May 2 – June 22, 2002
Andrew Roth is pleased to announce the opening of “COPY,” a loose survey of the photocopy book.
Curated by Neville Wakefield, “COPY” will present a selection of early photocopy books from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s along with original limited-edition books created by over 25 contemporary artists exclusively for the exhibition.
Photocopy changed the rules of reproduction. It was the first do-it-yourself, one-man, one-woman press. It allowed the artist to take over from the publisher. It cut out the middleman. It removed the work from the stewardship of editorial consensus. It dispensed with the franchised labors of separation and typeset. It put the work before the process, the cart before the cart before the horse. It was the Model T of reprography. It democratized reproduction as Henry Ford’s car democratized mobility. It put the artist in the driving seat. It started work at the touch of a button and could be turned off with equal ease. It didn’t complain and was as indifferent to content as it was specific to form. It put high concept and low production value on the same page. It put head before overhead. It put low concept into high circulation. It could be gutter press for the gutter, intellectual forum for the intellectuals. It was Guttenberg’s dream as well as his nightmare. It was the alpha and omega of reproduction: the fuck me and the fuck you. It was the multiple face of publishing adversity. It was the handmade form in the guise of mechanical reproduction. It didn’t care about copyright or copywrong. It’s equally indifferent to faded auras and enhanced reputations. It didn’t distinguish between Walter Benjamin and Walter Kronkite. Its future obsolescence is proportionate to the parent culture’s desire for greater adjustment. It is a victim of its own technology. It’s an original show based on an unoriginal idea.
Neville Wakefield’s writings have been published in Artforum, Frieze, Parkett, Vogue, and Another Magazine, where he is a contributing editor. He has written texts for the monographs of such artists as Matthew Barney, Vija Celmins, Adam Fuss, and Wolfgang Tillmans. He has curated many exhibitions, including “View One,” a photography survey at the Mary Boone gallery in 1998.