Aspen Magazine was a multimedia magazine conceived of, edited and published by Phyllis Johnson in New York from 1965 to 1971. Aspen broke new ground in terms of its editorial concept, design approach and distribution strategy, which continues to be resonant and influential today.
The magazine featured a diverse and impressive array of contributors, from such key artists, musicians, authors and theorists as Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Ian Hamilton Finlay, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Ed Ruscha, J. G. Ballard, Bill Evans, Philip Glass, the Velvet Underground and Yoko Ono. Known as “the magazine in a box”, Aspen was made up of unbound contents that included texts, flexi-discs, reels of film and other objects. It struck a chord in the 1960s artists’ publishing culture—which included publications by Marcel Duchamp, Seth Siegelaub and members of the Fluxus movement—and embraced the idea of presenting travelling exhibitions in a book (or a box, for that matter) in order to provide alternative spaces and economies for art.
The exhibition Aspen Magazine: 1965–1971, from November 26 to February 8 2015, at Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, features complete sets of all issues, with a focus on the combined edition of issues five and six from 1967, which was guest-edited by Brian O’Doherty and is referred to as The Conceptual Issue. Contributors to this issue include Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Hans Richter, Sol LeWitt, Mel Bochner, Naum Gabo, László Moholy-Nagy, Dan Graham, George Kubler, Robert Morris, William S. Burroughs, Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Morton Feldman, Michel Butor, Tony Smith and Merce Cunningham. Barthes first published his influential and important essay The Death of the Author in this issue.
Printed Matter, a pioneer in the field of artists’ books and a nerve center for New York’s alternative arts world for four decades, is the subject of the exhibition Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter at 80WSE gallery, New York, from December 2 to February 14.
A carefully selected amalgamation of books, records, exhibition documentation and flyers, the exhibition charts the organizational history of the New York non-profit in relation to the history of artists’ books and important movements in contemporary art from the 70’s to the present, encompassing the alternative space movement, downtown NYC counter-cultural scenes, and artist activism.
< o > future < o > is conceived by François Aubart, Jérôme Dupeyrat, Charles Mazé, Camille Pageard, and Coline Sunier. < o > future < o > continues and enhances the activities of Pyramide, Diapason, Roue crantée with online and printed publications. It is part of the activities of Bat.
The recent evolution and democratisation of printing techniques has encouraged many artists to re-evaluate their position in relation to literature, to books, and to the page. Dedicated to the exploration of new practices within art book production, The Liberated Page will consider the page for its simultaneously poetic, structural and physical elements.
From November 21 to December 28 2014, Bâtiment d’art contemporain, Le Commun, in Geneva, the exhibition will highlight a wide range of interventions and approaches, and will discuss in particular, how artists invent new books and why their invention opens up new possibilities for the page – as well as for communication and language.
The Liberated Page will highlight the work of several contemporary artists concerned with the page, in conversation with such historic examples as books from artists Dieter Roth, Edward Ruscha, and Seth Siegelaub, bookworks from publishing houses Something Else Press and Ecart (including work by Daniel Spoerri, Robert Fillou, Emmett Williams, and Dick Higgins), an anthology by Guy Schraenen, the Mèla post card book from Maurizio Nannucci, as well as the complete Franklin Furnace archive.
Offprint Paris, November 14-16, 2014, Beaux-arts de Paris, is an art-publishing fair featuring discerning publishers on art, photography, design and experimental music labels. This year’s edition showcases more than 130 publishers, from over 20 countries (all participants now announced on the website), selected by Yannick Bouillis, Charlotte Cheetham and Maxime Guitton.
On the occasion of the exhibition Architecture by Line in Lausanne, an artist’s book has been published by Nieves and brings together for the first time, as individual leporellos, the four long drawings Saul Steinberg produced for the Children’s Labyrinth, a spiraling, trefoil wall structure at 10th Triennial of Milan, a design and architecture fair that opened in August 1954. The drawings were photographically enlarged and incised into the wall.
The Line, which begins and ends with a hand drawing, is Steinberg’s manifesto about the conceptual possibilities of the line and the artist who gives them life. As the horizontal line shifts meaning from one passage to the next—water line, laundry line, railroad track, among others—it comments on its own transformative nature. The Line occupied one of the structure’s three leaves, while the other two hosted Types of Architecture, Shores of the Mediterranean, and Cities of Italy.
Types of Architecture is a satirical survey of world architecture (Steinberg was trained as an architect in Milan), from America’s log cabins to Bauhaus exaggerations to fragile skyscrapers.
Shores of the Mediterranean presents a sailor’s-eye-view of the Mediterranean coastline, filled with the ruins and renascences of successive civilizations.
The Italy Steinberg knew as a student in the 1930s resonates in Cities of Italy, as the inked line, drawn with the artist’s usual spare elegance, imagines an urban sprawl of campaniles, factories, piazzas, apartment houses, curlicued domes, and a water tank that seems to have escaped from a carnival.
One Hand, and the Other, a book by Emil Salto, published by Cornerkiosk press.
There’s a hand and there’s another and then there is the other. Echoes of year-old sunlight exposing hand gestures, a soft shadow against changing background, and a brilliant rectangle entering the frame and fixating the narrative.
October 4, from 6pm at castillo/corrales, Paris, on the occasion of the release of PNCI, Pensée Nomade Chose Imprimée (1989-2013), Michel Aphesbero and Danielle Colomine, the artist duo behind the legendary magazine 4 Taxis, and the non-less legendary studio Pensée Nomade Chose Imprimée that they organized with Jean Calens at the Bordeaux School of Fine Arts, will put together a small exhibition made of archival footage, publications and paraphernalia from the 25 history of the most Situationnist and punk-rock teaching experiment ever conducted.
Sturtevant (American, 1924–2014) has been “repeating” the works of her contemporaries since 1964, using some of the most iconic artworks of her generation as a source and catalyst for the exploration of originality, authorship, and the interior structures of art and image culture. Beginning with her versions of works by Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol, Sturtevant initially turned the visual logic of Pop art back on itself, probing uncomfortably at the workings of art history in real time. Yet her chameleon-like embrace of other artists’ art has also resulted in her being largely overlooked in the history of postwar American art. As a woman making versions of the work of better-known male artists, she has passed almost unnoticed through the hierarchies of mid-century modernism and postmodernism, at once absent from these histories while nevertheless articulating their structures.
Though her work of the 1960s and 1970s may appear to be simply mimetic exercises in proto-appropriation, Sturtevant is better understood as an artist who adopts style as her medium and takes the art of her time as a loose “score” to be enacted. Far more than copies, her versions of Johns’s flags, Warhol’s flowers, and Joseph Beuys’s fat chairs are studies in the action of art that expose aspects of its making, circulation, and canonization. Working primarily in video since 2000, the artist remains deeply engaged with the politics of image production and reception, using stock footage from Hollywood films, television, and advertising to point to the exhaustion built into much of postwar cultural production.
The exhibition Sturtevant: Double Trouble, from November 9, 2014, to February 22, 2015, at MoMA, New York, is the first comprehensive survey in America of Sturtevant’s 50-year career, and the only institutional presentation of her work organized in the United States since her solo show at the Everson Museum of Art in 1973. Rather than taking the form of a traditional retrospective, the exhibition offers a historical overview of her work from a contemporary vantage point, interspersing more recent video pieces among key artworks from all periods of her career.
American popular culture and the environment of the “art world,” combined with a sly use of puns, codes, inside jokes and signature wit mixed with piercing perceptiveness, comprise the frame for much of Ray Johnson‘s work. Using his own brand of semantic structure, Ray Johnson creates complex and multi-layered portraits—of himself and of other subjects.
From October 7 to November 1, 2014, Karma, New York, presents an exhibition of previously unseen work by Ray Johnson. A comprehensive publication will be released in conjunction with the exhibition, which includes 296 color illustrations of collages, drawings, interventions and other ephemera.
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 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.
“Hypergraphy” is an artistic practice developed by the Lettrist avant-garde in the 1950′s. They defined it as “introducing into alphabetic writing not only the art of painting, but the graphics of all people or social categories past and present, as well as the graphics or anti-graphics of every individual imagination”.
By means of a timeline drawn by artist Roland Sabatier, the exhibition Rules of Hypergraphy – a project by Paul Gangloff, September 26 to October 5, Extrapool, Nijmegen – shows how the Lettrists situated hypergraphy within the history of writing and painting. It further assembles works by turntablist Marc Matter, (typo)graphic designer Karl Nawrot, graphic designers Our Polite Society and sound poet Jörg Piringer, each of them exemplifying uses of signs and letters that goes beyond writing.
The accompanying publication works as a subtext for the exhibition. It provides further insight into the concept of hypergraphy, but also prolongs the investigation by taking a detour into the relation between the Lettrists and the punks.
La revue Initiales esquisse les contours d’une galerie de “portraits en creux” en s’organisant autour de “figures-source”, existantes ou fictives.
Le quatrième numéro de la revue s’intéresse à l’utopie “réalisée” de Monte Verità, première colonie artistique d’Europe et communauté “contre-culturelle” avant la lettre composée d’artistes, de mystiques et d’anarchistes qui attira Mikhaïl Bakounine, D.H. Lawrence, les Dadaïstes, Hermann Hesse, James Joyce, Isadora Duncan, Suzanne Perrottet, Paul Klee, Gerhart Hauptmann, Max Weber, Ernst Bloch, etc.
Initiales M.V. pour Monte Veritá, du nom de cette colline du canton du Tessin en Suisse où s’implanta, en 1900 et jusqu’à la fin de la Première guerre mondiale, cette communauté d’artistes et anarchistes pré-hippie.
Un collectif donc, à rebours du travail de décryptage d’une figure unique, puisqu’ici, de l’écrivain Herman Hesse au pyschanalyste Otto Gross, en passant par Dalcroze et Laban, deux théoriciens de l’art chorégraphique, les danseuses Mary Wigman et Isadora Duncan ou encore l’économiste Max Weber, c’est toute une galerie de portraits qui s’offre à nous. Et autant de personnalités diverses, réunies temporairement, le temps d’un projet qui connaîtra ses heures de gloire avant une descente aux enfers parfois mal interprétée.
Autre enjeu majeur, la disparition relative de cet épisode qui échappa longtemps aux radars de l’histoire de l’art, jusqu’à sa redécouverte, à la fin des années 1970, par le commissaire d’exposition Harald Szeemann. Et donc une réflexion plus générale sur la question et la matérialité de l’archive. Installé à Tegna, à quelques kilomètres de Monte Veritá, Szeemann fondera successivement, en 1978, 1983 et 1987, trois musées documentant les vestiges de l’ancienne communauté – dont l’un d’entre eux, construit sur le site de l’ancienne Casa Anatta accueille depuis 1981 l’exposition permanente “Les Mamelles de la vérité”. Curateur et théroricien culte, Harald Szeemann sera l’une des figures à hanter ce projet éditorial. Le contexte politique, économique et idéologique de cette période, qui présente bien des similitudes avec notre époque, constituera également un angle de lecture.
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.