Collected since 1976, our archive stands as an important record of the development and trajectory of contemporary artists’ books as they intersect with Printed Matter’s institutional history. The Archive is comprised of printed material created over the course of the non profit’s early programming history through to the present, including announcement cards, flyers, press releases, posters, and other ephemera related to artist installations, book launches, publications, editions and various events. The material features images of the long-running window installation series organized by Lucy Lippard documenting early-career exhibitions by Jenny Holzer, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Barbara Kruger and Richard Prince, and many others. Also included are early correspondences between administrators, artists and publishers in which founding members are seen formulating the mission, strategy and practice of the organization to broaden the appeal and impact of artists’ publications as a legitimate artistic medium.
In 2012 Printed Matter’s Archive was badly damaged during basement flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy. The recovered material then underwent an emergency restoration and conservation effort.
The rescued archival material has now largely been assembled into our traveling exhibition, Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter, which includes a broad selection of print material detailing Printed Matter’s programming activities, early administration and management, and services carried out in collaboration with artists. The show is comprised of hundreds of pieces of documents, flyers, publications and artists’ editions, and ephemera, which reach from the organization’s founding in 1976 to the present day.
If you are interested in presenting Learn to Read Art at your institution, please email Keith@printedmatter.org for more information.