Magazine article Artforum International

"Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter": 80WSE

Magazine article Artforum International

"Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter": 80WSE

Article excerpt

"Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter"

80WSE

"We had this dream that artists' books would be in drugstores and airports," said Lucy R. Lippard a few years ago when I asked her about the early days of Printed Matter, Inc. A founder of the venerable institution in 1976--along with Carl Andre, Edit deAk, Sol LeWitt, Walter Robinson, Pat Steir, Mimi Wheeler, Robin White, and Irena von Zahn--Lippard noted that she hadn't anticipated back then how these "scribbled little things, misspelled texts, Xeroxes, and so forth" would go on to find their markets. But every format eventually does. If the crowds at the Printed Matter NY Art Book Fair were any indication--the event attracted some 34,000 visitors this past year, and opened its equally successful Los Angeles edition in 2013--the market for published artistic ephemera is surely a lasting and viable one. Indeed, these days it seems like every exhibition has an accompanying publication--except, surprisingly, this one.

Fittingly, the show, "Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter," which remains on view until February 14, resembles a densely packed document--replete with more than 350 framed items, seventeen vitrines, three reading tables, and several explanatory labels handwritten in pencil. Organized by decade, it features materials culled from the organization's thirty-nine-year-old archive, including administrative paperwork; book catalogues (dating from 1976 to 2003); publishing projects; exhibition and performance documentation; shipping receipts; inventory lists; job descriptions; documents regarding fund-raising drives and book-selection processes; technical notes on the organization's first computerized database in 1985; correspondence with figures as varied as Jesse Helms and John Waters; ads in the SoHo Weekly News and the Village Voice; a wealth of programming notices from the 1990s (which echo Lippard's underacknowledged storefront-windows exhibition program that ran from 1979 to 1989); and, finally, architectural mock-ups for Printed Matter's spacious new storefront and offices, which will open in Chelsea later this year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.