Recorded in: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Episode Length: 48:35
Air Date: November 13, 2018
Produced by: Jordan Weitzman
Edited by: Cristal Duhaime
I think I first came across Jack Woody’s name after buying a Duane Michals book called Album years ago. I remember thinking that it was so elegant, so beautifully printed and layed out, that I was curious who was behind it. I remember mentioning that book the first time I met Duane, and he told me that there was this hotel in San Francisco who bought the book and cut out and framed the prints they were so gorgeous.
That gravure process that Jack Woody tracked down and began to use became one of the signatures of his imprints, Twelvetrees Press and Twin Palms Publishers. The name of his first press comes from his grandmother, Helen Twelvetrees, a Hollywood movie star in the 1930’s.
After graduating high school, he wanted to go see his grandmothers star on Hollywood boulevard, so he hitchhiked to LA. He ended up getting a job at a used bookstore called Pickwick. After a year there, he moved to Antiquarian Books, which was where he met David Hockney and his galerist Nicholas Wilder. It was that meeting that eventually led him to meeting Duane Michals, whose portfolio, Homage to Cavafy, he showed while working at the Nicolas Wilder gallery.
He’s published over 150 art books by the likes of Christopher Isherwood, Don Bachardy, Herbert List, George Platt Lynes, Diane Keaton, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Hujar, Lise Sarfati, Malerie Marder, Mark Morrisroe, William Eggleston, Francesco Clemente, Duane Michals, Robert Mapplethorpe, Davidson...the list just goes on and on.
When he started publishing art and more specifically photo books in the 198O’s, no one else was doing it, other than a couple other presses. He essentially invented a form that his imprint would become known for.
I was so excited to go and meet him. The rolodex of people that he’s known and worked with is like an encyclopedia of both gay and photo history. And yet, when I went over to the house that he designed and built in the hills of Santa Fe, New Mexico, I met the most humble and charming man - soft spoken, unpretentious, but also willing to talk about his life and work if you expressed interest.
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