Persona Grata Productions ~ California
(Arnold Iger & Paul Kwan)

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Arnold Iger and Paul Kwan are co-founders of Persona Grata Productions, an interdisciplinary production company based in San Francisco, that create videos, theatrical performances and art exhibitions

   
Bookwork by Paul Kwan
Bookwork by Arnold Iger
City within Cities series
Collaboration bookwork
 
   

Bookworks by Arnold Iger
   

Dia de los Muertos DADA Ballet
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2016. Edition of 10.

10 x 13.5"; 8 pages including pastedowns. Accordion structure. Pop-up elements. In slipcase. Signed and numbered by the artist.

A pop-up ballet presented in three acts.
     
Act 1: 31 October, Los Angelito - Souls of children return
      Act 2: 1 November, All Saints Day - Todos Los Santos - Souls of                       adults return
      Act 3: 2 November, All Souls Day - Todos el Dia de Almas -                               Families visit graves of the departed

Arnold Iger: "The book is inspired by the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead and the one hundredth anniversary of the DADA art movement. As in previous books of mine, such as, The Divine Bagel Ballet and In Praise of Noodles Ballet, with Dia de los Muertos DADA Ballet I am envisioning a fantasy dance extravaganza set to poetry and music."
$725


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Skeleton Street
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2014. Edition of 5.

7.5 x 10.5". Accordion structure. Pop ups. In slipcase.

Arnold Iger: "Skeleton Street is an accordion style book with ten photos of mural details, pages of skeleton character drawings, skeleton pop-up, and poem with slipcase. This book was inspired by the numerous murals of San Francisco's Mission District, where images of grimacing skulls in vibrant color celebrate the Latino cultures' Day of the Dead festivities with roots in Mexico."
$350

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Urban Mosaic:
Re-imagined arrangements of fragments from the urban landscape
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2014. One-of-a-Kind.

7 x 8.5". Accordion structure with 8 panels. Each panel is a digital copy of a collage using the artist's photographs. Within the folds are 4 pop- ups using similar collaged photographs. In slipcase with a digitally printed photo-collage and stenciled title on front cover and title label tipped on back.

Arnold Iger: "Urban Mosaic is a one of a kind work using the textures and color of the urban environment as a palette to create a visual composition within an accordion style book with various pop-up elements."
$350

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Box Man
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013.
One-of-a-Kind.

12.75 x 13 x 1.5"; 10 pages. Double-sided accordion structure. One pop-up. Original drawings and collage. In slipcase with title on front and spine. Signed and dated by the artist.

Arnold Iger, colophon: "This book was inspired by the novel 'The Box Man' by the Japanese author Kobe Abe. The anonymous hero of the book cast off his identity and wanders the streets of Tokyo living inside a cardboard box.

"My ink sketches of anonymous faces blend with collaged graffiti photos to represent identities that are shaped by the urban landscape. Faces lose their individuality morphing into one another in an atmosphere of camouflaged conformity and alienation."
$1,500


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Homage to the tile makers' art
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

6.5 x 9.5"; 10 pages. Accordion book. Digital prints. Slipcased. Signed and dated by the artist.

Arnold Iger: "I was inspired by traditional tile patterns to create contemporary design compositions celebrating the genius of historical tile makers."
$350

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Dead Tree Junk Mail Book
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012. One-of-a-Kind.

9.5 x 11.25"; 10 pages. Double-sided accordion structure with first and last panels adhered to boards. Collage and pop-ups. Bound in confetti-covered boards. Housed in cloth-and-paper slipcase with paper title label on spine and top board.

Arnold Iger: "After about six weeks of collecting the junk mail addressed to me in a large shopping bag, it overflowed with offers of credit cards, frequent flyer miles, mortgage refinancing, burial plots, mattresses made of memory foam, and discount coupons for oil changes and mufflers to name just a few.

"Then I dumped the contents into a heap and began ripping open envelopes, tearing beckoning phrases into a smaller pile of commercial detritus, arranging a collage representing a slice of time, an endless flow of paper, which continues unabated, to just one household. In other words, turning junk into art."
$975


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Folsom Street Fair Impressions
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012. One-of-a-Kind.

16.25 x 10.75"; 8 pages. Accordion structure. Digital images of photographs and original drawings. In slipcase with title on spine. Signed by Iger on front pastedown.

For 30 years there has been an annual one-day Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, recently spreading over 13 city blocks and drawing crowds of 400,000. Organizers are trying "to create world-class leather and fetish events that unite adult alternative lifestyle communities with safe venues for self-expression and exciting entertainment." It also raised funds for San Francisco-based and national charities.

Folsom Street Fair Impressions gives a capsulated look of his view of the fair – capturing the fun, the excitement, and the free spirit of the event.

Arnold Iger, Introduction: "Clad and bound in leather, nude or nearly so, women, men, young and old play in private fantasies thronging the streets. Costumed as ponies or cops, as cats or feathered angles with glittered wings, a vast gathering of the free spirited crowds the San Francisco neighborhood 'south of the slot,' At every corner barely imaginable fetishes that this onlooker cannot decipher. What dreams unfold here, tableau vivant in festive bloom illuminated by autumnal sun."
$700

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Sepic River Ballet
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012.
One-of-a-Kind.

12.5 x 18.5"; 6 pages. Four original artworks in acrylic paint. Accordion structure with first and last pages attached to boards. Spineless binging: multi-textured boards dominated by floral patterned cloth. Paper title label on front board. In matching slipcase with paper tile label on spine.

Arnold Iger: "As a child I would often dream of adventures inspired by images of cannibals in the green mountain forests of New Guinea as depicted in the pages of National Geographic.

"What was a fantasy journey through the heart of darkness remained hidden until I found myself wandering in a museum lost in reverie and stumbled into an exhibit of Sepic River masks.

"Suddenly the painted wooden eyes transfixed me with their mysterious gaze and unlocked a dormant muse. In my imagination a ballet of masked dancers leaped as a village chorus sang the sacred stories of creation, of the marriage of the sun and the moon, of spirit ancestors, and of animal, tree, man, and river living in harmonious nature."

$ 1,800

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Desert Vertigo
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Arnold Iger, 2011. One-of-a-Kind.

8.5 x 11.75 x 1.25"; 8 pages. Accordion structure. Text and images on 100% Lenox Printmaking paper. Binding and design by Howard Munson. Signed by the artist. Slipcased with paper title on spine.

Arnold Iger: "A short memoir of leaving Brooklyn and falling in love with the American southwest. It records my feelings leaving the urban life and encountering the desert for the first time through my Air Force experience. The visuals were painted after returning many years later to New Mexico and Arizona, and became a vivid reminder of my earlier experiences."
$475


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Indian Journal
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Arnold Iger, 2011. One-of-a-Kind.

7.5 x 9 x 1.5" 68 pages. Colorful patterned papers for pastedown and flyleaf. Pop-up frontispiece of elephants. Double page fold out. Board in cloth with found Indian paper card applied to front board. Slipcased with paper title label on spine, decorated papers on sides, title in script on side, ribbon pull out. Book design and binding by Howard Munson.

Arnold Iger: "While traveling in India in 1977 my writing, paintings and photographs recorded my first impressions of an artistically inspiring culture and people."

Indian Journal, introduction: "The pages of this travel journal and visual diary interpret memories through words and images recording the intangible interior journey of my India experience November 1977 through January 1978."
$725


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Bookwork by Paul Kwan

 
   

Ancestral Lineages
Poem by Paul Kwan
Artwork by Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012. Edition of 5.

7 x 8.25"; 8 pages. Accordion with attached covers. Digital printing. Paper-covered boards with marble paper and paper title tipped on cover. Colophon tipped on back cover. Signed and numbered by artist and poet.

Paul Kwan: "During the production of my PBS documentary 'Pins and Noodles,' I suffered a debilitating stroke and was hospitalized. And I lost the use of my right hand.

The poem was written depicting the state of mind I was in during my time in the hospital. It took me almost three years to re-learn everything. I learned to cook from my mother in Vietnam, and cooking was a big part of my identity. The stroke has damaged my skill in the kitchen. My timing was off when I tried to make dinner for my friends who helped me during this difficult time. I looked back on one evening when I invited a few of my friends over for dinner. In the middle of cooking, I was confused and paralyzed and not knowing what to do next. A friend entered the kitchen and rescued me from my calamity."

My arm is by my side yet
I cannot feel its motion
I am descending
down a slanted doorway
a body weight of
powerful proportion ...

$385


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Dreams of Time
By Paul Kwan
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012. One-of-a-Kind.

9 x 12.25"; 6 pages. Accordion structure attached with pastedowns to the boards. Mixed media with chine-collé printed arts mounted on 100% rag Lenox paper. Slipcased with title on spine.

Paul Kwan: "The poem 'Dream of Time' came to me when I was standing in the courtyard of a temple in Taiwan. It was an early evening, I watched the worshipers and devotees around me, surrounded by the smoke from incense. I looked up at the star formations in the night sky, and wondered what my future will bring."
$750

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The Sound of Piano
By Paul Kwan
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012.
One-of-a-Kind.

11.375 x 15.75"; 8 pages. Accordion structure attached via pastedowns to boards. Mixed media collage book. Hand-made paper mounted on 100% rag Lenox paper. Slipcase covered in hand-made paper from India. Paper title on spine. Book design and construction by Paul Kwan and Arnold Iger.

Poem by Paul Kwan inspired by a poem of Li Po. The Chinese calligraphy is by Kwan's sister.

Paul Kwan: "The inspiration for this book is an ancient traditional Chinese poem about a young scholar who travels far from home to take an exam to become a government official. The night before the test, he sees the moon reflected in a pond and thinks of family and home."
$1,200


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To Promises That Never Came
By Paul Kwan
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012.
One-of-a-Kind.

14 x 19 x 2.25"; 8 pages. Accordion structure with pop-ups and collage. Single sheet poem slipped in pocket on back pastedown. Housed in clamshell box with pocket on lid interior for pamphlet. Bone clasp closure. Pamphlet (7 x 8.25"; 8 pages) with sewn binding. Poetry and book concept by Paul Kwan. Book design and construction by Arnold Iger and Paul Kwan. Box construction by Howard Munson. Black-and-white photos taken in Saigon, Vietnam by members of Kwan's family.

Howard Munson, SOGA: "Accordion style unique book which poet Paul Kwan dedicates to his father. The visual theme is the funeral of Paul's father who died in Vietnam. Photos of family members performing rituals against a backdrop of a colorful motif of dragons and phoenixes from a Chinese funerary robe."

Paul Kwan: "During the height of the [Vietnam] war, my father helped me to get out of Vietnam. I remember the sweat running down his forehead when the customs office refused to stamp m passport. As my mother quietly removed me from the spot, my father settled a deal with him. That tense incident at the Saigon Airport's departure gate was the last moments that I was to be with my father. As I turned and looked to where he stood, I did not realize then, it would be the last time that I'd ever see him."

This is a work of sketchy drama, a book drenched in loss, regret, and respect. Paul Kwan's father refused to leave Vietnam and his four wives, but managed to get his son to the US. Father and son never saw each other again. The father died many years later. This book is a haunting tribute to that father and a lament from that son for "promises that never came."

$2,100

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Dreams
By Paul Kwan
San Francisco, California: Paul Kwan, 2010. One-of-a-Kind.

9.25 x 12.5"; 8 pages. Paint. Collage. Text written in author's hand. Cut out drawings collaged with handmade paper. Bound in painted and collaged covers. In handmade slipcase with collage, sewing, and paint.

Paul Kwan: "This book is a reflection of my dreamlike interpretation of theatre performance."

Kwan and Iger are performance artists. In an interview regarding their mask performance piece Brave New World, Kwan said: "We're not really interested in presenting ourselves onstage as ourselves. We're more interested in suspending our personalities and putting them behind the mask. We try not to let our egos get in the way."
$565


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Iger captures city life with his camera. He transfers those images to a series of books using pop-ups and collage.

   
City within Cities: A sense of place - Book One
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

7.26 x 11"; 14 pages. Double-sided accordion. 8 pages of images with two popups; on reverse side 6 images. Digital printing. Original photographs by the artist. In matching slipcase with paper title on spine. Signed and dated by the artist.

Arnold Iger: "Recording its moods through the changing light and seasons, gaining a sense of place, my place and life within the city."
$550

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City within Cities: A sense of place - Book Two
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

7.26 x 11"; 14 pages. Double-sided accordion. 8 pages of images with two popups; on reverse side 6 images. Digital printing. Original photographs by the artist. In matching slipcase with paper title on spine. Signed and dated by the artist.

This is Book Two in the City within Cities series in which Iger records the mood of San Francisco with his camera from the man sitting on a bench in the park to the cargo ship cruising along the coast.
$550

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City within Cities - Book Six
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

10.26" x 10.26"; 10 pages. Accordion structure. Two pop-ups. Digital printing. Collage elements. Slipcased, paper title on spine. Signed and dated on the colophon by the artist.

In Book Six of the City within Cities series, Iger focuses on abandoned train tracks by the docks.

Train tracks - vestigial route to the past
Layered walls of paper and painted messages -
Time revealed - exfoliated by wind and rain
Speaking tribal code and cherishing trinket icons -
mass produced in a material world
The inhabitants occupy urban identities
vacated by former renters.

$475


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City within Cities: Collage of time
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

10 x 10"; 10 pages . Accordion structure. Two pop-outs. Collage elements. Digital printing. In matching slipcase. Signed and dated.

Arnold Iger: "Vestiges of times past remain layered in the fabric of the city."

A combination of images of food and violence – Mexican wrestling masks, bagel and coffee – relay a melting pot of cultures.
$475

 


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City within Cities: Under Surveillance
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

7.875 x 10.875"; 14 pages. Double-sided accordion with 8 pages of images with pop-outs, 6 pages of images reverse side. Digital printing. In slipcase. Signed and dated by the artist.

Arnold Iger: "The ubiquitous camera watches and records the urban landscape and citizens, but who watches the watchers, 'I watch you, you watch me.'"
$595

 


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Collaboration bookwork

 
Echoes - cycles of life
ByArnold Iger
Poem by Paul Kwan
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2013. One-of-a-Kind.

11.5 x 16 x 1"; 10 pages. Double-sided accordion. Original drawings. In unique slipcase.

A presentation of abstract images of bodies and bones mixed with splashes of color by Arnold Iger. The accompanying poem by Paul Kwan hints at the fragility of life.
$1,650

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Love Signs
Photography by Arnold Iger
Poem by Paul Kwan
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012. One-of-a-Kind.

10.75 x 8"; 12 pages. Accordion structure. Digitally printed. Photographs by Arnold Iger. Poem by Paul Kwan. Bound in paper-covered boards with bird and heart enhancements added to front board. In custom slipcase with 7.6 x 5.25" window providing view of front board.

Howard Munson: "Unique accordion book featuring graffiti images of hearts found in the urban landscape expressing Love Signs."

Arnold Iger: "A ubiquitous graffitied symbol found in the urban landscape, the heart professes love, both personal and universal, expressed anonymously yet understood by all."

The photographs are from the Bay Area, San Francisco and environs.
$400

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Recycled, Discarded, Artists' Trash Book
Unintended, reluctant, expropriated collaboration

By Arnold Iger, Paul Kwan, and Howard Munson
San Francisco, California: Arnold Iger / Paul Kwan, 2011.
Edition of 5.

7 x 8.25"; 8 pages. Accordion structure. Signed by the artists. Paper covered boards with paper title applied to front board. Signed by Iger, Kwan, and Munson.

Colophon: "Visiting our artist friend Howard Munson's studio, we were attracted by the refuge spilling out of a trash can and recognized his discarded overworked masterpieces. Over Howard's objections, we spirited his garbage away and judicially edited the images into this reluctant collaboration."
$225


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Persona Grate Productions Out of Print Title:
   
The Divine Comedy
Bagel Ballet

By Arnold Iger
San Francisco: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2012. One-of-a-Kind.

7.75 x 11.75 x 1.125"; 6 pages. Single-sided accordion structure. Original drawings. Mixed medium with a pop up and collage elements. Paper-covered boards. In slipcase with title on cover.

Arnold Iger: "A bagel from inception to eating as seen through the journey of Dante's Divine Comedy. Instructions for bagel dish by Paul Kwan."

Bagel Ballet information is tipped on the front pastedown. The dance is broken down into three acts.
"Act One: The bagel, a traditional Jewish bread made from yeasted wheat dough shaped into a ring by hand. Immersed in a boiling watery purgatory the bagellas are cleansed of their impurities ...
"
Act Two: The descent into the inferno where the bagellas are baked to perfection, a dense chewy doughy interior and a browned crisp exterior often topped with poppy or sesame seeds baked into the outer crust.
"
Act Three: The bagellas now transformed ascend from the fiery depths of the oven to the heights of ecstasy as a toasted bagel to be enjoyed with a schmear and lox."
(SOLD)

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O.K. City.
By Arnold Iger
San Francisco, California: Persona Grata Productions, Inc., 2014. One-of-a-Kind.

10 x 10"; 8 pages. Accordion structure. Two pop-up elements across the folds. Six pages using digital copy of collaged photographs. End boards painted as well as interior panel, back pastedown, and pop-ups. Additional elements of collage added. In slipcase.

Arnold Iger: "O.K. City is a one of a kind visual abstract composition with pop-up elements taken from the urban landscape and re-imagined as an accordion style book."
(SOLD)

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Page last update: 06.05.17

 

   
  
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