Catalogue September 1979. Inc PRINTED MATTER.

Catalogue September 1979.

Black & white illus. on the inside wrappers and in the text, and map of Printed Matter store on lower cover. 48 pp. Large 8vo, color printed semi-stiff wrappers (bottom wrapper slightly worn), staple bound. [New York: Printed Matter, 1979].

An early and rare Printed Matter catalogue describing almost 2000 titles. Much of the catalogue is devoted to artists’ books along with sections for Printed Matter publications, magazines, and audioworks.

From the preface, likely composed by the then director Nancy Linn: “Printed Matter, Inc. opened its doors in 1976 as an Artists’ Book publishing company and distribution house. The first organization devoted solely to the Artists’ Book at every stage was established. Our first catalogue in December 1976, included 450 titles. Our next, in October 1977, offered nearly 1,000. At the end of eighteen months, we had published nine books, and three others were in publication. It was then time to take stock of our original intentions…

“The need for Artists’ Book publishers was undeniable. The major obstacle that faced the medium, however, was that of distribution; due to Artists’ Books’ eccentricities, finding a solution to this problem was particularly perplexing. Early in 1978 Printed Matter, Inc. shifted its focus and faced this dilemma head on. Our primary goal has become establishing channels that will make Artists’ Books available to the widest audience imaginable. Major collections have been started by individuals, museums, libraries, and universities. Bookstores and other retail outlets, both here and abroad, have begun to make commitments to these works. We are, however, just on the threshold of realizing our objective…

“We have gone through periods of high energy and times of quiet reappraisal. These shifts have often paralleled actual changes or expansions in the medium itself. As an aesthetic form, the Artists’ Book exists for the most part outside the economic structures and critical prerogatives of museums and galleries. Ideas that have suffered from underexposure in these contexts are often explored and elaborated upon in book form. The Artist’s Book is therefore not only a vehicle for the full-blown idea but one that captures the sparks of change. It is Printed Matter, Inc.’s resolve to respond to the medium’s growth and nurture its boundless potential…”

This catalogue features the works of Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Andre, Baldessari, Stanley Brouwn, Ulises Carrión, Hanne Darboven, Helen Douglas, Johanna Drucker, Marco Gastini, Conrad Gleber, Guerilla Art Action Group, Dick Higgins, Robert Jacks, LeWitt, Lippard, Richard Long, Joan Lyons, George Maciunas, Alan Moore, Nannucci, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ruscha, Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Mieko Shiomi, Keith A. Smith, Richard Tuttle, Martha Wilson, etc.

A section highlights the publications which have been particularly popular and warns, “…[w]e cannot guarantee that we will be able to offer these titles for much longer. As far as we know, these on hand are the last volumes we will stock… Even though some of them are extremely rare, we have not changed our prices. It is our contention that Artists’ Books must remain accessible to the largest possible audience. Listed here are books by Carrión, Jacks, LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, and Michele Zaza.

The illustrations in this catalogue show the interior and exterior of the shop on Lispenard Street, and a number of the artists’ publications in stock. The lower wrapper is a map of the neighborhood around the store. The wrappers were designed by the artist Peter Downsbrough.

A near fine copy, with the original order form stapled in as issued. Pen annotation on the lower wrapper map: “Jaap Rietman (on a corner first floor).”

❧ Umbrella magazine, Vol. 2, No. 6 (1979).

Price: $550.00

Item ID: 7337