Walter Benjamin was an influential philosopher and art theoretician, best known for his 1936 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. In 1986 — many years after his tragic death — Walter Benjamin reappeared in public with the lecture Mondrian ’63–’69 organized by the Marxist Center in Ljubljana. In recent years, Mr. Benjamin has been an associate of the Museum of American Art in Berlin, giving interviews and publishing articles internationally.
Recent Writing collects nine essays by Walter Benjamin written between 1986 and 2013. Augmented with interviews and an extensive bibliography, these texts cover art, originality, museums, and art history, among other subjects.
The starting point for this transcript of four lectures, all held in Leipzig in 2010, is a public art work that Olaf Nicolai installed in Paris in 1998. By exploring and combining a broad spectrum of topics that relate to the theme of the labyrinth, Labyrinth. Four times through the labyrinth serves as both, a reference system to Nicolai’s work as well as an independent source book dealing with labyrinthian matter ranging from the minotaur to the floorplans of IKEA.
Exhibition and Book Presentation with Olaf Nicolai, Jan Wenzel & Sadie Plant – who translated the German version into English – September 21, 8.30pm, Pro qm, Berlin.
In the mid-1990s, Stuart Bailey interviewed Richard Hollis as part of his undergraduate thesis on Modernism in the UK. He subsequently became Hollis’s assistant, working with the designer at his home over a period of two years.
The talk The Truth About Hollis – September 26, 7pm, Artists Space, New York, as part of Richard Hollis exhibition – centers on Bailey’s insight into Hollis’s approach to graphic design, and the impact felt on the discipline due to social and technological developments. Stemming from Hollis’s writings on the historical shift towards visual communication as marketing, Bailey expands on how the material qualities of Hollis’s work can serve as heuristics towards a deeper understanding of his discipline.
The Billboard Book, project (New York) by Jonathan Monk, designed by Benjamin Critton Art Dept., published by Three Star Books, is exhibited on and around the grounds of Moma PS1 on the occasion of the New York Art Book Fair, until September 22, & onwards as is pertinent. It has been previously executed in Paris and London.
The Looking Game is the first installment of “The Subnarratives”, an ongoing project by Mirko Smerdel and M.F.G. Paltrinieri. Taking the shape of a series of case studies, the aim of the collaboration is to investigate the characteristics and nature of photographs as documents and the relationship with the story they tell.
The Looking Game explores the once-secret archive of pictures taken by Rodney Alcala, serial killer and amateur photographer, active between the late 60s and the 70s and imprisoned in the Death Row since 1980.
The book provides an unusual take on the photographic medium starting from the connection between Alcala’s pictures and the alias he adopted while on the run from the police: John Berger, as the famous British art critic and author of the groundbreaking TV documentary Ways of Seeing. Is this only a coincidence? Did Alcala know about John Berger?
The Looking Game, set up a series of connections between Berger’s words and some of the images taken from Alcala’s archive of pictures creating a work that calls into question the act of taking pictures as well as the reproduced image starting from the question: “What makes these pictures so unsettling?”
Talk and booksigning, September 27, 7pm, micamera – lens based arts, Milano.
Fernand Baudin Students Publications / F B S P is a research project dedicated to contemporary forms of editorial practices. Initiated by members of Prix Fernand Baudin Prijs – Prize for the Most Beautiful Books in Brussels and Wallonia, it links the Belgian student’s context with the international independent publishing scene. It aims to create a common space between students and professionals, research and practice, thinking and making – through events, workshops and research publications. September, 25, 6pm, F B S P will launch its first publication This is not a most beautiful book award at Théophile’s Papers, Brussels.
Using Google’s “Search by Image” function, Artist Emma Souharce processed every single one of the 813 images in Hans-Peter Feldmann’s legendary Voyeur. The result, Voyeur, is half generated, half edited, and certainly most entertaining when read parallel to the original, which delivers a spot-the-difference type of fun.
For several years, Paul Kooiker and Erik Kessels have organized evenings for friends in which they share the strangest photo books in their collections. The books shown are rarely available in regular shops, but are picked up in thrift stores and from antiquaries. The group’s fascination for these pictorial non-fiction books comes from the need to find images that exist on the fringe of regular commercial photo books. It’s only in this area that it’s possible to find images with an uncontrived quality. This constant tension makes the books interesting. It’s also worth noting that these tomes all fall within certain categories: the medical, instructional, scientific, sex, humour or propaganda. Paul Kooiker and Erik Kessels have made a selection of their finest books from within this questionable new genre. Incredibly small photobooks is the second volume (after Terribly awesome photobooks) showing this amazing collection.
After the Second World War, Willem Sandberg (NL, 1897–1984) transformed the Amsterdam Stedelijk museum into a dynamic centre for modern and innovative art and culture. He did this with exceptional creativity and in close collaboration with artists and architects.
Sandberg had distinct ideas about heading up a museum for modern and contemporary art, about the importance of art, about dealing with artists and about his work as typographic designer, but also about social responsibility and community.
The book Willem Sandberg, Portrait of an Artist – designed by Rutger de Vries – is based on interviews with Sandberg (from 1971 and 1981) and offers first-hand insight into questions such as: what does the task of museum director entail; how does art criticism work; what is the essence of being an artist; what does the ideal museum architecture look like; and what is the role of art and the museum in society?
They remember only the photographs* is a publication / exhibition – September 13-28, Bétonsalon, Paris – resulting from the collaborative work between the Ecole du Louvre students and the University Paris Diderot – Paris 7. Entrusted to graphic design studio Syndicat, the project focuses on scientific research and operates as a reflexive process in progress.
* “The problem is not that people remember through photographs, but that they remember only the photographs.” in Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, New York: Ed. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003, p. 79.
The arrival of photography and its role in reproducing art works, or understanding artistic practices has blurred our points of reference. Moreover, today it would seem that the modern and contemporary art archive is freeing itself from its purely documentary status. As a result of art’s conceptual and processual evolution, notably dating from the 1960s, document’s status borders on that of artwork, particularly thanks to photography.
This exhibition-publication aims to materialize a reflection not only on the practice and production of the documentary image, but rather and foremost on the archive, its uses, the diffusion and reception of these photographs. It strives to question the journey of the photos and the circulation of artwork and artistic practices, through the use of different supports (photographic printing, printed photographs, books, catalogues, magazines, revues, invitation cards, posters, post cards, digital images…)… Download press release.
Since 1997, when Lost & Found was started, over 90 sessions of stray images and sound have been organised. Artists, writers and musicians present work in progress, experiment or present work that doesn’t fit into their oeuvre (yet). A specific and unique stage for diverse and hybrid works which don’t fit comfortably into galleries or museums.
The collection of Lost & Found invitations was exhibited at Stedelijk Museum CS, Amsterdam, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum and Townhouse Gallery in Cairo. The Netherlands Institute for Art History took the flyers into their collection.
Libraryman is a publisher of photo books, design studio and producer of short films.
Dear Lynda… uncovers Lynda Morris’ ongoing contributions to contemporary art since the 1960s as curator, writer, art historian, and patron. The exhibition – September 21 to November 16, 2013, Eastside Projects, Birmingham – presents her encounters and close collaborations with a remarkable group of artists of our time through artworks, publications, posters, invitation cards, and correspondence taken from her personal archive and collection. The roster of collaborators and accomplices includes Gilbert & George, Konrad Fischer, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Richard Hamilton, John Baldessari, Art & Language, Marcel Broodthaers, Andre Cadere, David Lamelas, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jeff Wall, Gustav Metzger, Jeremy Deller, and Lucy McKenzie. This body of material reflects the social, political, and cultural context of Morris’ activities concerned with issues of perception, conceptual art, and resistance in art and politics.
In relation to the exhibition, Extra Special People has invited artist and archivist Karen Di Franco – September 21, 11am, part of Archive This, An Afternoon Symposium – to lead a practical toolkit session on working with archives. Archives can take many forms and scales: some are formed of digital files, some of physical objects; some hold internationally significant information while some house nonsensical fragments. They can speak of personal relationships and institutional processes, of historic moments and current trends.
In this informal event Karen will give tips for best practice when working with physical and digital archives and will share some of her experiences of developing exhibitions and publications from various collections and archives.
Books of Copies, a project by San Rocco, is an online database comprised of images that can be copied in order to produce architecture. As such, Books of Copies are receptacles of a collective form of knowledge that can provisionally be called “architecture”. Books of Copies are organized according to a precise set of rules and are produced by a multitude of producers. Books of Copies are based on an inherently derivative and collective effort, starting with the zero-degree act of accumulation of formal knowledge, namely “collecting”. Exhibition, September 10 – October 2, 2013, AA School of Architecture, London.
“The Dirty Art Department offers itself as an open space for all possible thought, creation, and action.
It sees itself as a dynamic paradox, flowing between the pure and the applied, the existential and the deterministic, and the holy and the profane.
It is concerned with individuality, collectivity, and our navigation of the complex relationship between the built world and the natural world, and other people and ourselves.
It’s a place to build objects or totems, religions or websites, revolutions or business models, paintings, or galaxies.
The Dirty Art Department comes from a common background of design and applied art, it seeks however to reject the Kantian division between the pure and the applied arts.
Since ‘god is dead’ and ‘the spectacle’ is omnipresent, it sees the creation of alternative and new realities as the way to reconsider our life situation on this planet.
The Dirty Art Department is open to students from all backgrounds including designers, artists, bankers, skeptics, optimists, economists, philosophers, sociologists, independent thinkers, poets, urban planners, farmers, anarchists, and the curious.” Jerszy Seymour
The exhibition PAGINATIONS & MACHINATIONS – with Joseph Grigely, Dorothy Iannone, Aaron Flint Jamison, Allen Ruppersberg and Mrzyk & Moriceau, September 14 to October 31, 2013, Air de Paris, Paris – presents works whose form is a hair’s breadth short of that of the book. Destined to be brought together – like these pages – they relate an encounter (Dorothy Iannone), which maybe happens in the Air de Paris space (Mrzyk & Moriceau) or when the visitor is invited to trigger things there (Allen Ruppersberg). So different strategies – of assemblage, binding, reproduction and printing – are summoned up by these forms of existence of the page. Forms which, far from being static, are variable, like Joseph Grigely conversations (pigment prints, book, sticker). The work on show here by Aaron Flint Jamison reminds us of the origin or the mechanically printed destiny of the others in the show: of pages and machines, of intersecting stories, brought together by physical acts even as they themselves relate acts of separation and reunion, of disappointment and happiness, of connections that are disconnected then reconnected and reread.
Typojanchi, Seoul International Typography Biennale, August 30 to October 11, 2013, is an international exhibition of typography to explore various intersections of the art of visible language and other cultural disciplines.
Typography has a dual identity: it is as much an art of language as a visual art. Typojanchi 2013 is devoted to the literary potentials of typography in the overlap of the two realms.
Rather than merely visualizing a given text, contemporary typography has come to actively engage in the production and distribution of the text. Exploring the themes traditionally reserved for literary studies such as conditions, conventions and nature of writing, typography itself becomes a form of literature. Meanwhile in literature itself, there is an experimental tradition of non-verbal—visual and material—devices. From concrete poetry to the OuLiPo group, metafiction and visual writings, the formal investigations have helped widen the boundaries of literature, inspiring many typographic designers. In addition, the widespread digital production and network technology have had a deep impact on the way we write, share and read texts, fundamentally transforming its nature and status. All these have contributed to the changing status of the text, from a solid common ground for communication to a more intangible and transient clouds in the air.
Typojanchi 2013 attempts to read and write the new text emerging from the shaking tradition of literary culture, examining the conditions and possibilities of the super-expanded, super-fluid, super-dynamic and super-sensitive text.
Lawrence Weiner: Written on the wind – september 21, 2013 to january 5, 2014, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam – is a comprehensive survey of works on paper by Lawrence Weiner, one of the most culturally engaged artists of our time.
The exhibition comprises an extensive survey of nearly 300 drawings produced over a fifty-year period. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the artist’s remarkable trajectory in drawing— from cartoons, notebooks, and otherwise unseen working material and sketches, together with formal works on paper. The exhibition is narrated by his gestural graphics, leading the viewer into the sensibility of Weiner’s oeuvre. Many works contain his initial thoughts and ideas that are often seen transformed into the artists sculptural works using language. Drawing is at the origin and underlines his entire production; the exhibition itself is organized as if it were a drawing in and of itself, as the exhibition has been composed by the artist in a specially designed architectural installation.
In Paris, New York, London, and Los Angeles, show posters for concerts with all-star lineups have been tempting passersby and drivers to attend Madison Square Garden or the Bowery Ballroom, L’Elysee Montmartre or the Wiltern. The months and days of these concerts are listed but not the years, spelling errors are spotted-choice exclusions that add to the growing doubt that these dream acts will ever grace the stage all together on one night. Double-take on these worn posters and you’re not even sure if they’re coming up or something missed and legendary from long ago, but posted in public space, the anticipation is real. Upon closer inspection we see that these epic concert announcements are actually paintings of lineups that only exist in the imagination of artist Andre Saraiva. The artist returns to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, until october 8, 2013, for an installation of these painted announcements, visual evidence of the buzz that signs can create when circulated in the streets.
The Social Life of the Book is a collection of commissioned texts dealing with books, and how they engage with the circulation of ideas and the agency of social situations. It brings together artists, publishers, writers, designers, booksellers, etc. who consider books less as finished objects or forms but for their disruptive potential and their ability to produce new relationships, new publics and new meanings.
It develops as a series of 16-page, saddle- stitched signatures. In its contents as well as its distribution, the series aims to entice readers into a particular attention not only to printed material as such, but also to the ecosystem of knowledge writing, publishing and distributing form together.
The last issue, SLOB (The Social Life of the Book) #4: Kinesics of the Page, by Avigail Moss, is now available.
Addressing parallel questions, SLOR #01 – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere plays off its format and inaugurates the new series The Social Life of the Record, a series of original texts by musicians, fans, critics, collectors, dealers, label owners etc. — reflecting on recording, releasing, listening to, filing, flipping and DJing records today.