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333. Charles Johnstone Bill Sullivan


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Episode 333: Charles Johnstone and Bill Sullivan are long-time collaborators who, amongst other ventures, have come together to work on their mutual love of tennis through an overwhelming and beautiful Two-Volume set of books with a historical analysis and artworks created by both artists published by SUN.

I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about the sport of tennis or its variations. What I also know is that, as with other sports projects considered by both artists, that the ability for me to be fascinated by how they harness their eye for detail and commanding use of photography, painting, and historical context to create projects that elevate their subject matter to a universal point of interest is consistent, brilliant, and eye-opening. I spoke with the duo about the work and Tennis in general.

The books are filled with over 500 pages of text, images, and so on. Similar to Sullivan’s Pure Country, another book of genius, the emphasis is particular to the phenomenon of the subject matter over the direct study of it in general terms, creating a suggestive alternative to what we think we know about the focus subject. It becomes expansive and underpinned by Johnstone’s colorful and saturated photographs of the courts. They are some of the artist’s best work, and echoes of modernism and typology permeate. One is reminded of Ed Ruscha meeting Germain Krull on the court to battle out the two respective genres of image-making. Please listen to this episode!

Original Press Release and Specifications (Slightly Edited)

Court 1520 2020 is a journey through over fifteen years worth of court-related artworks by Bill Sullivan and Charles Johnstone in the form of ten exhibition catalogs. The 2 book set takes the form of a lyrical journal traveling through the histories of the games of lawn tennis, court tennis, racquets, trinquet, and squash over the past five hundred years. Each of the ten sections is accompanied by an index that includes text dispatches from scenes of iconic courts through time by The writer James Zug. Each index also includes images and excerpts from seminal books and texts of the various sports—including the original rules of Lawn Tennis by Major Winfield. Sullivan’s work comprises a broad spectrum of his court artworks of various means of production, including his early photo-based canvas pieces of tennis courts made via photographs of LCD screens. Charles Johnstone’s works includes photo and print series exploring the spaces of court tennis, racquets, trinquet, and squash. Images are presented from past and upcoming exhibitions by the artists in New York, Boston, Newport, and Raleigh, NC.—including numerous installation shots of their works in various spaces. The book set also includes images from both artist’s previous court-related photo books—Sullivans Forest HillsThe Glass Court and Courts & Covers ( with Ofer Wolberger), and Johnstone’s East CourtSixty by Thirty and upcoming trinquet inspired book The Basques. Each of the two books in the set is 250 pages printed on mohawk vellum paper and presented in a custom COURT box.


2 Volumes: soft cover in a custom box

book size: 9″ x 12″ (23 x 31 cm)  

box size: 10.25″ x 13.25 X 2.25″ 

250 pages for each volume

mohawk vellum paper

Edition of 200


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Music: Algiers, with their full permission
Editing: Adam Mead
Photograph Credits: SUN
Executive Producer: Brad Feuerhelm

Rights are reserved For Nearest Truth. No copies of this content are permitted without express permission from Brad Feuerhelm.

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