The tenth annual Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference presents two full days of lively debate on emerging practices and issues within art-book culture. In response to the current political scene, the theme of this anniversary conference is activism.Planned session topics include guerrilla collecting, photobooks amidst political change, samizdat artists’ books past and present, community-based publishing, and criticism of a timely canonical work.
Admission is free for all sessions, but space is limited. General admission is first-come-first-seated. Sessions are held in the lower level auditorium. The Conference is organized by the CABC Committee, a national group of art library professionals.
WE, BOOKS, oppose censorship, expurgation, bowdlerization, sanitization, and selective quotation.
WE insist that everyone should have access to us.
Illiteracy is our enemy.
Nobody should know who reads us.
Our guardians should be professional, socially- responsible promoters of democracy, information literacy, and the values of a free and open society.
The record of human achievements we represent should be preserved for all time.
Internationalism – Science – Free Press– Authenticity – Migration – Sharing – GitHub – Recycling – FOIA – Human Rights – Zines– Appropriation – Refugees – Public good – Privacy – Preservation – Informed citizenry – Resistance– Creative Commons – Respect – Streaming – Libraries – Transparency – Diversity – Conservation – Open access – Intellectual freedom
Hate crimes – Nationalism – Censorship – War – Protectionism – Ignorance – Big Brother – Alternative facts – Demagoguery – Pay walls – Walls – War – Pollution – Racism – Lethal force – Science denial – Stereotyping – Cruelty – Disinformation – Planned obsolescence – Gerrymandering – Fascism – Bullying – Inequality
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference
22–23 September 2017
Stephen Bury, Frick Art Reference Library
Matthew Carson, International Center for Photography Library
Deirdre Donohue, New York Public Library
Milan Hughston, Museum of Modern Art Library
Deirdre Lawrence, Brooklyn Museum Library
Lindsey Reynolds, Birmingham Museum of Art
Sara Rubinow, New York Public Library
David Senior, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Library
Susan E. Thomas, Long Island University Brooklyn Library
Jennifer Tobias, Museum of Modern Art Library
Tony White, Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
For more information, call (212) 925-0325.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22
Photobooks: Protest and Resistance
Mass media has often diluted the stance of the documentary photographer, simplifying his or her perspective to conform to a larger corporate perspective. The photobook has long been a way to assert a more independent, autonomous vision, and is now experiencing the greatest renaissance in the history of the form. What can the photobook do today to impact the societal conversation? What has it been able to do in the past that might be useful now? Looking at photobooks including Robert Capa’s Death in the Making, Abigail Heyman’s Growing Up Female, David Douglas Duncan’s I ProtestI, and Jan Hoek’s New Ways of Photographing the New Masai, Fred Ritchin will examine the history of the photobook as a means of resistance and protest. Jean Crones of Research and Destroy (a radical zine collective based in New York) focuses on the abuse of power in authority. Debi Cornwall, a conceptual documentary artist and civil rights lawyer, speaks about her work Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay, a vivid and disorienting glimpse into the U.S. Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (known as “Gitmo”), and its growing diaspora, through photographs, once-classified archival material, and first-person texts. Organized by Matthew Carson.
At a time when truth is considered subversive, diversity dangerous, and social responsibility irrelevant, collecting and providing access to marginalized voices is imperative for documenting historical narratives. Karen Gisonny, who curated the periodicals collection at the New York Public Library for more than 30 years, shares her experiences with selecting, acquiring, and promoting small & alternative press materials, zines, and ephemeral publications. Kameelah Janan Rasheed will discuss her “archival impulses” and concepts concerning Black interiority and the permutations of Black life through her collection of over 4,000 vernacular photographs of Black Americans collected from flea markets, estate sales, eBay, and antique stores. A moderated discussion and audience Q&A will follow the presentations. Organized and moderated by Sara Rubinow.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23
Art historian and curator Akili Tommasino discusses the history and legacy of the journalistic organ of the Black Panther Party and shares the intriguing provenance of a collection of The Black Panther newspapers and ephemera; L.A.-based artist Awol Erizku puts the Black Panther logo in historical context and discusses its incorporation into his work. Organized by Jennifer Tobias and Akili Tommasino.
This panel will feature artist-publishers who use organizing and community-building as part of their practice. We’ll examine the ways that they engage with broader communities and groups, as a form of political activism. We encourage audience participation to compare experiences and strategies. Speakers include Devin Morris of 3 Dot Zine, Kimi Hanauer of Press Press, and Barbara Calderón of Colectiva Cósmica. Moderated by James Mitchell.
Furthering the Critical Dialogue
This session, in its tenth year, continues with a key theme from all previous conferences: the state of artists’ books criticism. Exemplifying diverse approaches to criticism, speakers will discuss two books by Tauba Auerbach: There have been and will be many San Francisco’s, and Marble, or Wood. Panelists will not discuss the ‘state of artists’ books criticism,’ per se, but instead will focus on engaging in a critical evaluation and discussion of books by this book artist. Panelists: Corina Reynolds, Director and co-founder of Small Editions; Sarah Hamerman, working at the Whitney Museum Library and the Museum of Modern Art Library; and Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literature in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University. Session chair and moderator: Tony White, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Barbara Calderón is an artist, arts organizer, and writer based in Brooklyn. She is a founding member of Colectiva Cósmica, an arts collective that hosts art shows, creates zines, and facilitates workshops with youth organizations around New York City and elsewhere. With a critical lens guided by a background in journalism, Xicana studies, and art history, she writes about cultural movements. She has been published in outlets like Remezcla, VICE, and Bitch Magazine.
Matthew Carson is the Head Librarian & Archivist at the International Center of Photography in New York. He is a co-founder of the 10×10 photobook organization. In 2013 he was a curator of the book component of the ICP Triennial: A Different Kind of Order. In 2015 he was one of the organizers of Shashin, a Japanese photography symposium and festival held in New York. He is a photography enthusiast, writer and bibliomaniac. The latest 10×10 publication is CLAP! – Contemporary Latin American Photobooks and the latest project is Awake! A library of protest and resistance.
Jean Crones of Research and Destroy is part of a radical collective that makes zines about cats and cops.
Debi Cornwall is a conceptual documentary artist who returned to visual expression in 2014 after a 12-year career as a civil rights lawyer. She is a graduate of Brown University (Modern Culture & Media 1995) and Harvard Law School (2000). Informed by her experience representing innocent DNA exonerees, her visual work interrogates American power, marrying empathy and dark humor with systemic critique. In 2016, Cornwall was nominated for the Baum Award for an Emerging American Photographer, won the Punctum Award at the Lianzhou (China) Foto Festival, and awarded the Duke University Collection Award for Women Documentarians. Her project on Guantánamo Bay has been shown in Switzerland, China and Korea, and will open at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery on October 26, 2017. Her book, Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay, was nominated for the 2017 les Rencontres d’Arles Photo-Text Book Award.
Awol Erizku is a conceptual artist (b. 1988, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) received his B.A. from Cooper Union in 2010, his M.F.A from Yale in 2014 and has exhibited recently at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The Only Way is Up at Hasted Kraeutler, New York; and has lectured in conjunction with Carrie Mae Weems at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Menace II Society at Night Gallery , Los Angeles, Purple Reign at Stems Gallery, Brussels, Make America Great Again at Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, New Flower | Images of the reclining Venus at The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, and Bad II the Bone presented at Duchamp Detox Clinic by Night Gallery. Erizku lives and works in Los Angeles.
Karen Gisonny is a career librarian who recently retired after more than 30 years as a collector and curator at The New York Public Library (NYPL), where she focused on small and independent presses. Based in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room for much of her time at NYPL, Karen developed an especially rich and distinctive collection of small and alternative presses, independent literary magazines, chapbooks, and zines, which she promoted through creative programming, partnerships, and curated exhibitions. With the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, Karen launched the long-standing program series, “Periodically Speaking,” which highlights the work of small magazine publishers and writers. Curated exhibitions include, “New American Literary Magazines,” “The Little Magazine in America,” and the acclaimed “Protests in Print.” Most recently, Karen coordinated NYPL’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, which honors working journalists, and champions the role of investigative reporting in a free and democratic society.
Sarah Hamerman is an art librarian, writer and arts organizer based in Brooklyn N.Y. She currently works at the Whitney Museum Library as Assistant Librarian, and the Museum of Modern Art Library as a Project Cataloger. Her work as a librarian is focused on cataloging artists’ books and special collections materials. Sarah’s research focuses on contemporary artists’ publishing and digital culture, and her writing has appeared in Art Libraries Journal, Are.na and other publications. She organized and moderated a panel on artist-run reading spaces at the 2017 BABZ art book fair in Queens, N.Y. Sarah holds MSLIS and MS Art History degrees from Pratt Institute.
Devin N. Morris (b. 1986) is a Brooklyn based multi media artist and editor of the great collaborative effort 3 Dot Zine, an annual publication that celebrates the futurity of minorities, in addition to serving as a forum for invited artists to center and elaborate on marginalized concerns. He recently hosted the first Brown Paper Zine & Small Press Fair for Black & PoC Artists at MoCADA Museum in Brooklyn, NY and in collaboration with KAHLON The Agency, hosted the second iteration in Baltimore, MD.
Karla Nielsen currently works as the Curator of Literature in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University, for whom she collects rare books and artist books, and the archives of poets, writers, editors, and publishers. For the Columbia RBML she has curated three exhibitions: a profile of iconoclast publisher Samuel Roth, a bicentennial celebration of the company that is now HarperCollins, and “The Book Undone: Thirty Years of Granary Books” on the occasion of the library’s acquisition of the archive of Granary Books. A medieval Iberianist by training, she has a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Science in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is affiliate faculty in the Columbia Department of English and Comparative Literature, where she teaches seminars on book history and literary interpretation. Before graduate school she worked in university and small press publishing.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, and former high school public school teacher from East Palo Alto, CA. She is on the faculty of the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts and also works full-time as a social studies curriculum developer for New York public schools. She has exhibited her work at the 2017 Venice Biennale, ICA-Philadelphia (forthcoming), Printed Matter (forthcoming), Jack Shainman Gallery, Studio Museum in Harlem, Bronx Museum, Queens Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Project Row Houses, the Luminary, Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others. Recently shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, she is the recipient of several other awards and honors including the Harpo Foundation Grant, Magnum Foundation Grant, Creative Exchange Lab at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art Residency, Triple Canopy Commission at New York Public Library Labs, Artadia Grant, Art Matters Grant, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, among others. She has participated in readings and performances at Housing Works, Cave Canem, Red Bull Arts New York, among others.
Corina Reynolds is Director and co-founder of Small Editions, an artist book studio that publishes and supports the creation of new contemporary artists books. Through exhibitions, public events, publications, and traveling tours, Small Editions opens a space for new conversations about artists books today. Reynolds has led classes in independent book publishing, zine making and bookbinding, has curated exhibitions and talks on contemporary artist books and serves on the Board of Directors at The Center for Book Arts, New York. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from San Diego State University.
Fred Ritchin is Dean Emeritus of the School at the International Center of Photography. He was previously Professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for twenty-three years, where he also co-founded the Photography and Human Rights Program. He is the author of many books, including After Photography (2008) and Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (2013). Most recently he co-authored Magnum Photobook: The Catalogue Raisonné (2017). He has also curated the exhibition “Bending the Frame,” containing works by artists and documentarians using alternative image strategies for social change (Chris Jordan, Celia Shapiro, Jennifer Karady, Debi Cornwall, Sumeja Tulic, Gideon Mendel, etc.), which is currently on view at NYU’s Gulf and Western Gallery at 721 Broadway in the Tisch School of the Arts, and which will also be opening in October at the Preus Museum in Norway. Ritchin has also been picture editor of the New York Times Magazine, and director of PixelPress. He continues to teach both at ICP and at the Photography and Social Justice Program sponsored by the Magnum Foundation.
Akili Tommasino is a curatorial assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. An advocate of emerging artists and scholar of the twentieth-century avant-garde, Tommasino has organized and collaborated on numerous exhibition projects at institutions internationally, including the Centre Pompidou – Musée national d’art moderne, Paris and National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; he is the curator of 2017 MoMA exhibition Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps. Tommasino is completing a PhD in History of Art and Architecture through Harvard University, where he earned his MA and BA. His dissertation, which has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, examines the machine aesthetic of French artist Fernand Léger (1881-1955). A Brooklyn native and current resident, Tommasino is chairman and co-founder of an arts initiative which, under the aegis of New York City-based gifted education program Prep for Prep, creates opportunities for young people from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Tony White currently works as the Florence and Herbert Irving Associate Chief Librarian, Thomas J. Watson, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He served for six years as Field Editor for Artist’s Books and Books for Artists with the College Art Associations online reviews journal. Tony has written articles for Art Documentation Journal, Blue Notebook, Book 2.0, SetUp4.de, and authored book chapters, all on artists’ books and related publications. He has curated exhibitions at Yale University’s Sterling Library and Arts of the Book Collection, the Museum of Printing History, Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts, and the Center of Book Arts, among others, and he is on the board at the Center for Book Arts. Tony received his MLS from Indiana University Bloomington, and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.