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Docking the Art Dockuments will publish the funny,tragic & wise tales of the drive-by Art Gallery, an LA alternative space 1981-1986
Docking the Art Dockuments will publish the funny,tragic & wise tales of the drive-by Art Gallery, an LA alternative space 1981-1986
106 backers pledged $13,005 to help bring this project to life.

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The Art Dockuments Are Going To Dry Dock

This will be the captain's last report. The Art Dockuments have had a successful run. In January 2013 the captain made a presentation of the Art Dock at the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts to a crowd of over 100 guests.  A news report about the Art Dockuments was aired on National Public Radio's station KCRW. In February there was a book signing at Vromann's book store in Pasadena. Currently a exhibition featuring the Art Dock is showing at the Angel City Brewery in Downtown Los Angeles. This exhibition titled "In Your Face - How Artists Transformed LA's Urban Landscape," will end on June 9th. The Art Dock was given 31 feet of wall space to tell the Art Dock story, and it is combined with two other installations. Stephen Seemayer, art and film maker, who created the film about the first artists who came to inhabit the old lofts in Downtown LA called "The Young Turks," presented a group of collages that identify all the landmarks of the Arts District that have disappeared since 1990. Irving Grienes, presented a group of photographs of the changing urban art on the outside of the American Hotel. The American Hotel, an old railroad hotel dating from the 1880s, was the site of Al's Bar, the social center of the arts community and a paradise for punk rockers. Al's Bar was the heart of the community. The captain likes to think the Art Dock was the brain of the artist community.  These events have stirred an interest in preserving the Citizens Warehouse home to the Art Dock, which was slated for demolition by the city of Los Angeles. Arts District community leaders have gained the city's interest in preserving and restoring the building as artist housing. Perhaps even the Art Dock may be resurrected.

Although there are several more opportunities for Art Dockument presentations - the 18th Street Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, is considering an event for the fall, the captain has decided to put the Art Dockuments in dry dock. The hull will be scraped and caulked, new sails will be made, the ship will be repainted and given a new name in consideration of the next project as yet un-revealed. All supporters of the Kickstarter campaign should have received your awards by now, except those who gave at a level where the DVD "OF TWO MINDS," which features the captain, was a reward. The DVDs have arrived and they will be sent out to you in the next week.

The captain thanks you all for your support. This project could not have happened with your help. God be with and watch out for any white whales.

YOURS, Captain Ahab, otherwise known as Carlton Davis

New Award and New Review

The Art Dockuments - Tales of The Art Dock, The Drive-By Gallery were declared an Award-Winning Finalist in the 'Art: General' category of The 2012 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News on November 16, 2012. The Art Dockuments were one of two finalist in this category won by a a book published on New York Bridges published by the Fordham Unviersity Press.  Not bad for a self-published book in a national contest!

This is a review by ForeWord Reviews.

Clarion Review


The Art Dockuments: Tales of the Art Dock: The Drive-by Gallery

Carlton Davis

 Four Stars (out of Five)

Those whose downtown Los Angeles touchstone is Frank Gehry’s aluminum-clad, tornado-like Disney Concert Hall may have trouble conjuring what the area was like thirty years before that building starred in every new automobile ad on television. The Art Dockuments – Tales of the Art Dock: The Drive-by Gallery, by Carlton Davis, is a fascinating tribute to a very different Downtown scene and the scrappy artists who gentrified this rundown section of the city during the first half of the 1980s.

Divided into four acts—descriptively titled “The Manifesto,” “The Community Gallery,” “The Art Olympics,” and “The Business of Art”—this chronological survey of events covers every exhibition held from 1981 through 1986 in the eccentric gallery located in the loading dock of a former pickle factory. The book’s focus is as much on the lives and beliefs of the creators as it is on their art works. “Art in a loading dock was a statement about commodity, the standardization of creativity, and the sale of culture,” explains Davis about his brainchild. His colorful illustrations of each show provide a visual diary and, together with a photograph of the featured art framed in the loading dock’s square opening, effectively tie together the book’s thirty-five historical narratives.

Appropriately, this so-called “Drive-by Gallery” compilation references car culture at every turn. In fact, the author begins his nested storytelling with a recollection of driving his bed, mattress, and clothes in a pickup truck fifteen miles west to the Pacific Ocean to avoid the building inspectors who were looking for artists illegally squatting in their downtown work spaces. “The reality of the creative life in downtown Los Angeles then,” Davis remembers, was “like outlaws running from the posse.”

Davis’s inspiration for The Art Dock was Ready-mades creator Marcel Duchamp. Many of the artists the book features, including Brett Goldstone and Kim Jones, are sculptors who used found objects in the tradition of Duchamp’s seminal Fountain, fashioned from a porcelain  urinal. Among the apt quotes sprinkled throughout Davis’s volume is this one from Karl Marx: “A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.”

On the subject of commodities, it bears mention that Carlton Davis was for a time unhappily employed as a project architect in Frank Gehry’s office, working on a multimillion-dollar Malibu residence. For him and others, The Art Dock no doubt served as an antidote to the city’s high culture, whose cognoscenti, significantly, were also not immune to its charms, as Davis tells it.

While The Art Dockuments is an accessible and entertaining choice for any reader craving a passionate account of art practiced as life—and faith—this handsomely packaged book will be most useful for aficionados of contemporary art, especially those interested in alternative ventures.



Book Award and Book Review

The Art Dockuments were awarded the Best Book in the Photography/Art category for the Southern California Book Festival. I will be going to the W Hotel in Hollywood on Monday evening October 29 to receive the award.

BOOK REVIEW By Kirkus Indie Reviews

A personal, wide-ranging account of the artistic community in downtown Los Angeles during the 1980s.

Amid the squalor of an industrialized wasteland, a group of artists coexisted in an abandoned building dubbed the Citizens Warehouse. In this thoroughly engrossing book, Davis (Bipolar Bare, 2009) provides an in-depth catalog of the works he exhibited between 1981 and 1986 in the Art Dock, a loading dock attached to his studio. As he states in his manifesto, this savvy, provocative decision resonates by “epitomizing the nature of contemporary art in the on-loading, off-loading, and up-loading of commodity.” With a few exceptions, each chapter contains an image of the artist (usually taken by Ed Glendinning), photographs of the art installation, concurrent sketches from Davis’ “daily diary page” (often reflecting his state of mind at the time), an interview with the artist and a postscript with follow-up information about his or her subsequent career. Along the way, the author relates the concepts explored in the exhibited works to his own autobiographical narrative, as he reveals personal struggles with mental health, career path, finances, and dyslexia. While he focuses primarily on the Art Dock, Davis includes artistic and political happenings in other areas of LA as well. For example, he observes the changing relationships among artists, the homeless population, building inspectors and the police force, especially as precipitated by the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. It’s also worth noting that not all is doom and gloom; alongside real suffering and marginalization are tales of humor and companionship. In fact, Davis ends on an uplifting note of clarity in the epilogue, where he recalls one particular exhibit not included in the original chronology: a playful, interactive installation he created with his young daughter. He comments: “ ‘Snowflake House’ reminded me of what is so wonderful about art. There is the pure delight in creation. There is the happiness and meaning it provides for others.”

A valuable, permanent record of transitory and improvised events, embedded in a particular historical and artistic moment, which otherwise may have been lost.





Book Buzz Biz Begins

Most of the books for the Kickstarter campaign have been distributed. I now move on the PDF’s, the flyers, and the photos.  Those tasks should be completed in the next month; in the mean time I have begun my campaign to promote the book.  I hired Author Marketing Experts to help me. They will concentrate on Internet exposure and print media. I have engaged for book reviews by Kirkus and Foreword Clarion, two very respected book review organizations. I will be posting their reviews when received.  Peter Clothier and Peter Frank to LA art critics have graciously agreed to look at the book and perhaps I shall get two more reviews from them.  I am proceeding to place books in venues that will sell the book, such as bookstores and museums.  Already the Pasadena Museum of California Art has taken a number of books to sell.  I am coordinating my marketing effort with the authors Marguerite Elliot and Maria Karras of “The Women’s Building & Feminist Art Education 1973 -1991. The Women’s Building was not far from the Art Dock and hosted such prominent artists as Judy Chicago and the designer Sheila DeBrettville, who now runs the graphic design program at Yale University.  The website has been updated to provide for sales through the site, on PayPal, and connected to the book listed on  I have started to implement the conversion of The Art Dockuments to an E-book. I have submitted the book to six book award programs: The Southern California Book Festival, The Los Angeles Book Festival, The Hollywood Book Festival, The New York Book Festival and the USA “Best Book” Awards.  Lastly I begin to look for places I can do book signings.

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The Art Dockuments Published

On September 9, 2012 The Art Dockuments were published. After receiving the second proof and approving it, I gave the go ahead to publish. As an initial order I have ordered 300 books, which I should be receiving September 18th or 19th. I will begin distribution of the book to all those who contributed at the $55 level and above starting the week of September 24th. Look for your copy of the book in the mail after then. Those of you who contributed below $55 I will send you a book, if you wish, at the retail price minus your contribution. Please contact me by email or through comment to this post of your interest. Those of you who are entitled to a copy of the DVD "OF TWO MINDS," please be aware that the DVD will not be released until sometime in 2013. When it becomes available I will be sending you your copy. After the books are sent out I shall begin working on the other awards the photographs and rendered flyers which some of you are entitled to. 

Now I begin the arduous task of promoting, seeking reviews, and submitting the book for awards. I will keep you posted on these efforts, and if any of you have suggestions I would be most grateful.

Thank you all again for your support. The Captain has just returned from vacation in Pennsylvania and is eager to start this next phase of the project. Ahoy, Art Dockument ship backers the catch has arrived at the market!