Whatever Isn’t Anything Else
Take a look at contemporary artists’ publishing through the work of Adam Pendleton, Kandis Williams, and Nora Turato.
Feb 11, 2022
Writer, critic, and curator Lucy Lippard wrote in 1985 that, “Like performance art, artists’ books are best defined as whatever isn’t anything else. They aren’t quite photobooks, comic books, coffee-table books, fiction, illustration.” In the decades since Lippard’s pronouncement, the artist’s book has endured largely due to this indeterminate position. For many artists, independent publishing occupies an intermediary space between the more thoroughly defined areas of their practice. In the work of Adam Pendleton, Nora Turato, and Kandis Williams, that imprecision is precisely the point. For them, publishing represents not only a means to an artistic end but a guiding logic for how their work complicates received understanding of language, learning, and historical fact. Their new and forthcoming projects reveal how publishing continues to afford artists the opportunity to circumvent the traditional terms used to evaluate and perceive contemporary art.
Recent presentations of artist publishing by Adam Pendleton, Nora Turato, and Kandis Williams continue MoMA’s long legacy of collecting historical print materials. This legacy includes displays of Eastern European artists’ magazines and publications by UNI/vers(;), Endre Tót, and Nedko Solakov, on view in Gallery 208: After the Wall, as well as Latin American mail art by Ulises Carrión and Eugenio Dittborn, on view in Gallery 205: Print, Fold, Send.
Long after the alleged death of print, contemporary artists continue to employ independent publishing as a means of extending their practice into new realms. Artist publishing remains a vital tool for usurping the didactic function of the book, challenging the supposed fixity of language, and recirculating and inscribing the supposedly ephemeral forms of performance and live action.
An Introduction to Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?
Read an exclusive excerpt from the exhibition catalogue, about the artist’s project to unfix history.
Sep 21, 2021
Nora Turato’s pool 4
The artist uses found language to speak loudly, publicly, and boldly, and shares downloadable posters.
Nora Turato , Ana Janevski
Jul 1, 2020