The Best of the Best
The Best of the Best represents the artist’s fourth fine-art photographic project. The series coincides with a specially commissioned commemorative artwork for the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. The prints—illustrated with a classic photographic processing including hand-coated salt-over-archival pigment prints—marks and celebrates this milestone. All prints are hand-printed by the artist, signed, numbered, and include a certificate of authenticity. Two sizes available:
Mammoth size: 20 x 24 inch sheet | 16.5 x 22 inch image size | Edition: 5 + 2AP (unique variations)
Print 1 priced at $2500
Print 2 priced at $3000
Print 3 priced at $3500
Print 4 priced at $4000
Print 5 priced at $4500
Elephant size: 8 x 10 inch sheet | 7.25 x 9.75 inch image size | Edition: 10 + 2AP (unique variations)
Print 1 - 3 priced at $1200
Print 4 - 5 priced at $1500
Print 6 - 7 priced at $1750
Print 8 - 9 priced at $2000
Print 10 priced at $2500
Mammoth-sized prints are available in wood frames featuring varnished walnut with maple splines. Prints are hinged with corners on archival foam core with 4-ply white mat. Exhibition frames feature museum glass. Framed size: 24.5 x 30.5 inches. $500.
COLLECTOR’S EDITION of THE BEST OF THE BEST
The COLLECTOR’S EDITION of The Best of the Best by R. J. Kern represents the artist’s third book project which engages a range of artisans and essayists. This project debuted in a solo exhibition at Burnet Fine Art & Advisory in Wayzata, Minnesota, August 8 - 31, 2019.
The project coincides with the commemorative artwork commissioned for the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. This artist book—illustrated with a classic photographic processing including both hand-coated salt prints and contemporary salt prints over archival pigment prints—marks and celebrates this milestone.
Each COLLECTOR’S EDITION contains a 15-page accordion-fold visual book and print folio. From its 11 x 14 x 3 inch box, the accordion-fold book unfolds into a sequence of photographs and three-dimensional pop-ups. The book includes twelve bound salt prints along with four pop-up salt prints with salt print backgrounds. The book may be opened from either direction and displayed upright in an array of presentation shapes to include a rectangle (similar to barn stalls), a star, or a line. If exhibited in a rectangle form, dimensions are 41.25 x 31 inches. The print folio includes one freestanding salt-over-archival pigment print signed by R. J. Kern; each of these prints is a unique animal pair drawn from an edition of 10.
The salt prints were printed and gold-toned by the artist on Fabriano Bristol+ (250 gsm) paper, waxed with white beeswax and lavender oil. The pop-up elements were constructed and hand-cut by Kyle Olmon with the application of a pH-neutral archival polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. Keith Taylor created the book binding, book cradle, and print folio. Each of the pages was made with book board, bound using archival materials and processes. The Dragon EF font by Elsner + Flake was used in the embossing and text. The red canvas backdrop used in the photographic project was painted by Sarah Oliphant using acrylic on canvas prepared with gesso. A cut segment from this canvas appears in the book cradle of the wooden box. Jeff Berg built the walnut and maple spline presentation box and prepared the UV-protecting acrylic glazing with pull tab. The archival pigment prints were printed by Ethan Aaro Jones on Hahnemühle Photo Rag (308 gsm) paper. The salt prints and the salt-over-archival pigment prints were printed by R. J. Kern in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Best of the Best is an edition of eighteen copies; twelve copies numbered 1-12; two copies noted AP1 and AP2 for the artist; three contributors’ copies lettered A, B, C; and one hors commerce copy—each signed by the artist and contributors.
Twelve bound gold-toned salt prints, waxed with white beeswax and lavender oil
Four pop-up salt prints with salt print backgrounds, waxed with white beeswax and lavender oil
One freestanding salt over archival pigment print signed by R. J. Kern; each of these prints is a unique animal pair drawn from the edition of ten. Choose from the following: cattle, chickens, dogs, ducks, geese, goats, horses, llamas, rabbits, sheep, swine, and turkeys.
Twelve copies numbered 1 -12 available for sale: one copy per animal pair.
Priced at $5000
R. J. KERN, Artist & Publisher
KYLE OLMON, Pop-up Book Artist
KEITH TAYLOR, Master Book Binder
ETHAN AARO JONES, Master Digital Printer
SARAH OLIPHANT, Master Backdrop Painter
JEFF BERG, Master Wood Craftsman
ANJULI J. LEBOWITZ, Department of Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
ERIC T. KUNSMAN, Visual Communications Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY