This is the inaugural fine press title under the SKAAR publishing mark, and is part of a personal solastalgia trilogy which includes Nansen's Passport (2020) and The Island Whale (2022) by Two Ponds Press representing Migration, Extinction, and Extraction.
In the 1800s, the gold rush transformed the golden, poppy-covered land of California, with plentiful grizzly bears, into one of the first examples of anthropocenic impact in modern times. The rush for wealth decimated the bears. As a marketing gimmick, William Randolph Hearst, editor of the San Francisco Examiner, had a reporter hunt down the “last” grizzly. Named Monarch after the paper’s slogan, “The Monarch of the Dailies”, the bear would eventually serve as a model for the California state flag. The Ursus arctos californicus was officially declared extinct in the 1920s.
From the bear flag burnt onto its cover, to the California fire poppy of paper which lies underneath a unique wet plate collodion photograph in a well within the case, this 56-page artist’s book and case can be unpacked to comprise its own small exhibition. The story of Monarch is essentially a story about California history, extraction, and extinction and in MONARCH it is told entirely through national newspaper articles from the 1840s until 1953 when the California state flag was standardized, and is illustrated by collages combining historic California photos and photos of the real Monarch himself.
Secure one of the 10 sales copies by contacting Anneli Skaar