James and his wife Alexandra Maria Brown created the Carpe Diem Press in 2000. Carpe Diem is a potent example of cultural dialogue and continues to be one of the proofs of the Brown’s contribution to the new creative environment in Oaxaca. Invented and nurtured by Brown and his wife Alexandra Maria, in thorough collaboration with Gabriel and Judith Quintas of Linotípográfica Quintas, Carpe Diem produces limited edition artist books. The books feature the work of influential artists and writers from the United States and Mexico. The USC Fisher Museum of Art highlights Brown’s unique artist press, featuring thirteen books and related ephemera. Some of the artists included in the series are Graciela Iturbide, Joan Jonas, Kiki Smith, Dr. Lakra, Jack Pierson and Dan McCleary. Brown has produced a new book with Graciela Iturbide and Dr. Lakra especially for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.
The Carpe Diem Press offers PST: LA/LA a direct and comprehensive manifestation of the critical impact and dialogical encounter in Mexico that Brown has had. These books form a unique legacy witnessing how Mexico infiltrated Brown’s creativity. The books, archives and ephemera associated with Brown, which are included in our exhibition, challenge our very thinking about the possibilities and definition of fine art, about the possibilities and limits of artisanship and craft, about the nature of the artist book itself, and finally, about the indispensability of generosity when artisans and the artists work together.
Brown’s exhibition will also feature his “My Other House” series, begun in 2009 and worked on continuously since then. The idea for this project came to Brown after his two sons, while living “in a forgotten house in the wildness of Mexico, somewhere outside of Oaxaca” discovered a staircase leading to an “almost secret” mezzanine. Nobody else was allowed access to this place, a sanctuary that the boys called “my other house”. “My Other House” is a metaphor for that imaginative space essential to living a creative life. Works from this series, along with Carpe Diem Press books will be installed in the four main galleries at the USC Fisher Museum of Art.