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Art and Architecture: Paperwork - Philip Aarons, Christophe Cherix, Alex Kitnick, Leigh Ledare, Andrew Roth - An Art Book Series Event

September 25, 2013

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FREE - Berger Forum doors open at 5:30 p.m. 

Paperwork: A Brief History of Artists’ Scrapbooks (PPP Editions | Andrew Roth 2013) features works by over twenty contemporary artists. This event, moderated by Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art, is a panel discussion about how the ideas for Paperwork were developed, the artists’ scrapbooks that were selected, and the process of making the book itself. The focus is on these key works: Al Hansen’s distinct and varied forms of scrapbooking; William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s collaborations; Isa Genzken’s three-volume scrap-diary, Carolee Schneemann’s collage-photo albums, and Richard Prince’s tear sheets. The panelists are the individuals involved with this project: Philip Aarons, collector of artists’ scrapbooks, Alex Kitnick, art historian and author of Patterns and Scraps, and co-editor of Paperwork, Leigh Ledare, whose scrapbook Ephemera is featured in the book and Andrew Roth, co-editor and publisher. Accompanying this discussion is the screening of an excerpt from Karin Schneider and Louise Ward’s Scraphagia, a four-hour long HD video, featuring the turning of every page from every scrapbook illustrated in Paperwork

William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Untitled (red scrapbook), c 1973.William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Untitled (red scrapbook), c 1973.

Artists began to engage with the scrapbook in earnest in the postwar period, using the page as variously as the canvas, albeit on a smaller scale. As the title suggests, this book explores how contemporary artists have used the scrapbook to forge an intimate artistic identity, in opposition to the bureaucratic, administrative papers that provide official identification. In certain cases, scrapbooks serve as sites for preparatory material, spaces of research and development for future projects. Often filled with clippings from magazines, these scrapbooks attest to the influence of the mass media on artistic practice at this time, as well as a desire to make sense of the mess—to find patterns within it. Another batch of scrapbooks take a different tact, reflecting a different kind of ordering activity, the type that comes after an event. Here we find exhibition announcements and installation photographs pasted down alongside the stuff of dinners, family gatherings, and parties—a true imbrication of art and life. Somewhere between these two poles, some function as discrete artworks in themselves; in these cases, artists have focused on questions of collecting, archiving, and journaling, and have often attempted to mine the pathos and desire that has typically been invested in these vernacular objects. 

Copies of the book are available for purchase and signing at the event after the audience Q&A. Paperwork: A Brief History of Artists’ Scrapbooks, 2013 (Andrew Roth and Alex Kitnick). Large folio, 20 x 15 inches; 156 pages, un-bound; 4-color reproductions, all scrapbooks reproduced to scale; housed in a specially made, vinyl envelope. First edition, 300 copies. Illustrating three to four spreads from each scrapbook, and including two essays: Patterns and Scraps by Alex Kitnick and Glue and Cum by Richard Hawkins, plus fully annotated descriptions of each scrapbook by Claire Lehmann.

William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Untitled (scrapbook 3), 1976-77.William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Untitled (scrapbook 3), 1976-77.

Philip Aarons, rare book and art collector based in New York, has over the last three decades amassed an exhaustive international collection of artist’s books, catalogues, zines and ephemera with a focus on conceptual art and the way in which the movement’s ideas have been dispersed through printed matter. A gregarious culture enthusiast, Mr. Aarons is active in a variety of organizations, he is currently on the following boards: Friends of the High Line (Founding Board Chair), Creative Time (Chair of the Executive Committee), PS1 Contemporary Art Center (Vice Chair), Printed Matter (President), and on the Library Council of the Museum of Modern Art. He also collects contemporary art with his wife, Shelley Fox Aarons  and helps run the real estate company Millennium Partners, he co- founded in 1991.

Isa Genzken. I Love New York, Crazy City, 1995-96.Isa Genzken. I Love New York, Crazy City, 1995-96.Christophe Cherix is The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art. He joined the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books as Curator in July 2007 after serving as Curator of the Cabinet des estampes in Geneva. Cherix’s specialty is modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on printed art of the 1960s and 1970s. At MoMA, he most recently organized Print/Out, an exhibition on contemporary prints, artist books, and ephemera from the early 1990s to the present. In addition, he organized numerous shows at the Museum, including Contemporary Art from the Collection (with Kathy Halbreich; 2010–2011), an installation of the permanent collection from the 1960s to the present, In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960–1976 (2009), Fluxus Preview: Selections from the Gilbert and Lila Fluxus Collection Gift (with Jon Hendricks; 2009–2010) and Projects 88: Lucy McKenzie (2008). His upcoming projects comprise an exhibition, in 2015, of the work of Yoko Ono during the 1960s (with Klaus Biesenbach) and a retrospective, in 2016, of the work of Marcel Broodthaers. He has been instrumental in the Museum’s recent acquisitions of the Daled Collection, the Seth Siegelaub Collection and Archives, and the Art & Project/Depot VBVR collection, which together have transformed the Museum’s collection of Conceptual art. Among his past projects are surveys of Henri Matisse’s prints, Carl Andre’s poetry, and Barry Le Va’s scrapbooks. In 2003, he was the commissioner of the 25th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in Slovenia, where he featured artists’ books as well as a range of printed works that expanded traditional definitions of the medium. His publications include the catalogue raisonnés of prints by Henri Michaux (with Rainer Michael Mason) and Robert Morris.

Alex Kitnick is a writer, curator, and teacher. He received his PhD from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University in 2010 and has taught at Vassar College, Otis College of Art and Design, UCLA, and the School of Visual Arts. From 2011 to 2012 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He has edited numerous books including a collection of John McHale's writings, The Expendable Reader: Articles on Art, Architecture, Design, and Media, 1951–1979, and has contributed to publications including Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, October and May.

Al Hansen. 1. Flux Flak Pak, 1979-82.Al Hansen. 1. Flux Flak Pak, 1979-82.Leigh Ledare is an artist (born in 1976) living and working in New York. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and received his MFA from Columbia University in 2008. His work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including Leigh Ledare, et al. (Charlottenborg Kunsthal, Copenhagen, 2013), and WIELS Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels, 2012; An Invitation (Pilar Corrias, London), Leigh Ledare (The Box, Los Angeles, 2012); Something Might Have Been Better than Nothing...(with Per Billgren) (Reception, Berlin, 2011), You Are Nothing to Me, You Are Like Air (Rivington Arms, NY), and Pretend You’re Actually Alive (Andrew Roth Gallery, New York, all 2008), as well as in group exhibitions, including How Soon is Now? (The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow); Greater New York (P.S.1/MoMA, New York, all, 2010); Ca Me Touche (Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles); Re-Gift (Swiss Institute, New York, all 2009); and Freeway Balconies (Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, 2008). He has taught at California Institute of the Arts, Columbia University, New York University, and the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l’Arte, Italy. His artist’s book Pretend You’re Actually Alive was published by PPP Editions, in collaboration with Andrew Roth, and his 3 volume artist book Double Bind, was published last autumn by Michele Didier, Paris.

Richard Prince. Tear Sheets, c 1979-1997.Richard Prince. Tear Sheets, c 1979-1997.Andrew Roth specializes in selling rare photographic and artist’s books from the 20th century, while also publishing limited edition books himself under his imprint PPP Editions. He maintains a gallery in New York primarily exhibiting the work of photographic artist’s from the 60s and 70s, as well as contemporary art. Over the past 10 years he has presented exhibitions by key Japanese artists Makoto Aida, Nobuyoshi Araki, Ishiuchi Miyako, Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, Tadanori Yokoo, and Keizo Kitajima. Along with exhibitions on the work of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Robert Heinecken, Ed Ruscha, Collier Schorr and David Wojnarowicz. In 1999 he presented PROVOKE, the first exhibition in the US to outline a critical history of rare Japanese photographic books. In 2001 he published THE BOOK OF 101 BOOKS — a primer on the history of the photographic book, which went on to help define the rare photographic book market of today. Recent publications include: IN NUMBERS: SERIAL PUBLICATIONS BY ARTISTS SINCE 1955, William E. Jones’ KILLED, Ishiuchi Miyako’s SWEET HOME YOKOSUKA, Larry Clark’s PUNK PICASSO, Leigh Ledare’s PRETEND YOU’RE ACTUALLY ALIVE and MALE: FROM THE COLLECTION OF VINCE ALETTI.

In its fifth year the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, gallerists, historians and writers.