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PRINT March 2009

books

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THE 1960S SAW an explosion of artists’ books and magazines, to say nothing of artist-produced and countercultural records, manifestos, and ephemera of all types—items that were handed out at demonstrations or exhibitions or bought cheaply through the mail. But today, all too often, viewing conditions hopelessly festishize and “museumize” such projects: Art that was once as accessible as a stack of pamphlets now sits awkwardly behind glass in a vitrine or is consulted in hushed rooms by researchers wearing white gloves. As I stand in galleries trying to read such documents, I often wonder why somebody doesn’t just put all this stuff on the Web. Most institutions and archives, for various reasons—copyright law, conservation concerns, and simply their own curious protocols—seem to be tremendously technology-averse.

Over the past three years, however, some of these publications have emerged

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