Printed Matter, Inc.
Printed Matter, Inc.'s storefront
|Location||231 Eleventh Avenue|
New York, NY 10001
Printed Matter, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit grant-supported bookstore, artist organization, and arts space presently located at 231 11th Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Printed Matter focuses publishing and distributing artists' books.
History and mission
Printed Matter, Inc. was founded by a loose consortium of artists, critics, and publishers—including Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Carol Androcchio, Amy Baker (Sandback), Edit DeAk, Mike Glier, Nancy Linn, Walter Robinson, Ingrid Sischy, Pat Steir, Mimi Wheeler, Robin White and Irena von Zahn—in 1976 as a for-profit art space in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. The original concept arose due to Sol LeWitt's desire for artists to take over the means of production regarding their variously serious, unique, and oddball artist's books (alternatively known as "bookworks" or "book art"). At the time, these artist's books were viewed as inconsequential and used by dealers as free promotional materials, instead of being regarded as art.
In 1976, Printed Matter's inaugural catalog of books included both established and lesser-known artists who are signal artists of their generations, including Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Daniel Buren, Susan Hiller, Adrian Piper, Ad Reinhardt, Martha Rosler, Edward Ruscha, and Lawrence Weiner.
Printed Matter is one of the first organizations dedicated to creating and distributing artists' books, incorporating self-publishing, small press publishing, and artist networks and collectives. Historically there was no lack of publishers of these works, but there was a real need for distributors; Printed Matter functions as both a distribution agency as well as a publisher of artists' books. Printed Matter focused heavily on the distribution of these artists' books because it could simultaneously broaden the reach of art outside museums and allow artists to "control their own production."
The works published by Printed Matter are editioned and are conceived by artists as artworks. However, due to mass-producing they can be sold at affordable princes (currently around $5-$50), as they are meant to spread the accessibility of art.
Printed Matter also serves as a support system for avant-garde artists as well as a place of community, often balancing its role as publisher, exhibition space, retail space, and community center of the downtown arts scene. Many artists rely on Printed Matter's commitment to fostering creative output that is overlooked by commercial art galleries and publishers. Printed Matter also holds on-site courses and workshops for middle school, high school, and college students interested in DIY publishing and distribution.
Corporate status and operations
In 1976 writer and editor Ingrid Sischy was hired as the inaugural director of Printed Matter, Inc by Sol LeWitt and the board of directors. By 1978 she was successful in applying for and being granted 501(c)(3) corporate non-profit status, and Printed Matter Inc officially became a non-profit organization with a focus on artist publications.
Materials on view at Printed Matter are either discovered through a submission process or arrive via a network of artists, distributors, and publishers. Because of the non-traditional approach to curating content, the inventory of Printed Matter is very diverse, representing the long tail concept of offerings. The mail order catalog model of fulfillment is how Printed Matter maintains a global reach to its worldwide customer base, which includes libraries, archives, and museums, as well as academic institutions and individuals. The collected works are organized by artist's name, with special sections organized by genre i.e. zines, audio works, periodicals, or publisher. Each summer the inventory is assessed from top to bottom resulting in a comprehensive backlist and updated archive being ready for perusal in the Fall season.
Printed Matter also curates artists' window installations in the front window that engage the public beyond the prospect of buying and selling books. Printed Matter frequently hosts educational workshops and publishing-related seminars that are open to the public.
Artist AA Bronson served as executive director of Printed Matter from 2004-2010 and during that time created and directed the NY Art Book Fair. Started in 2006, the NY Art Book Fair hosts over 200 independent presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists, and publishers. The Los Angeles Art Book Fair was started in 2013. The NY Art Book Fair and LA Art Book Fair are now both presented by Printed Matter. After Bronson's departure, Phil Aarons, who is on the board of Printed Matter, and Jordan Nassar help to put together the book fairs. From 2010-2017, the late Shannon Michael Cane was instrumental to their success as well.
In collaboration with Artspace, Aspen Art Museum, and Centro University, Printed Matter created permanent Curated Shelves that display and sells artists' books. The Curated Shelf includes artists' books from the 1970s to current day that range a variety of different themes and styles.
- 2014-2015: "Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter." NYU’s 80WSE Gallery, December 2, 2014 - February 14, 2015.
- 1976: 7 Lispenard Street
- 1989: 77 Wooster Street (at Dia Art Foundation)
- 2001: 535 West 22nd Street
- 2005: 195 Tenth Avenue - Here, Printed Matter suffered significant losses due to Hurricane Sandy.
- 2015: 231 11th Avenue - Printed Matter's current space, designed by Handel Architects.
- Kimmelman, Michael (9 April 2007). "Sol LeWitt, Master of Conceptualism, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Horst, Stephanie. "Printed Matter Is the CBGB of Indie Bookstores—Don't Let It Die". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- Ault, Julie (December 2006). "Interview with Lucy R. Lippard on Printed Matter". Printed Matter, Inc. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Gessert, George (1 January 1988). "An Introduction to Artist's Books". Northwest Review. Eugene, Oregon: University of Oregon. 26 (1): 53–69. ISSN 0029-3423. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Phillpot, Clive (Spring 1980). "Artists' Books (Book Review)". Art Journal. New York, NY: College Art Association of America. 39 (3): 213–215. doi:10.1080/00043249.1980.10793581. ISSN 0004-3249. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Krudy, Catherine (Fall 2010). "Printed Matter". Journal of Artists Books (28): 22–23. ISSN 1085-1461. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Smith, Dinitia (29 January 1990). "After Andy: Ingrid Sischy, Queen of the Downtown Art Scene, Takes over at Interview". New York. p. 48. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- "Max Schumann on Printed Matter / New York". Flash Art. 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- "Printed Matter, Inc". e-flux. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Cotterh, Holland (18 November 2006). "A Beehive Filled With Artists' Books and Buzz". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Printed Matter, Inc. Presents The NY Art Book Fair". ArtDaily. 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Cotter, Holland (29 September 2007). "Art Review: NY Art Book Fair - Art Between Covers, on Walls and in Your Hand". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Horst, Stephanie (December 2014). "Printed Matter Is the CBGB of Indie Bookstores—Don't Let It Die". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Printed Matter, Inc. - NY Art Book Fair, September 20–22, 2013". e-flux. 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Klein, Darin (14 January 2015). "Close to Home: Spotlight on Local Artists at Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair 2015 - Edie Fake". Hammer Museum. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Cane, Shannon Michael; Nassar, Jordan (28 January 2015). "Influences: Printed Matter's Art Book Fair is in Good Hands". Juxtapoz. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Digital, Atlas. "Artspace". www.artspace.org.au. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- "Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter Opening at NYU's 80WSE Gallery". Printed Matter, Inc. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- O'Neill-Butler, Lauren (February 2015). "Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter". Artforum. 53 (6): 237–238. ISSN 1086-7058. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Printed Matter and Dia Art Foundation Join Forces at a Space Owned by Dia at 77 Wooster Street, New York". Dia Art Foundation. 5 September 1989. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- Vogel, Carol (2 March 2001). "Inside Art:So Long, SoHo". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- "Printed Matter is Moving! Please Support Our Capital Campaign". Printed Matter, Inc. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
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