[From upper wrapper]: Catalogue No. 2: Publications, Recordings & Video by Artists. bookseller ART METROPOLE.
[From upper wrapper]: Catalogue No. 2: Publications, Recordings & Video by Artists.

Art Metropole’s Second Catalogue, Inscribed by AA Bronson to an Early & Vital Supporter

[From upper wrapper]: Catalogue No. 2: Publications, Recordings & Video by Artists.

15 black & white illus. [46] pp. (incl. inside of wrappers). Small 8vo (197 x 128 mm.), orig. printed wrappers (spine a little sunned), staple-bound. Toronto: Spring 1975.

An extremely rare and significant catalogue issued by Art Metropole, the first large-scale distributors of artists’ publications, records, and video works in North America. The collective General Idea (AA Bronson, Felix Partz & Jorge Zontal) founded the space in 1974. Bronson inscribed and mailed this catalogue to David P. Silcox, the first Senior Arts Officer of the Canada Council for the Arts, who was instrumental in Art Metropole’s securing of grants from the council.

“If we examine the years in which artist-run spaces were founded, it becomes evident that the heyday of the founding euphoria was the 1970s…Although Ecart came into being in 1969 and MOCA in 1970, the majority of the artist-run spaces were set up some years later: Western Front in 1973, Art Metropole and Zona in 1974, La Mamelle [and Other Books and So] in 1975, Franklin Furnace and Printed Matter in 1976, and Artpool in 1979…Identified as alternative art spaces, nonprofit art organizations, artist-oriented spaces, or artist-run spaces, these places define an area of shared experiences of experimenting with a concept of art that had no boundaries, and they linked art forms and the operating model of collective self-organization into a single venture. The bookshops and publishing activities integrated into the collectives emphasize a central aspect of collective activities: acting and communicating autonomously, and independently of the commercial art business, far beyond geographical boundaries.”–G. Detterer & M. Nannucci, eds., Artist-Run Spaces (2012), pp. 23-25.

Art Metropole’s first catalogue (1974), comprising only 12 pages, presented exclusively Canadian artists. Catalogue 2, here offered, considerably broadened the store’s scope with foreign publications and works. “Catalogue No. 2 …[had] 80 books listed, 11 catalogues, 14 periodicals, and five recordings…That first year of operation had coincided with the first public flourishing of video, with numerous festivals and museum exhibitions, and as a result of so much activity it was decided that someone had to be hired to work specifically on expanding the video section.”–Detterer & Nannucci, p. 61.

This catalogue offers a choice selection of artists’ books that are now highly sought after and scarce. We note works by Baldessari, Beuys, Burden, Buren, Cage, Filliou, Hendricks, Higgins, Ray Johnson, Knowles, LeWitt, Ruppersberg, Spoerri, Weiner, etc. The Catalogues section includes the famous publications of Seth Siegelaub, priced between two and three dollars.

Art Metropole’s earliest catalogues are extremely rare; this copy of no. 2 is in near fine condition and contains a compelling red ink inscription to one of the figures responsible for garnering state support for the fledgling space’s operating expenses.

❧ See “Art Metropole’s Publications and Events History with Related Ephemera, January 1971 – April 2006,” on the National Gallery of Canada website.

Price: $1,500.00

Item ID: 7479