Andrew Roth & Phil Aarons
In Numbers is a survey of serial publications produced by artists from around the world dating from 1955 to the present day. Amid historical groundswells like the rise of the little press in the 1960s, the correspondence art movement of the early 1970s, and the DIY culture of zines in the '80s and early '90s, professional artists seized on the format of magazines and postcards as a site for a new kind of art production. In large part, these are young artists operating at the peripheries of mainstream-art cultures or established artists looking for an alternative to the marketplace. These are not publications that feature news items, criticism, or reproductions of artworks, but are themselves artworks, often collaborative and idiosyncratic. This survey then is the first to define a neglected art form that is neither artists’ book nor ephemera, but is entirely its own unique object.
The survey begins with Wallace Berman’s Semina and continues through Joe Brainard’s C Comics, Eleanor Antin’s 100 Boots, Robert Heinecken’s modified periodicals, the magazine of the Japanese Provoke group, Art-Language, Raymond Pettibon’s Tripping Corpse, Hans-Peter Feldmann’s Ohio, and contemporary examples such as North Drive Press and Continuous Project. Approximately 60 publications are surveyed in total. The diversity of the list is reflected in the backgrounds of the producing artists and in the wide range of techniques, nationalities, and media; the survey does not attempt to be exhaustive, but simply to define the genre’s contours and identify certain thematic threads. In Numbers documents the history of each publication (its inception, production, distribution, and significance) together with a thorough bibliography. In addition, several longer essays and interviews by experts, such as Clive Phillpot, Nancy Princethal, Vince Aletti, William S. Wilson, and Neville Wakefield, will complement the individual entries to provide a historical context and overview.
PPP Editions, 2009
First edition; 2,500 copies, the entire edition.
Folio; black-and-white and color illustrations; illustrated paper covered boards; glassine jacket; cardboard slipcase.