Saturday, October 26, 2013

Printed Matter, the artist's book pilgrimage site (Artist's Book Series VIII)

Printed Matter is THE artist's book store. With both a physical location and an online ordering option, this is the place for an artist to place their book and for the collector to find thousands of books in one place. Printed Matter describes itself as follows:

"Printed Matter is the world''s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of publications made by artists. Founded as a for-profit alternative arts space in 1976 by artists and artworkers, Printed Matter reincorporated in 1978 to become the independent non-profit organization that it is today. Originally situated in Tribeca, Printed Matter moved to SoHo in 1989 where for twelve years the book displays and artists’ projects in the large storefront windows contributed to the artistic and intellectual vibrancy of the neighborhood. In 2001 Printed Matter relocated to Chelsea, where it continued to foreground the book as an alternative venue - or artistic medium - for artists’ projects and ideas. Finally, in December of 2005 Printed Matter moved into our current storefront location in Chelsea with big windows and greatly increased display and exhibition space. Recognized for years as an essential voice in the increasingly diversified art world conversations and debates, Printed Matter is dedicated to the examination and interrogation of the changing role of artists’ publications in the landscape of contemporary art." (Website)

The founders of Printed Matter is a who's who of contemporary (meaning late 20th century) artists:
  • Carl Andre
  • Edit DeAk
  • Sol LeWitt
  • Lucy Lippard
  • Walter Robinson
  • Pat Steir
  • Mimi Wheeler
  • Robin White
  • Irena von Zahn
Particularly useful is the Online Catalog. Here you can search the thousands of books available, as well as many that are no longer in stock (the online catalog replaced the printed catalog). There is also a Research Room online that helps you to learn more about artist's books.

2013.10.12-IMG_6110The current address is 195 Tenth Avenue New York, NY 10011 in the Chelsea district of New York. I paid my first visit to the store (19 March 1992) when it had just recently moved to a spot in the Dia Foundation's building at 77 Wooster Street in "the heart of SoHo" (as the Spring Catalogue, 1990 states). Earlier, however, I had taken advantage of their mail order and purchased books that way, but it wasn't the same same as buying in person.


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