We all know that there are reams of new, independent magazines springing up every week – this won’t be news to any magCulture reader. There is a new trend emerging in the kinds of publications being produced though: we’ve started to notice that curators of exhibitions and galleries are creating magazines instead of art catalogues. They’re using the format of a magazine to extend the conversations generated by artworks and shows into other realms as well.
Take Peer Paper Matters (or simply Peer) from Amsterdam as recent example. It’s produced in the Red Light District by a gallery space called Peer Paper Platform. The gallery itself is in a former brothel, and as well as exhibiting artworks, they also house a bookshop and a café. About 40% of the content of the newly released magazine has been crafted to correspond with the artists featured in the gallery. A paper bird on the cover seems to symbolize this – it’s from a project where the curators hung hundreds of origami shapes from the gallery’s ceiling. The remaining 60% of the articles and images are wider in context though, covering areas that are simply of interest to the curators.
Issue one was inspired by The Chelsea Hotel in New York (above), specifically the idea of big groups living and working together in close proximity and the creative energy that that can inspire. Fractured poetry and rigorous essays sit side-by-side – the combination of differing formats and a juxtaposition of horizontal and vertical text (above) also creating a kind of inspiring, if rudimentary, energy of its own.
Peer – though it has it’s own distinct style and special curatorial approach – isn’t the only physical art space to begin producing a magazine in this way. Aesthetically, German On Display looks a world apart from Peer, as is its provenence, but the concept behind it is strikingly similar.
To accompany a tri-monthly exhibition at Volkswagen’s Autostadt in Wolfsburg, where two design projects will be presented in long glass display cases, the curators are also creating a magazine, On Display. Inside, there’s additional information about the show’s intent as well as in-depth interviews with the designers involved. Onlab’s Nicholas Bourquin is one of minds behind the design and content, which shows in the deft handling of the bilingual texts (below).
A third magazine that’s being produced by art curators and not editors is the yet to be released Oslo Pilot magazine. Oslo Pilot is a two-year arts initiative that will be organizing a series of pilot projects – in the form of events, talks and art commissions – which will lay the groundwork for an Oslo-based art biennale planned for 2017. The curators are producing a magazine in tandem with the project – a platform where they’ll discuss the artworks and ideas that they’re showcasing and exploring.
As galleries are continuing to consider ways in which they can break out of the confines of a physical space, and as they’ve started to think more about how the a show’s ideas can continue to generate discussion even after its ended, the magazine – as something accessible and which continually renews itself – is steadily becoming a favoured medium for gallery publishing ventures.