Issue #30 of GRAPHIC features interviews with ten publishing companies, along with information about their books. These companies are all small-scale, independent, and not especially commercial. The books they publish are also different from the typical art fare. Simply put, they aren’t like the commercial publishers that depend on economies of scale and mass marketing.
Issue #30 of GRAPHIC features interviews with ten publishing companies, along with information about their books. These companies are all small-scale, independent, and not especially commercial. The books they publish are also different from the typical art fare. Simply put, they aren’t like the commercial publishers that depend on economies of scale and mass marketing. Their focus is instead on the kind of publishing that delves into the possibilities the book medium holds in the contemporary context. The ten companies introduced here aren’t necessarily the leaders of their field. But each has its own identity, its own unique way of reflecting the field’s diversity.
With this issue, we see a number of possibilities for discussion. First, there is the overall context of the today’s art publishing market, exemplified in the situations facing those companies in cities around the world. Obviously, their community can’t be equated with the mainstream of art publishing, but they do at least have a pioneering role in art and design practice that cannot be ignored. That’s what allows the transdisciplinary bearings they forge to serve as a benchmark for understanding the contemporary art and design scene. Second, there’s the question of just what new possibilities can be found in the book medium at a time when the media technology environment surrounding it is undergoing profound changes. As we see it, these companies are real-life examples showing new attitudes and patterns of practice in the area of art publishing. In a very clear way, their publication lists point to the direction in which art publishing is going in the e-book age. Finally, there’s the potential for publishing as a model for expanding on legacies from the past. What is the link between these companies’ activities today and the artist-led book production movement of the 1960s? Why do some publishers still view this kind of publishing as a viable model?
According to our sources with art book distributors, the market for art books continues to grow, independently of e-books. These publishers are now crossing borders and finding readers all over the world. It’s difficult to think of any time in history when so much energy could be found among small-scale art publishers. They also have incomparably more influence than ever before. In a climate like today’s, we expect that this issue has some timely information to offer its readers.
Our thanks go out to all the publishers who participated. In particular, we’d like to express our gratitude to the writers who contributed pieces on contemporary art publishing: Charlotte Cheetham of Manystuff (www.manystuff.org) and Jan Wenzel of Spector Books.
Spector Books, Sternberg Press, Roma Publications, Rollo Press, Four Corners Books, Fw:Books, Bom Dia Boa Tarde Boa Noite, Mark Pezinger Verlag, Bedford Press, Torpedo Press, Charlotte Cheetham, Jan Wenzel