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Tenement Press is an occasional publisher of esoteric,
accidental, angular, & interdisciplinary literatures.

‘My head is my only house unless it rains’

Don Glen Vliet

‘Were a wind to arise
I could put up a sail
Were there no sailI’d make one of canvas and sticks’

Bertolt Brecht, ‘Motto’
(Bucknow Elegies)

A Voyage to Extremes:
Selected Spiritual Writings

Jeffrey Vallance

(eds.) Jon Auman
& Dominic J. Jaeckle

Tenement #5
705 pp



Published 24th October 2022

Jeffrey Vallance is our Philip Marlowe, quite literally our private eye, with a private vision of pied beauty and sacred banality that extends to the horizon.

Dave Hickey 

Collecting published and unpublished essays, articles and fragments ranging from 1990 to 2022, this bible-long kunstkammer of a collection—A Voyage to Extremes—offers an illustrated survey of the seemingly limitless breadth of Jeffrey Vallance’s esoteric writings.

An anthology for fans of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena; including Richard Nixon’s dog Checkers; (fabulous) vegas casinos; the pedagogical value of Lapland; Charlie Manson’s father; (the glory of) Ronald McDonald; Martin Luther; Blinky (the friendly hen); Thomas Kinkade; dream sequences; Jägermeister; a raunchy affair (at an ice hotel); hot tubs; shamans; Dürer; Biblical etymology; base gratification; enlightened asides; a wedding ceremony; his Majesty, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga; the summoned ghosts of Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo; the living ghost of David Byrne; Liberace (in space); Big Foot (in Texas); Arctic glamour; Judas; St. Luke; a reliable recipe for a rump roast; ravens; crows; clowns; the Ozone layer; demilitarised zones; duty free zones; the weeping virgin of Las Vegas; a bar called fale kava; a restaurant called Matsuhisa; Houdini artifacts; Santa Claus; Charles Fort; Mikhail Gorbachev (carved out of Ice Cream); Mike Kelley; artificial insemination (cow) and more.

For the attention of ‘brick & mortar’ bookshops,
order copies of Vallance’s Voyage via our distributor,
Asterism Books.

Jeffrey Vallance, Late Night with Letterman (1983)

Jeffrey Vallance was born in 1955 in Redondo Beach, CA. In 1979, he received a B.A. from CSUN and in 1981 an MFA. from Otis. His work blurs the lines between object making, installation, performance, curating and writing and his projects are often site-specific, such as burying a frozen chicken at a pet cemetery; traveling to Polynesia to research the myth of Tiki; having audiences with the king of Tonga; the queen and president of Palau and the presidents of Iceland; creating a Richard Nixon Museum; traveling to the Vatican to study Christian relics; installing an exhibit aboard a tugboat in Sweden; and curating shows in the museums of Las Vegas (such as the Liberace and Clown Museum). In Lapland Vallance constructed a shamanic “magic drum.” In Orange County, Mr. Vallance curated the only art world exhibition of the Painter of Light entitled Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth. In 1983, he was host of MTV’s The Cutting Edge and appeared on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. In 2004, Vallance received the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation award. In addition to exhibiting his artwork, Vallance has written for such publications and journals as Art Issues, Artforum, the LA Weekly, Juxtapoz, Frieze and the Fortean Times. He has published over ten books including Blinky the Friendly Hen, The World of Jeffrey Vallance: Collected Writings 1978-1994, Christian Dinosaur, Art on the Rocks, Preserving America’s Cultural Heritage, Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth, My Life with Dick, Relics and Reliquaries, The Vallance Bible and Rudis Tractus (Rough Drawing). Vallance lives and works in Los Angeles.

Jeffrey Vallance is one of the world's most original, thought-provoking and entertaining writers on visual culture—his essays are works of art in themselves.

Ralph Rugoff

Spirituality, Religion, and Paranormal Phenomenology; Richard Nixon, Thomas Kinkade, and the Loch Ness Monster; from excrement to ecstasy, from Vegas to the Arctic Circle, from the taxonomy of buttplugs to the etymology of the Tetragrammaton—all the indeterminate territories the academic art world tiptoes around, Jeffrey Vallance burrows beneath, undermining their rickety categorical imperatives in favor of a rhizomatic patacritical revelation that is equal parts Charles Fort, Roland Barthes, and S.J. Perelman. Copiously illustrated.

Doug Harvey

Art historically, this ginormous yellow tome is a gold mine, providing off-the-cuff anecdotal accounts of Vallance’s legendary curatorial interventions in various off-beat thematic museums in Vegas, while elsewhere detailing extensive cross-cultural research into the religious, anthropological and philosophical significance of clowns. As promised by the subtitle, much of the work addresses spirituality, religion, shamanism and paranormal phenomenology. Richard Nixon, Thomas Kinkade, Martin Luther, Charlie Manson, Ronald McDonald, the Loch Ness Monster and other spiritual teachers all make appearances. It’s not a fluke that Vallance’s curiosity-driven ideational flow is so reminiscent of an extended Wikipedia surf. [...] Vallance’s Voyage to Extremes seems to me to be the most successful literary embodiment of the human cognitive structures that have evolved with the internet—not from imitation, but from pre-existing structural resonance. A playful, weightless curiosity may seem like a fey and inconsequential thing, but when it drifts across a border as if the border wasn’t there, watch out! That’s when Luther’s excrement hits the Devil’s fan! 

Artillery Magazine

If Los Angeles were Paris, Jeffrey Vallance would surely be declared a national treasure.

Jan Tumlir, Artforum

To delve into A Voyage to Extremes is to tumble into a world that is stranger, more miraculous and more entangled than we ever imagined. Vallance tugs at the threads of ordinary reality, unraveling the warp and weave that separate fiction from fact, the sacred from the profane, and absurdity from logic. When you emerge, nothing will ever look quite the same.        

Eleanor Heartney


Tenement Press