Humor is a hallmark of Tom Marioni’s work. That’s apparent in pieces as diverse as his landmark installation The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art (1970) — currently enjoying a restaging at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art — and a new book of playfully updated fairy tales just released by Crown Point Press.
Self-described as a sculptor who also makes drawings and prints, Marioni is a stalwart of the Bay Area art world and an influential practitioner of conceptual art. The husband of Crown Point Press founder Kathan Brown, he has a unique and long-standing relationship with the renowned San Francisco printmaking studio and gallery, and his most recent collaboration highlights nearly three decades of projects there.
Titled Fabliaux: Tom Marioni Fairy Tales, the book contains Marioni’s own humorous versions of classic tales—including “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella,” and others—updated for adults and illustrated with 33 etchings and woodcuts that date from 1981 to the present.
The title refers to the “short, usually comic, frankly coarse and often cynical tales in verse” that prospered in the 12th and 13th centuries. It also serves as the name of an accompanying exhibition at Crown Point Press that showcases Marioni’s prints from the book, anchored by two brand-new works.
The exhibition opened in January and continues through February 24. Copies of Fabliaux can be purchased at the gallery for $15 each.
Crown Point Press, 20 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, 415.974.6273, crownpoint.com; 10–6 Tue–Sat, closed Sun–Mon