On view Saturday, July 16 – Saturday, August 20.
Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) presents a summer exhibition of recent chapbooks, novels, newspapers, and zines by artists, from the inventories of eight small publishers in North America and Europe. Broken Scissors, A Ghost, and Some More Old News is evidence of WPA’s renewed interest in artist publishing. It is also a show that intentionally challenges the conventions of artist book display.
WPA has a significant history with this subject. From 1981 to 1995, it ran a now-legendary bookstore called Bookworks, at 7th Street and D Street NW. While it has been two decades since Bookworks closed, this fall WPA will begin to publish a mini-magazine and will again carry a selection of artist publications for purchase.
Broken Scissors, A Ghost, and Some More Old News include selections from Badlands Unlimited (New York), Fivehundred Places (Berlin), Innen (Geneva), Nieves (Zürich), Paraguay Press (Paris), Pork Salad Press (Copenhagen), Public Collectors (Chicago), and Ultra-Red (Los Angeles and elsewhere). The artists whose works will be present include: Dokidoki Club, Fischli & Weiss, Camille Henrot, James Hoff, Will Holder, Liz Magic Lazer, and others. These selected publications reverberate with the history of artist-publishing, from the small press scene of the 1960s and 70s (Something Else Press and concrete poetry), through the visually assaultive punk and photo-zines that followed. Taken together, they are modest in scale, inexpensively produced, and can be easily circulated.
The display encourages absorption over browsing, solitary engagement over sociability. Unlike in other artist-book shows, the selections are not curated in piles on tables or on bookshelves. Instead, they are placed in minimalist, open-faced, reading rooms—each of which is devoted to a single publisher and able to handle no more than one or two people at a time. Visitors are encouraged to spend a prolonged period of time in each room, temporarily immersing themselves in the handful of titles from each publisher. When a visitor steps into a reading room and takes a seat, she is framed and on view—as a reader, as an actor, as an image—to other visitors.
- Monday-Saturday: 12pm to 6pm
Washington Project for the Arts is located at 2124 8th St. NW. For more information, visit www.wpadc.org/exhibitions.