The Tattooed Dragon Meets the Wolfman: Lenny Kaye's Science Fiction Fanzines, 1941 - 1970

The Tattooed Dragon Meets the Wolfman: Lenny Kaye's Science Fiction Fanzines, 1941 - 1970

Friday, Sep 26, 2014 - Sunday, Sep 28, 2014

22-25 Jackson Avenue
Queens, NY 11101

This September at the Printed Matter New York Art Book Fair at PS1, Boo-Hooray is exhibiting the science fiction fanzine collection of Lenny Kaye, member of The Patti Smith Group, legendary compiler of Nuggets, music historian, and a once teenage SF fanzine editor/publisher/contributor. Ranging from 1941 to 1970, these fanzines represent ground zero for the zine explosion that was to come years later in rock, punk, skate, fashion, and art. They are the origination of modern DIY publishing.

Primarily published on mimeograph machines, science-fiction fanzines were initially small-run circulars traded amongst fans that offered criticism, letters to the editor, and gossip amongst the SF, fantasy, and horror communities from the 1930s up until digital. These fanzines are about science-fiction subculture, sometimes serious, sometimes crazy, and sometimes serious and crazy. This reflects in the visionary amateur art of the illustrations and covers, which function as stand-alone art experiences outside of the realm of anything we've ever seen. The writing is also blindingly enthusiastic. Many of the best known authors of our age, including Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, William Gibson, and Marion Zimmer Bradley got their start writing for these homemade publications.

The distribution systems, terminology, and aesthetic of SF fanzines were transferred directly into the earliest rock fanzines, which were in turn instrumental in the explosion of punk rock in the mid to late 1970s. Many major rock fanzine writers, including Lester Bangs, Greg Shaw, Paul Williams, and of course Lenny Kaye, also wrote for SF fanzines.

Lenny's own fanzines include ObeliskSadistic SphinxHieroglyph, and Pharoah. Amongst other contributors to SF fanzines were Forrest J. Ackerman, Roger Ebert, Michael Moorcock, Tuli Kupferberg, Robert Anton Wilson, Earl Kemp, Ron Haydock, L. Sprague de Camp, Fritz Leiber, Ray Palmer, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Dick Lupoff, and Jack Harness.

BOO-HOORAY exhibits both at home in New York City as well as internationally. We also stage collaborative exhibitions with the Hayward Gallery and Rough Trade in London, Tsutaya Daikanyama, Hysteric Glamour, and United Arrows in Tokyo, Galleri Operatingplace in Stockholm, Colette in Paris, PopMontreal in Montreal, Mishka Los Angeles, Printed Matter at both MOCA/LA and PS1/NYC, and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, the New York Public Library, the Grolier Club, and Milk Gallery in New York.

Boo-Hooray exhibitions have included shows featuring Larry Clark, The Velvet Underground, Ray Johnson, Afrika Bambaataa, Jonas Mekas, Ed Sanders, Linder Sterling and Jon Savage, Spencer Sweeney, Houston Rap, private press vinyl, Wallace Berman, anarcho-punk group Crass, Jason Polan, Jack Smith, cult-filmmaker Ed Wood, and Situationist Times editor Jacqueline de Jong.

The exhibitions are drawn from cultural archives that Boo-Hooray excavates, organizes, and places in institutions such as Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Cornell University’s Division of Rare Manuscript Collections, Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library.