Madison, Wisconsin: Dangling Participle Press, 1998. Small oblong quarto, measuring 5.25 x 7.5 inches: . Green cloth spine, color lithographed pictorial boards, green pictorial endpapers printed letterpress. Text block illustrated and printed in letterpress, color lithography and serigraphy on various paper stocks. Bound in are three pieces of ephemera sealed within semi-transparent printed envelopes: paper confetti, a self-portrait of Midge, and a snapshot of Rudy in Ireland. Numbered and signed by the artist at colophon.
First edition of this dreamlike artist’s book about travel, memory, and storytelling, “a search for what connects people,” number 33 of 35 signed copies printed and bound by Matt Eberle at his Dangling Participle Press. Rudy & Midge was inspired by a collection of midcentury travel ephemera found at an estate sale. The densely collaged pages retrace the adventures of the unknown Rudy and Midge, represented in blurred outline, as they make their way from Havana to Mexico City, San Francisco to Florida and Ireland. Their story, captured in layers of letters, souvenirs, and photographs, is intertwined with the artist’s memories of his own grandparents and the trauma of the Kennedy assassination. “The arrival of Oswald” looms over Rudy and Midge’s carefree travels from the very beginning of the book: “all of the dates on the vacation receipts and travel brochures abruptly end in 1963.” In the colophon, Eberle reveals that he later learned that Midge was “the mother of a teacher and printmaker I knew while living in upstate New York,” a coincidence that “reaffirmed my belief in omens.” OCLC locates 13 holdings, out of a print run of 35. A fine example of an evocative production.