Hardcover, 188 pages
8 x 10 in. | 20.3 x 25.4 cm.
This is a reissue of John Muir’s beloved adventure in the Sierra, re-visualized by artist Cole Sternberg in an effort to question, encourage, and inspire naturalists of our times.
Considered one of the patron saints of 20th-century environmental activity, John Muir’s appeal to modern readers is that he not only explored the American West but also fought for its preservation. My First Summer in the Sierra is Muir’s account of his adventures and observations while working as a shepherd in the Yosemite Valley, which, as a direct result of Muir’s writings and activism, later became Yosemite National Park. Muir’s heartfelt and often humorous descriptions of his first summer spent in the Sierra will captivate and inspire long-time fans and novice naturalists alike.
This version, however, imagines something grander via artist Cole Sternberg’s re-visualization and design. As Percival Everett notes in his timely introduction : “What the images here do is suggest the complicated formation, not of the geology and topography, but of concept. What the Sierra contains within its boundaries is a statement not only about the physical beauty of North America, but an accounting of how this nation wants and chooses to see itself. The work in this book is not only a portrait of a place, but a portrait of us.”
The limited edition format includes a Cole Sternberg signed-and-numbered print, entitled "lace-like sheets and braided overfolding currents" (pictured last). The work is printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching paper and limited to an edition of 100. It is a rare opportunity to collect the actual artwork featured in the book.
John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States, and founder of The Sierra Club. His letters, essays, and books of his adventures in nature have been read by millions.
Cole Sternberg is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. His practice contemplates humanity’s existential quandary: that of being hopelessly destructive, yet forever and inevitably linked with nature. Through varied media (including painting, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, film, and writing), Sternberg positions the aspirations of humankind against the dominant and regenerative forces of the environment and the arbitration of time. For the artist, the conclusion is unavoidable. Human enterprises—art, language, history, law, and republic—are ephemeral / illusory endeavors that attempt to reflect, parallel, and challenge the ascendency of nature to no avail.
Percival Everett is a novelist, poet, and Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.
Designed by Cole Sternberg
Introduction by Percival Everett