What are Artists’ Publications?

In the second half of the 20th century, artists left the art-immanent space and created published artworks based on mass-media techniques. These exploded the traditional art system and the classification system of museums. They were only rudimentarily recorded by graphic collections in the 1950s and 1960s and rarely noticed by museums in general. Their roots can be found in the avant-garde of the 1920s, such as Futurism or Dadaism. Artists’ publications include all expressions by artists that potentially intend to be multiplied and are published by the artist himself, i.e., self-published, or by a publisher according to a machine or manual multiplying production process.The term artists’ publications is used as an umbrella term for all forms of published artworks. It includes all those works by artists that have been reproduced, published, or publicized. Artists’ publications are thus also manifestations of information and communication. For the artist, for example, the book or the record becomes the medium of his artistic work. Accordingly, artists’ publications are composed of more than 20 different genres and subgenres:

  • Artists’ books
  • multiples, book objects
  • artists’ newspapers and magazines
  • Ephemera such as posters and invitation cards designed by artists
  • Photo editions
  • postcards, stamps, stickers
  • graphic works, xerox copies, stamp works
  • Sound art on records
  • cassettes and audio CDs, radio art
  • Multimedia editions on CD-ROM and DVD
  • Artist videos and films
  • Net art, computer art

These are works of art that have the same status and artistic value for the artists as a painting or an installation. The low price of these works was at the same time program, because everyone interested should have the possibility to acquire a work of art. The price was not intended to be a barrier, but rather an encouragement to acquire an “art collection in miniature”. Works can be found worldwide in all artistic movements since the 1950s, from the Fluxus movement, Mail Art, Pop Art, Visual and Concrete Poetry, Land Art to the computer art of the 21st century.

More coming soon