From the Margins: The Making of Art-Rite

April 21 - June 21, 2023

Printed Matter, Inc. is pleased to present From the Margins: The Making of Art-Rite, an exhibition coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the legendary underground arts magazine. Drawn from the archives of editor Edit DeAk, the show traces the early history of Art-Rite through an array of original production materials, much on display here for the first time. The exhibition will be on view at Printed Matter from April 21–June 21, 2023.

Explore the extended exhibition page to learn more and see materials on view.

About the exhibition
Founded in 1973 by Edit DeAk, Walter Robinson and Joshua Cohn, Art-Rite brought a homespun aesthetic to a new generation of arts writing. Across nineteen issues the editors created a space for criticism that was heady and smart, offbeat and irreverent, publishing an energetic mix of artist interviews, statements, exhibition reviews, “loft reviews”, and photo editorials that transcended the interests of typical art journals. As a project, Art-Rite felt collectively summoned and populist, privileging the work and perspectives of artists themselves, and bringing an insider’s view to an emergent downtown arts culture of the mid-70s.

The result was a staple-bound, disposable newsprint arts journal with gravitas that stood in contrast to the glossier and more staid magazines of the era like Artforum, marrying a fanzine ethos and proto-punk aesthetic. Art-Rite’s five-year run was marked by ambitious thematic issues (on Painting, Video, Performance, and Artists’ Books) and single-artist focus issues, charting the richness of de-materialized and alternative art practices, including publications themselves, that emerged out of conceptualism and post-minimalism.

From the Margins presents an extensive first-hand account into the making of Art-Rite, tracing the collaborative ethos and editorial decision-making of the magazine’s early years through various production materials, documentary photographs, ephemera, and original artwork. Anchored by surviving paste-ups (page layouts cut and assembled onto mounting boards), the archive provides a chance to consider early drafts, unrealized directions, and marked-up covers, giving insight into the pre-digital, photo offset process of the time. Through this lens on production, the exhibition considers the cultural moment in which the magazine formed amidst a burgeoning Soho arts scene, as well as the meaning it held for young artists—many of whom identified as “outsiders” to the then-mainstream art world—who found new community in Art-Rite and a space to try out their ideas.

Select issues of Art-Rite are available for purchase here.

This exhibition follows the 2019 release of an Art-Rite facsimile edition, published by Primary Information and Printed Matter, which reproduced all twenty issues of the magazine in a single bound volume. 678 pages, black & white and color, 8.5 x 10.75 in. Available for purchase and wholesale here.

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