The best American book of the 20th century, a project by artist cooperative Société Réaliste, and designed by Project Projects, consists of the first sentence of the first best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the second sentence of the second best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the third sentence of the third best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the fourth sentence of the fourth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the fifth sentence of the fifth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the sixth sentence of the sixth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the seventh sentence of the seventh best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the eight sentence of the eight best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the ninth sentence of the ninth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the tenth sentence of the tenth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the eleventh sentence of the first best-selling book of 1901, as listed; and so on up to the end of the century, to the thousandth sentence of the tenth best-selling book of 1999.
As ‘The Best American Book of the 20th Century’ travels through the textual materiality of an entire century of mass-produced literature, it suggests intertextual relationships between the narratives of American fiction. Since a multitude of changes in time and culture converse in the book, the project transverses the usual, formal standards of language, questioning power dynamics between reader and writer.
Installation shot Bremen, ROMA PUBLICATIONS 1998-2012, Research Centre for Artists’ Publications, Weserburg, Bremen, 2012
Roma Publications 1998 – 2014 is an exhibition that includes over 230 books and editions published by Roger Willems and Mark Manders in collaboration with a large number of artists, writers and designers.
A publication is typically the end point of a project or exhibition; this exhibition, however, takes the printed format as its point of departure. Books, newspapers, posters and other printed matter are combined with artworks and installations relating to the publisher’s identity inside an exhibition dimension. The informal way of bringing art and publications together in a carefully composed exhibition gives clear insight into the working process of Roma Publications, which is based on a collaborative relationship to the artists. Another interesting element of this hybrid approach is that it questions the sometimes thin line between an original and a reproduction, and thus between the exclusiveness of an artwork and the democratic nature of a publication.
The exhibition aims to present the form of the book as an extended media that can involve the exhibition space. Some of the invited artists will contribute to the fading of the distinction between paper and space, image and material, original and reproduction (the print run of Roma Publications’ issues varies between 2 and 150.000 copies). Many of these practitioners use the book and printed matter as a central medium in their work, underlining not only the important role of publications to diffuse artistic production, but also in the rethinking of the book medium as an artistic practice.
The independent art publisher Roma Publications, founded in 1998 by artist Mark Manders and graphic designer Roger Willems, works in collaboration with artists, designers, writers and institutions. For the exhibition at the Fondazione Giuliani, from October 11 to December 13 in Rome, the entire in-progress list of over 230 titles will be on display, in addition to a specially created reading room in which visitors can peruse each of the publications. Several new commissions and site-specific artworks will also be included in the exhibition, together with pre-existing works, all by artists who have actively collaborated with and participated in the activities of Roma Publications. With the exception of just two artists, all of these artists will be exhibiting in Rome for the first time, some for the first time in Italy.
Curated by Lorenzo Benedetti and Roger Willems. With contributions by Gwenneth Boelens, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Marlene Dumas, Geert Goiris, Kees Goudzwaard, Sara van der Heide, Arnoud Holleman, Rob Johannesma, Jan Kempenaers, Irene Kopelman, Bart Lodewijks, Mark Manders, Marc Nagtzaam, Oksana Pasaiko, Petra Stavast, Batia Suter, Raymond Taudin Chabot, Wouter van Riessen, and may others.
On Saturday 11th October, from 11am to 1pm, the Foundation will host a musical performance by Wouter van Riessen, a reading by Nickel van Duijvenboden and an informal conversation with the curators and some of the artists in the exhibition.
The Most Beautiful Swiss Books on an annual basis recognizes excellence in the field of book design and production, as well drawing attention to remarkable and contemporary books by Swiss designers, printers and publishers.
For the catalogue, designers Julien Tavelli and David Keshavjee of Maximage took the idea of the test print to its extreme by subjecting various pages of the book to continuously changing parameters. The result is highly varied, for example, using CMYK and Sixplex printing, matt varnish or no varnish, etc. The various treatments and methods are intermixed with different screening criterions as well. Particularly attractive to those in the industry, such as designers, printers and lithographers, it will also appeal to students and anyone who appreciates visually strong books that are conceptually sophisticated at the same time.
The Library Vaccine, from September 25 to November 9 at Artists Space in New York, is an exhibition that presents a number of discrete collections of books in order to sample art’s distinctive relationship to the book form in its singularity, and in its states of reproduction, distribution and accumulation. The exhibition addresses the book as a particular technology, and in its collective state of the private collection, reading room or library, as a social machine – registering social and personal histories, and articulating structures of knowledge and value through the relations between its parts.
Each section of the exhibition presents a collection that loosely corresponds to a decade between the 1960s and the present day, yet it does not seek to survey a recent history of books in or as art; rather it takes the tension between book-as-text and book-as-object as a starting point. The exhibition marks a movement from the egalitarian, curative aspirations of the book as distributed artwork, to these aspirations’ subsumption within broader tendencies towards collecting, archiving and the re-circulation of knowledge.
Some sections of the exhibition revolve around curatorial or editorial frameworks that highlight artists’ use of the book form, while others focus on the collection or library as a holistic entity. In these contexts the act of collation emphasizes shifts between the private and the common, the artwork and the artifact. The roles of artist, publisher and collector are seen to overlap, and the sequenced content of both the individual book and the massed collection provides sites for the production and articulation of meaning. In each instance, the mode of physical display of the books is considered as an extension of their individual or collective character.
With The Defaced Library Books of Kenneth Halliwell & Joe Orton; Edition Hansjörg Mayer; Vigilance: An Exhibition of Artists’ Books Exploring Strategies for Social Concern, after an exhibition curated by Lucy R. Lippard and Mike Glier; The Colin de Land Library; Everything is About to Happen: An ongoing archive of artists’ books selected by Gregorio Magnani; & The Library of Helen DeWitt.
The Novel That Writes Itself is a finished whole of a novel in progress, initiated in 1978 by the Conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg.
It all begins with the end of a story, the one about the Colby Poster Printing Company that shut down in December 2012, taking with itself an emblematical graphic identity into history. A Colby poster can be easily distinguished from others and bear the stamp “from L.A.”. Multicolored posters with unexpected gradients of flashy, typically Californian colors, the Colby posters, covered with outrageously bold characters, do not respect any typographical rules. Allen Ruppersberg was one of their most faithful and regular customers.
It begins also in 1978, when Allen Ruppersberg has an idea of a work in progress which he would call The Novel That Writes Itself, and which he would make in the shape of a fictionalized autobiography where he would talk of his adventures as a young artist, which he is at the time.
In parallel to this project, he starts to produce aphorisms or enigmatic questions printed on multicolored posters. These posters, the famous Colbys, start to show up at his exhibitions around the middle of the 1980s. He realizes in 1990 that in fact “the novel had written itself” without his knowing. By then, 50 posters had been produced. The Novel That Writes Itself is thus given substance to by Colby Posters through which he shows not only how the characters of his autobiography evolve but also an array of his projects.
The pages of The Novel That Writes Itself, a work whose essentially romanesque nature requires the shape of a book, break away one by one to be put on the walls of galleries or museums. This novel by Allen Ruppersberg takes, in its provisional form, the shape of a renewed installation, enriched with each new presentation. In the footsteps of El Lissitzky who declined the traditional structure of a book by turning its pages into posters, Allen Rupersberg takes a similar approach.
The Novel That Writes Itself finishes to write itself in 2013 with the closing of the Colby Company. Time has come, perhaps, to bring back the classic format of a novel. Allen Ruppersberg, however, has chosen to compensate the constraint of a book by giving it the independence of a poster. The binder holds together a number of separate pages who can keep their original poster-like nature.
Exhibition from September 12 to October 4, 2014, mfc-michèle didier, Paris.
Created entirely from found images, ALBUM collects the first ten issues of a zine by the same name begun by artists Eline Mugaas and Elise Storsveen in 2008. Comprised of full page photographic illustrations, advertisements, and other ubiquitous media images culled from etiquette manuals, cookbooks, travel magazines, craft books, fashion magazines, and sexual manuals, ALBUM reflects the popular imagery found in Scandinavian households from the 1960s through the 1980s.
The chosen imagery is then arranged across spreads, creating a sophisticated and humorous reading organized by a series of heavy themes such as the lonely man, femininity, architecture, family, outer space, and nature. While seemingly whimsical, ALBUM provides a sophisticated meta-narrative on the human body, sexuality, and the social lives of images that places the reader in an uncanny arena that showcases how our media likely reads us.
Launch, September 27, 8pm, with Eline Mugaas and Elise Storsveen, during NY Art Book Fair.
September 26–28, 2014, Printed Matter presents the ninth annual NY Art Book Fair, at MoMA PS1, New York. Free and open to the public, the NY Art Book Fair is the world’s premier event for artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines. Last year, the fair featured nearly 300 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, institutions and independent publishers from twenty-six countries. NYABF14 is also full of programming and special events.
V. Vale & William S. Burroughs
V. Vale is an editor, writer-interviewer, historian, photographer and pianist. As publisher-editor of the 1977-79 zine SEARCH & DESTROY, V. Vale helped bring international attention to a Punk scene as prophetic as more publicized ones elsewhere. The publication was launched with $100 each from Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and published at City Lights Bookstore, where Vale worked at the time. For Vale, Punk provided a launching pad for a host of cultural-anthropological explorations, including Industrial music, the writings of J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs, feminism, pranksterism, studies of The Body, plus “Incredibly Strange” filmmaking and music, which he has chronicled with the RE/SEARCH series of publications that he founded in 1980.
Now lauded as an invaluable document of early punk and a graphic design rule-breaker (“We’d do a layout meeting: ‘Here’s the text. Here are the pictures. Your job is to make this interview as rad as you can’”), Search and Destroy also became a way for Vale to make critical connections between the work and thoughts generated by punk groups and those formulated by artists in other media, as interviews with Vale’s mentors Ballard and Burroughs made their way into the zine.
The RE/Search series had become the equivalent of an ever-unfolding countercultural bible: essential reading not only for Punks — all the books, Vale swears, are informed by that Revolution — but artists, musicians, cultural fire-starters, and trouble-makers of every nonconformist stripe. In turn, Vale built a bridge with his paperbacks between the cultural movers around him and the world of books that has succored him. “I learned long ago that reading is not a passive process,” says Vale. “I like to mark up my books. My books are heavily interacted with. I look at books not as books, but as conversations.”
From September 6 to 13, V. Vale will be doing a mini-lecture/workshop tour in Belgium and Holland. September 6, at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, Vale will unearth a rare complete set of Search & Destroy—the 11-issue punk zine about underground literary and music culture Vale produced from 1977 to 1979. Then, at 8pm, Vale will talk about how seed money from Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg led to Search & Destroy, how that led to RE/Search Magazine, and how all of it led to RE/Search Publications. More about the tour here.
What exactly is a book? The Thing The Book asks that question of more than 30 creative visionaries. Each traditional element of a book – from endpapers to ribbon bookmarks to page numbers – has been assigned to a different artist or writer to use as his or her own personal exhibition space. Miranda July’s naughty errata slip, Jonathan Lethem’s Foster Wallace-esque footnotes, Ed Ruscha’s medieval bookplate, not to mention essays, fiction, photo collections, artworks, centerfolds, a reading group guide – there’s something for everyone.
Featuring Gwen Allen, Tauba Auerbach, John Baldessari, Martin Creed, Mark Dion, Anthony Discenza, Kota Ezawa, Harrell Fletcher, Ryan Gander, Sam Green, Jonn Herschend & Will Rogan, Matthew Higgs, Andrew Hultkrans, Chris Johanson, Miranda July, Starlee Kine, Andrew Leland, Jonathan Lethem, MacFadden & Thorpe, Mike Mills, Rick Moody, Dave Muller, Laurel Nakadate, Tucker Nichols, Trevor Paglen, Lucy Pullen, Ed Ruscha, Leslie Shows, David Shrigley, Molly Springfield, Sara VanDerBeek, Anne Walsh, Lawrence Weiner, Richard Wentworth.
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.