost, it was not announced or advertised until that year (Green). Likewise, reviews did not appear until that year either. For example, Andy Grundberg wrote for the NEW YORK TIMES on April 10, 1983: "Mr. Clark's 'Tulsa,' now reissued in a hardcover edition published by the photographer himself [...] remains a harrowing, vivid and unforgettable document." And as Grove Press described the chain of editions (presumably with some input or approval from Clark) when they reissued the book in 2000, TULSA was "[o]riginally published in a limited paperback version and republished in 1983 as a limited hardcover edition commissioned by the author."
This edition was likely prepared to coincide with the publication that same year of Clark's second book TEENAGE LUST (also self-published by Clark), which may have unwittingly contributed to the confusion. Indeed, the 1979 date seems to have originated from a conflation of events described in Andrew Roth's 101 BOOKS. In his entry for TEENAGE LUST, Vince Aletti writes: "After a tentative deal with Aperture fell through, Clark designed and published the book himself with money he'd built up from his 1979 second edition of TULSA." But what Clark produced in late 1979 was not a new book edition of TULSA, but rather a suite of new photographic prints of the full series, issued in an edition of 100 by the Robert Freidus Gallery, in conjunction with a major exhibition of the Tulsa photos held there. The portfolios retailed for $15,000 — something Clark frankly admitted at the time he did for "the money" (PCN). It was almost certainly from these funds that Frank printed both TEENAGE LUST and this new (first hardcover) edition of TULSA.
Further, it should be stated that this book was NOT assembled from leftover first edition sheets, again as many dealers assert or imply. This edition was advertised as being issued in an edition of 3000 copies; the 1971 Lustrum edition was printed in an edition of 2400 copies. It seems extraordinarily unlikely that there was a 125% overrun of that edition and that those unbound sheets laid around unused for more than a decade. Almost equally as unlikely is that no bookseller I can find has ever called the book what it rightly should have been were this true: the first edition, second issue of TULSA. And no enterprising book dealer I know has ever turned down the opportunity to make a selling point of a bibliographic point.
But while it's true that in the history of book collecting there are certainly examples of stranger bibliographical tales than long-forgotten unbound overages, it is equally true that in this particular case we need not wonder or hypothesize. We know these two editions are completely separate because we know who printed each. It says so right in the book: "Tom Jones, Los Angeles, California" printed the 1971 edition, and (the noted photography printer Sid Rapoport of) Rapoport Printing the 1983 edition. So the idea that the latter edition was made up from 1971 sheets is not only unlikely and illogical on its face, it is blatantly contradicted by any straightforward comparison of the copyright pages of the two editions.
But even OCLC has repeated this erroneous information ("[P]rinted by Rapoport Press under the author's supervision, cloth-bound and issued in 1979 using the 1971 first edition sheets"), so there's plenty of go-around to blame. Nevertheless, this corruption of the bibliographic record does feel emblematic of something. Fake news? A devaluing of genuine expertise? A skepticism around the idea that facts may be arrived at through a careful examination of the historic record? The continued Wild West shit show that is online dealing in the 21st century? I don't know. I'm just a bookseller. But I can state the following, as a bookseller:
This is an attractive and solemnly-bound copy of the second edition overall and first hardcover edition of this important and still visceral photobook documenting a subject that Clark would spend his career investigating: the reckless abandon of youth to drugs, to drink, to guns, to sex. Unlike his subjects, however, we booksellers should endeavor toward a greater sobriety, about this or any other book.
Read more: William T. Green, Highlights of a Trip to Hell: Contextualizing the Initial Reception of Larry Clark's Tulsa, pages 34-35; Andy Grundberg, "Photography View: Why Some Art Retains Its Emotional Impact"; Andrew Roth, The Book of 101 Books, page 244; The Print Collector's Newsletter (Volume 11, Number 3, July-August 1980), pages 100-101.
n.p. n.p. [The Photographer], . Rebound in full black oasis morocco with silver titles and front panel of dustjacket bound in. Black endpapers.  pages. One of 3000 copies. Signed by Clark on title page. Bright, sharp, and clean.
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