It's difficult to put a painting in the mailbox: Toward new models of artists' publishing

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Public Exhibitions

Thursday, Jun 14, 2018 - 7:00 PM - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 - 5:00 PM

Opening Reception | June 14, 7pm

Join us this summer at the Libby Leshgold Gallery for It’s difficult to put a painting in the mailbox, an exhibition devoted to exploring publication as an artistic practice. This exhibition marks the first iteration of a new programming initiative, laying the groundwork for the future development of a Summer School for Artists’ Publishing. The Summer School will expand on READ Books’ mission to create a platform and social space for experimental practices in publication by bringing leading local and international artists and practitioners together to present exhibitions, seminars, and public events.

This summer, READ and Publication Studio Vancouver (PSV) will host a series of events including workshops, launch parties, panel discussions, and talks. Participants include: Danielle St. Amour of Art Metropole; Jacquelyn Ross of Blank Cheque Press; Casey Wei of agonyklub; Emma Metcalfe Hurst and Christian Vistan of SPIT; Jonathan Middleton of Distribution Office; Ryan Smith of Brick Press; Louisa Bailey of Publication Studio London; Kristy Trinier of Publication Studio Edmonton; and Patrick Kiley of Publication Studio Hudson. During this time, PSV will be making books in the gallery while interacting with artists, students, and members of the larger public. We will present a diverse range of artists’ publications drawn from Emily Carr University’s Ian Wallace Collection, the Banff Centre’s Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, and from private collections.

It’s difficult to put a painting in the mailbox is a quotation from John Baldessari’s artist book Ingres and Other Parables (1971). The book is comprised of short stories about the art world and our borrowed exhibition title is the punchline-like moral of “The Best Way to do Art”, a parable about an artist experiencing paintings by Cezanne in person for the first time after only having seen them reproduced in books. Although Baldessari’s sentence is from 1971, it touches on key ideas and issues that artists producing publications—be they digital or paper—continue to consider, work or even grapple with such as audience, circulation, and distribution. Lucy Lippard echoes Baldessari’s maxim in her assertion of primary information, that an artist book is an artwork as such (as opposed to a book about an artwork).

Publication Studio Vancouver has been publishing books and projects by artists and writers they admire since 2010. PSV is part of an international network of Publication Studios made up of studios in cities such as London (UK), Glasgow, Rotterdam, São Paolo, San Francisco, Hudson (NY), Hong Kong, Edmonton, and Guelph (ON). Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense—not just the production of books, but the production of a public.

READ is an ongoing public program of the Libby Leshgold Gallery. It is a social space for the fostering, cultivation, and promotion of publication as an artistic practice and aims to further the discourse around and support the production of contemporary art and design. READ also serves as the bookstore for Emily Carr University and the wider community.

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The Libby Leshgold Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.