KALI.  Photographs by Kali (Joan Archibald). Text by Len Prince. Contribution by Brian Wallis. Foreword by Matt Tyrnauer.
KALI.  booktease preview.


Photographs by Kali (Joan Archibald). Text by Len Prince. Contribution by Brian Wallis. Foreword by Matt Tyrnauer.
powerHouse Books, New York, 2021. In English. 376 pp., 10x13x1".

Publisher's Description

Slipcased four-volume set of hardcovers.

Beautifully art directed by famed book designer Sam Shahid and lovingly designed by Matthew Kraus, KALI is a rare, four-volume limited edition (just 600 copies were made) covering the artistic output and creations of an incredible artist you have never heard of—featuring a single volume book-sized introduction by renowned director and producer Matt Tyrnauer; an essay by curator Brian Wallis; and texts by photographer Len Prince and documentarian Alexandra Jarrell—and powerHouse Books is proud to present what is sure to become the Vivian Maier discovery of the decade.  

Joan Archibald was a suburban housewife with two kids living in Long Island in the 1960s. In 1964 she walked out of her house and never returned.

She ended up in hippy Malibu, living out of her car. She changed her name to Kali. She took up photography, taking pictures of Californians not much younger than herself. She hung out with Richard Chamberlain. She was loving it.

A year later, her mom bought her a house in Palm Springs—Bobby Darrin and Sandra Dee's old place—so the kids could visit. 'An artist,' she said, 'needs to live alone to create.' But she did allow the kids to stay during school holiday breaks. 

Susan, the girl, was a muse for her mom, dressing up and assuming made-up characters dreamt up by Kali; Susan's holiday friend Cindy Sherman also was a model in these photographic experiments.

Kali's large outdoor pool was in fact her giant finishing tank: after developing her prints in her Roman bathtub, she would toss the freshly developed prints into the pool with bottles of color and finishing agents, bugs and dirt, buckets of dye and paints, dancing in the pool with the artwork, tossing each print to the deck after achieving the perfect colorization that signified its finishing. Kali would emerge after hours of 'finishing' her work, collapsing from exhaustion. Susan was in charge of retrieving the prints, after which they disappeared and were never seen again. Until now.

Susan moved away and got married, to Len Prince, and during the subsequent decades Kali became more and more reclusive, obsessively photographing the monitors hooked up to her house's extraordinary Closed Circuit TV security system, and making notes and drawings of the nocturnal events she witnessed overnight. Kali photographed various lights, shapes, and human-like forms, and for over three years she did not leave her house, due to the fear these uninvited nightly visitors brought upon her. Estranged from her family, no one knew what happened to her until Susan received a call from a hospital. She reconnected with Kali, now suffering from dementia, and remained with her mother all the way up until her death. Upon cleaning out Kali's house and settling her affairs, the mysterious lockers in the hallway leading up to the garage were opened, and Susan promptly had a stroke. Her ex-husband, Len Prince, a noted photographer in his own right, spent the next two years archiving and organizing the prodigious output of the eccentric and brilliant Kali. The archive, now with Emory University, is showcased in this luxurious limited edition for the very first time.

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