New York

View of “Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter,” 2014–15.

“Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter”

80WSE Gallery, NYU Steinhardt School

View of “Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter,” 2014–15.

“We had this dream that artists’ books would be in drugstores and airports,” said Lucy R. Lippard a few years ago when I asked her about the early days of Printed Matter, Inc. A founder of the venerable institution in 1976—along with Carl Andre, Edit deAk, Sol LeWitt, Walter Robinson, Pat Steir, Mimi Wheeler, Robin White, and Irena von Zahn—Lippard noted that she hadn’t anticipated back then how these “scribbled little things, misspelled texts, Xeroxes, and so forth” would go on to find their markets. But every format eventually does. If the crowds at the Printed Matter NY Art Book Fair were any indication—the event attracted some 34,000 visitors this past year, and opened its equally successful Los Angeles edition in 2013—the market for published artistic ephemera is surely a lasting and viable one. Indeed, these days it seems like every exhibition has an

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