Q&A: Rare Book Dealer Arthur Fournier Thinks The Internet Robs Us Of Time To Daydream

by Daniel Warren

Arthur Fournier presents FER YOUz : The Los Angeles Hardcore Portfolio, 1981-1984 (limited to 100 numbered copies & 26 lettered copies with a vintage print)
Independent rare book dealer Arthur Fournier specializes in finding scarce underground publications related to music and visual arts, cultural movements, disruptive technologies and societies in conflict. In spite of addressing effectively everything pressing in our shifting mediated landscape, Fournier's most recent endeavor narrows in on dreamy, opulent L.A. in the throes of 80s Reaganomics.

In FER YOUz: The L.A. Hardcore Archive, 1980-1985, Fournier shares the explosion of punk youth culture via the lens of Brian and Nikki Tucker. As dedicated ethnographers and photographers, the couple captured the hardcore scene in its wild, zany and vibrant pubescence. I recall viewing Decline of Western Civilization and witnessing a man, with another man in a chair on his shoulders, together, toppling into a crowd, a dangerous example of tagteam stage diving. If this is any indicator, much mayhem and exuberance ensued: exhilarating, insular collaborations in reaction to larger than life global turmoils.

Fortunately, the Tuckers devoted years of their lives to documentation, and now the Fourniers in the world want to take them to press.

Tell us about an earlier encounter that you had with an “underground” scene.

I'm a rare book dealer so most of my encounters with visionaries, outsiders and utopian dreamers is through the paper trails they leave behind. Recently I've bought and sold complete runs of underground art magazines from the French new wave graphzine movement, including mind blowing works by Bazooka and ESDS. I've also helped hip-hop pioneer Michael Holman find a home for his archives.

I grew up in the Midwest going to underground shows in Minneapolis at clubs like 7th street entry and the Motoroil industrial cafe. It wasn't all just hardcore or even punk rock. It was a crazy mix of everything and it was beautiful.

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Photo by Brian & Nikki Tucker via arthurfournier.com 

What attributes (or values) did you recognize that excited you, or drew you deeper into this space?

Brian and Nikki Tucker are heroes to me. I'm humbled by the heroic efforts of those who strive to create their own cultures with originality and heart. The Tuckers have a values system that places allegiance to community above the love of money. It's surprising how rare that is in the world today.

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Photo by Brian & Nikki Tucker via arthurfournier.com 

Picture these attributes (or values) today—how have they changed, or stayed the same, given the last 30 years of media evolution?

Maybe it's harder for movements to remain hidden. To be underground allows you to develop under the protected circumstances of relative anonymity. To have the time and space it takes to grow and resist instant commodification. The web is powerful but it also robs us of the time to daydream. It fills up our waking hours with trivia. The essentials can get lost. It seems to me that the hardcore scene was made by and for those who felt they had no home in the dominant culture. So they created their own protected space. Hardcore punks in L.A. looked after each other with fierce loyalty. I wonder if it could exist in the same way today. Probably not.

To obtain a copy of FER YOUz : The Los Angeles Hardcore Portfolio, 1981-1984 (limited to 100 numbered copies & 26 lettered copies with a vintage print), please email Arthur Fournier Fine & Rare, LLC.