Issue #30 of GRAPHIC, Publishers, features interviews with ten publishing companies, along with information about their books, which delves into the possibilities the book medium holds in the contemporary context. The ten companies introduced aren’t necessarily the leaders of their field. But each has its own identity, its own unique way of reflecting the field’s diversity.
With this issue, a number of possibilities for discussion. First, there is the overall context of the today’s art publishing market. Their community can’t be equated with the mainstream of art publishing, but they do at least have a pioneering role in art and design practice that cannot be ignored. That’s what allows the transdisciplinary bearings they forge to serve as a benchmark for understanding the contemporary art and design scene. Second, there’s the question of just what new possibilities can be found in the book medium at a time when the media technology environment surrounding it is undergoing profound changes. These companies are real-life examples showing new attitudes and patterns of practice in the area of art publishing. Their publication lists point to the direction in which art publishing is going in the e-book age. Finally, there’s the potential for publishing as a model for expanding on legacies from the past. What is the link between these companies’ activities today and the artist-led book production movement of the 1960s? Why do some publishers still view this kind of publishing as a viable model?
The starting point of Laurence Aëgerter’s facsimile Cathédrales, is the 1949 catalogue Cathedrals and churches of France, published by the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Tourism. The artist placed the book by the window in her studio and allowed the incidence of natural light to impact a reproduction of the façade of the Saint-Étienne cathedral in Bourges. She photographed the book every minute during two hours, obtaining 120 photographs of light variations upon this unique image. The play of shadow and light of the Gothic architecture in the orignal photograph, is superimposed by a new shadow that slowly glide on the cathedral and, imperceptibly but irreparably, swallows it up. Aëgerter’s photographs contain thus three stratified layers of times : the 12th century, 1949 and 2012. Cathédrales presents a photographic sequence and as we turn the pages, we are aware of the temporal dimension of this visual exploration, a metaphor of transcience.
The photobook is a thriving medium for encountering a group of images, and the preferred presentation of many photographers. This form of publishing responds to the basic structure of photographic production, and is growing despite digital distribution of images.
The Sandbox: At Play with the Photobook, an installation by Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar, both artists and owners of Spaces Corners, transforms the museum into a playful hybrid space for encounters with the photobook: part reading room, part bookshop, part library, part event space. Encounter a rotating selection of photobooks and intimate events emphasizing contemporary trends that give the medium its character.
On view at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, until July 28, 2014.
During its fifty-four issue run, spanning nearly three decades, ARK was an influential presence in British cultural life. A magazine created by students at the Royal College of Art in London, ARK attracted international attention for its often bold and fast-changing design as well as the extraordinary cast of writers and artists who contributed to its pages, including Ralph Rumney, Lucio Fontana, Alison and Peter Smithson, Toni del Renzio and Reyner Banham, as well as college students and staff.
ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950-1978 is an anthology the magazine ARK. It includes original material from the magazine, selected and introduced by students on the Critical Writing in Art and Design MA programme at the RCA today. Also featured, in full colour, are all the covers of ARK and an index of the magazine’s contents. This new publication will offer a vivid overview of changing attitudes and approaches to art and design in Britain in an age of considerable flux.
Symposium & Book launch, June 25, Royal College of Art, London.
To mark the launch of Please Come to the Show, edited by Museum of Modern Art Bibliographer David Senior, Occasional Papers invites Berlin-based Bar Vulkan – June 10, from 6:45 pm, at Institute of Contemporary Arts in London – to host an evening devoted to celebrating the exhibition invitation card, a key yet often overlooked element of exhibition-making.
David Senior selected a wide range of exhibition-related ephemera – invitations, flyers and posters from the 1960s to the present (overview on pleasecometotheshow.tumblr.com ) – and presents them here as an historically overlooked but integral aspect of exhibitions. Often the first point of contact between the audience and artist, such items form part of an essential lexicon for graphic designers, curators, art historians and anyone interested in the event-based nature of showing art.
Filled with full-colour reproductions of numerous examples from the MoMA collection, the book includes new essays by Gustavo Grandal Montero, Will Holder, Antony Hudek, Angie Keefer, Clive Phillpot, David Senior and Suzanne Stanton.
“There’s more to life than books, but not much more”, says the song, with an unmistakable, ambiguously seductive, voice. Åbäke, Corinn Gerber, Laure Giletti, Jp King, Chris Lee, Anouk Pennel, Patricia No, and Benjamin Thorel, all agree with this bold statement. As artists, writers, publishers, printers, curators, graphic designers, researchers and many combinations of these disciplines, they are “making books”: engaging in the production, invention and circulation, in the selling and buying, writing and reading of paperbacks, catalogues, journals, ’zines, websites and text documents. Questioning the scope and value of this activity is what’s at the core of this book, that presents itself as a subjective lexicon, proposing keywords for contemporary publishers and book freaks.
A book about – What’s more to life than books, co-published by Art Metropole, Paraguay Press and Publication Studio, is the result of a seminar that was called There’s more to life than books, but not much more.
Multi-City-Launch June 14, 2014, at Publication Studio, 11am, in Portland; at Art Metropole, 2pm, in Toronto; at Studio Feed, 2pm, in Montreal; at castillo/corrales, 8pm, in Paris.
“Art institutions are inevitably institutional, dependent on architecture and reliant on compromise. Yet this ‘institutionality,’ which we know to regard with a critical eye, can also be an asset, offering both a methodological and material grounding, community, and resources. Because museums cannot continuously rebuild and restructure themselves when confronting this dialectic with regard to both programming and exhibition making, the question becomes how to, at least temporarily, adopt another model or logic, while also resisting rehearsed tactics or resorting to spectacle. Excursus is one response.”
Excursus I – IV documents a two-year, four-part exhibition and program series at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Curated by Alex Klein and designed by Mark Owens, the 128 page catalogue operates at the intersection of art, publishing, the archive, and the social, and features contributions from Reference Library, East of Borneo, Ooga Booga, and Primary Information.
Purchase the catalogue at Draw Down.
It all started when Beni Bischof began publishing laser-copied artist’s magazines in 2005 as an independent means of distributing his drawings, collages, and texts. The speed of production suited his impetuous, prolific output. It was not long before he found an additional, three-dimensional outlet for his obsessions by adding sculpture, painting, and installations to his repertoire. Often using everyday objects, Bischof creates bizarre objects whose coherence he reinforces with plaster and paint. He applies similar techniques of combining, reassembling, and reworking to images appropriated from fashion magazines, trivial literature, LP covers, and the like, overpainting them and modifying them digitally or even mechanically.
Psychobuch presents an extensive and unusual survey of Beni Bischof’s oeuvre. It is a wildly rampant, multimedia conglomerate, held together by a dense network of recurring themes and motifs. The elaborate book is both an overview of Beni Bischof’s output to date and an artist’s book in its own right. Book launch, June 2, 6 pm at Galerie Milieu in Bern, and June 3, 6pm, at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen.
Between 1932 and 1936 five edition of the cahier Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif was published in Paris by the eponymous association, uniting all movements who worked abstractly. The magazine not only formalised a new tendency for language in visual art, but also became a form of explicit self-promotion and opposition against the growing force of figurative Surrealism, led by André Breton. Two minimal yet clear criteria needed to be fulfilled to become a member of the association: you had to be an artist and work non-figuratively. This resulted in a list of members of long-forgotten artists mingled with names such as Kandinsky, Mondrian, Calder, Delaunay, Van Doesburg and Brancusi.
With the cahier Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif, most of the members handed in documentation of work along with self-written texts. Those writings were visions about their own work, detailed explanations of the documentation, short viewing instructions, epistles about the true meaning of abstract art, essays on the relation between abstract art and evolution, straight forward explanations why a locomotive is not a work of art, and a poem about God being a copycat.
The publication of the cahier in English is the initiative of artist Riet Wijnen. During the launch, May 15 at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, artist and designer Will Holder will lead a small audience through the museum’s galleries, stopping at paintings and sculptures made by contributors of Abstraction Creation: Art non-figuratif, and reading excerpts of their writings.
Oraibi Bookshop is an on-going curatorial project based in Geneva and run by graphic designer & artist Ramaya Tegegne and curator Tiphanie Blanc. From May 9 to 30, at Officin in Copenhagen, Oraibi presents Asger Jorn and the international situationist, a selection of books which will focus on Asger Jorn and his relationship with the French avant-garde and the international situationist movement. For the event, Oraibi has invited Danish editorial project Internationalistisk Ideale (Marie Kølbæk Iversen and Louise Hold Sidenius) to make a print and video display focusing on Jorn’s publication “La Langue Verte et la Cuite” from 1968, known in Danish as ‘tungebogen’ – the ‘tongue book’.
De:, a project by Rollergirl, is a series of exhibitions and publications, presenting a cross section of all styles and genres of current international photography. For each installment, the work of talented young photographers from one cultural capital is presented in another major city. Introducing their work to new audience and catalyzing cultural exchange. The first edition was De: Amsterdam, showing photography from Amsterdam in Lausanne, 2006. The following edition was, De: Paris, presenting Paris-based photographers in Amsterdam, 2011.
De: Stockholm, the third edition of the project , printed using only 3 spot colors Red, Green and Blue, will show a selection of images made by Stockholm-based photographers Brendan Austin, Thobias Fäldt, Marcus Harrling, Linda Hofvander, Inka and Niclas, Klara Källström, Björn Larsson, Hanna Ljungh, Märta Thisner, Lars Tunbjörk, Erik Undehn. Opening and book launch, May 22, 6pm, ArtLigue, Paris.
The Allen Ruppersberg Sourcebook: Reanimating the 20th century is a unique collection of original source material edited by conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg from his extensive archives of texts, images, films, records and ephemera influential to his practice over the past four decades. Focusing on nine projects by the artist from 1978 to 2012, the Sourcebook offers an exclusive insight into Ruppersberg’s thinking, and a practice sparked by his interest in 20th century popular culture and pre-digital materials.
The Sourcebook series is dedicated to contemporary artists’ personal perspectives on social, political, and cultural issues. For the second Sourcebook in the series, Allen Ruppersberg has mined his archives, stored between his family home in Cleveland and his studio in Los Angeles. Delving into the influences and research that has impacted him, the artist has assembled various selections from this material, reprinting key texts by Allen Ginsberg and Marshall McLuhan, among others, and reproducing album and magazine covers from his collection. All together, these ephemeral and pre-digital materials open new perspectives on the way the American century underpins the artist’s practice.
Discussion & Book Signing, May 31, 2014, 7 pm, 192 BOOKS, New York.
Booksfromthefuture Summer School is a ten-day summer workshop in London, July 7-18, on book design that focuses on self-initiated, practice-based inquiry. Participants of the programme will each design a section of the 1884 science fiction novel Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, to be published by Booksfromthefuture in collaboration with designer Dante Carlos. In this setting, thinking and making will be experienced simultaneously rather than as separate phases of the design process. As a re-imagining of story and format, participants will discover both individual and collaborative methods that blend research and practice into a single act. Application deadline 20 May 2014.
“Pourquoi ne pas reconstruire notre incapacité à voir ?” s’interroge Robert Smithson dans son fameux texte “Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatán”, publié en septembre 1969 dans le magazine Artforum. Cette question servira de fil rouge à l’exposition ANTI-VISION – du 17 mai au 21 juin, See Studio, Paris – conçue à partir d’un choix de publications et d’éditions d’artistes issues de la collection BLOOM.
La série complète des numéros d’Artforum où Robert Smithson fit paraître huit grands articles avant son décès accidentel en 1973, introduira à ce questionnement sur l’ “anti-vision” et la “vision négative”, qui a alimenté diverses stratégies artistiques depuis la fin des années 1960. L’exposition réunira un ensemble de livres d’artistes et d’affiches, de documents imprimés et de revues, de catalogues d’expositions et d’envois postaux, dont certains rares et recherchés par les bibliophiles.
The Internet Archive is a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public.
As part of the Internet Archive Tumblr Residency program, Re Production of Tangible Things, by Gijsbert Wouter Wahl, brings ephemera obsessively combed from the databases out into intertwined chapters. The archive has been pictured, and the images, out of their original positions in files and books, become part of a new territory from which you can drill back into sources that may otherwise have remained invisible.
THE PARTICLES (of White Naugahyde) is the first publication of a play by William Leavitt. Leavitt is one of the pioneers of conceptual art in Los Angeles, helping significantly to establish the genre in the late 1960s and the 1970s. His works make use of narrative elements drawn from LA architecture and popular culture as well as from the movie and television industries. The artist works in various media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and theatre.
Framed as a sitcom setting, the narrative of THE PARTICLES (of White Naugahyde) tells the story of a family auditioning for a NASA program, which sends them to a newly planned space colony. The demanding admission process makes them live in a security-free community in the desert together with other applicants. These two weeks in the desert result in anxiety and anti-social behavior among the participants.
Book launch and conversation with William Leavitt, Ann Goldstein, Niels Olsen, and Fredi Fischli, April 16, 2014, 6pm, as part of the opening of William Leavitt’s solo exhibition, Sidereal Time, in Zürich.
The book Almost a centimeter is the result of Make Your Own Press, a collective effort of 5 professors and 16 students from 3 distinct academies in the Baltic and Nordic region, and 5 visiting lecturers and critics, invited because of their outstanding efforts in the field of artist book making and publishing.
The book emerged from a course that recognizes the explosion in artist book making all around the world, especially in lieu of the less than terminal death of print predicted now for many years. This resurgence of print was something the group wanted to aid, particularly in their region, by giving a younger generation a course that presented all the steps necessary in taking a book from its concept, through its relation to historical antecedents, design, paper and color selection, the printing process, and finally distribution and acting as a temporary publishing house.
Six teams made a 16-page section each reflecting on various aspects of what it takes to realize a publication: The Author, The Editor, The Designer, The Printer, The Distributer, and The Reader.
The one-day event Art-Information: Editorial Strategies, Text-based Formats, Publishing Contexts, April 26, at ICA in London, looks at acts of publishing within contemporary art and curatorial practice. Guest contributors Stuart Bailey, Dr Ruth Blacksell, Dr Jo Melvin, Dr Lucy Mulroney, and Alun Rowlands will draw on a rich variety of engagements, setting current practices against the alternative lineages of Pop and Conceptual Art. Presentations range from considerations of the various format and distribution strategies used by magazine editors and curators, to discussions of publishing, editorship and layout in (and as) practice.
Through these, contributors will highlight specific issues such as the appropriation of trade publishing channels and editorial design vocabulary; the significance of typographic layout in progressions from passive ‘looking’ into active ‘reading’; requirements for reader participation and responsibility; and the shifting notion of archival and open work within the interactive and networked platforms of digital publishing.
For the exhibition New Reproductions, David Maljkovic has created an extensive display of his work which provides a new reading of his artistic practice and the exhibition format itself.
The show presented six new reproductions of previous projects by the artist, and deals with conceptual strategies and utopian references past and present. It included animation, slide projection and collage, as well as sculptures as reconfigured objects.
The artist book New Reproductions, published in conjunction with the exhibition, designed by Åbäke, is a dense object in which the textual contributions function as poetic and fictional response to the artist’s collaged 48 images. Here, Maljkovic provides a certain utilitarian take on re-reading, remembering, incompleteness, and exhaustion as artistic positions in order to assemble filiations between works separated by time span and by his changing ideas.
Informational Affairs is an ever growing index of books collected by Folder Studio.