NFS and Tanam Press: 1970s - 80s

May 17 - June 29, 2013

Printed Matter is pleased to present an exhibition of artists’ books from NFS Press, San Francisco, and Tanam Press, New York. The show is co-organized with artist Peter d'Agostino, who worked closely with both presses in the 1970s and 1980s. Publications will be on be on view May 17 - June 29, with select titles available for purchase. Join us for a reception Thursday, May 16, 6-8 PM

The material represents an important output from two like-minded publishers that aimed to provide writers and artists with a space for non-conventional projects, critical essays and experimental writing. The exhibition includes a selection of books from the two presses, along with archival digital prints of restored and recreated posters, as well as related documents.

San Francisco based NFS Press, co-founded by Lew Thomas and Donna-Lee Philips, published and distributed landmark conceptual photography books through the 1970s and early 1980s. Through a range of critical approaches, the publications looked to understand the implications of the photographic image and how it is has come to shape our relationship with the world. The first book, Photography and Language (1976), was edited by Thomas and includes an essay of the same name by James Hugunin, with photographs by John Baldessari, John Gutmann, Lutz Bacher and Peter d'Agostino’s ALPHA, a photo/text project based on Godard’s film Alphaville. Subsequent publications include Eros and Photography, (co-edited by Philips and Thomas,1977), Gay Semiotics, (Hal Fischer,1977) as well as Photography: the problematic model, (co-edited by Thomas and d’Agostino,1982) featuring work by Barbara Kruger, Fred Lonidier and Cindy Sherman.

The influential Tanam Press was founded in 1980 by Reese Williams with the release of LP recordings featuring talks by Buckminster Fuller and Susan Sontag. Over the course of five years, Tanam published lively individual and collaborative projects from writers, visual and media artists that utilize the page in innovative ways. Playing across genre, the publications incorporate critical essays, poetry, experimental prose, photography, film, video and television. The books include: Hotel (edited by Reese Williams,1980), Of Walking in Ice (Werner Herzog, 1980), Apparatus (edited by Theresa Cha, 1980), Dictee (Cha, 1982), Eating Through Living (Jenny Holzer & Peter Nadin, 1981), The Un/Necessary Image (co-edited by d'Agostino and Muntadas,1982), Transmission (edited by d'Agostino, 1985), Wild History (edited by Richard Prince, 1985), and Fire Over Water (edited by Williams,1986).

The NFS and Tanam Press books, many of which have been available through Printed Matter over the years, include the following artists and authors: Kathy Acker, Dennis Adams, Laurie Anderson, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bertrand Augst, Lutz Bacher, John Baldessari, Judith Barry, Roland Barthes, Jean-Louis Baudry, Deirdre Boyle, John Brumfield, Victor Burgin, Theresa Cha, Robert Cumming, Peter d'Agostino, Constance deJong, Maya Deren, Susan Dowling, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Hal Fischer, Martha Gever, Peter Gidal, Todd Gitlin, Philip Glass, Spalding Gray, John Gutmann, Hans Haacke, John Hanhardt, Robert Heinecken, Werner Herzog, Jenny Holzer, Douglas Huebler, Gary Indiana, Sonja Ivekovic, Douglas Kahn, Barbara Kruger, Thierry Kuntzel, Suzanne Lacy, Stephen Laub, Barbara London, Fred Lonidier, Chip Lord, Jim Melchert, Barbara Mensch, Christian Metz, Richard Misrach, Robert Morgan, Antoni Muntadas, Peter Nadin, Al Nodal, Richard Nonas, Nam June Paik, Catalina Parra, Donna - Lee Phillips, Richard Prince, Alain Robbe-Grillet, David Ross, Sam Samore, Allan Sekula, Cindy Sherman, Berta Sichel, Phil Steinmetz, May Stevens, Kristine Stiles, Marita Sturken, Larry Sultan, Lew Thomas, Mark Thompson, Dziga Vertov, Celia Vicuna, Reese Williams, Joel Peter Witkin, etc.

Peter d'Agostino’s pioneering photography, video and new media projects have been exhibited internationally for over four decades. His work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunsthaus, Zurich; Foundation La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain; Pacific Film Archive, University Art Museum, Berkeley, and is distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix. “State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970”, an Independent Curator International (ICI) traveling exhibition, featuring d’Agostino’s initial Walk Series (1973-74) from his on-going World-Wide-Walks projects is on view at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, June 23 - September 8, 2013.