Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter
80WSE Gallery, 80 Washington Square East, New York, NY,
December 2 – February 14, 2015
The gallery is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30am – 6:00pm.
The Gallery will be closed for winter break December 20th – January 5th.
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 newest exhibition and publishing project at NYU’s 80WSE gallery, launching December 2. A public opening will take place on Friday, December 12th, 6-8PM.
A carefully selected amalgamation of books, records, exhibition documentation and flyers, Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter 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.
“The field of artists’ books traces the historical trajectory of contemporary art, and many pioneering conceptual artists produced books and publications in order to both reach wider audiences and to circumvent the market and the institutions that much of the work implicitly critiqued,” said Max Schumann, the Acting Executive Director and veteran of Printed Matter. “As one of the pioneering organizations in the field of artists’ books, Printed Matter has stood at the junction of the book as art-form, art-vehicle, art-concept and art-process throughout its 39 year history. The goal of this exhibition is to provide a space for the examination and celebration of this critical cultural activity.”
Printed Matter was founded in 1976 by Sol Lewitt and Lucy Lippard among others, and capitalized on the growing interest in publications made by leading contemporary artists, such as Vito Acconci, Kathy Acker, John Baldessari, Hanne Darboven, Alison Knowles, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Edward Ruscha, and Lawrence Weiner. Through decades of its own records and files, Learn to Read Art provides a visual account of the history of the store’s collaboration with artists as well as the contemporary art scene in which it engaged.
Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter will be organized along a timeline of documents, ephemera, editions and publications, which will be presented alongside a chronologically arranged reading library of artists’ books from the corresponding decades, allowing for a hands-on, between-the-covers interaction with exhibition. (more…)