Blogs The Gradient Andrea Hyde

The Walker Magazine: 80s Issue

Here’s a project from the archives that we never got around to posting, but seeing as how we are in the process of redesigning our magazine, it seemed like a good time to exhume this. The July/August 2012 issue of Walker featured a fashion editorial shot on the occasion of the exhibition, This Will Have […]

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Here’s a project from the archives that we never got around to posting, but seeing as how we are in the process of redesigning our magazine, it seemed like a good time to exhume this. The July/August 2012 issue of Walker featured a fashion editorial shot on the occasion of the exhibition, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, known colloquially as “The 80s Show.” We took the typical content of our magazine (shop spread, Target Free Thursday Night event listings, restaurant blurb) and framed it with a custom style.

The spreads were modeled by Claudette Gacutti, shot by photographer Cameron Wittig, with wardrobe from Cliché, and shoes from Ina Grau.

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Below: outtakes, prep, and storyboards.

 

 

How to balance on a strip of Möbius: Insights 2013

Above: Trailer for the lecture series. Best viewed at 720p   Above: The main print run of the poster was printed in CMYK. Pictured is one of five limited edition prints with combinations of ink channels turned on/off, here in black only.   The identity for Insights: Surface Readings—as detailed here—employs a collection of Möbius strips […]

Above: Trailer for the lecture series. Best viewed at 720p

 

Insights poster 2013

Above: The main print run of the poster was printed in CMYK. Pictured is one of five limited edition prints with combinations of ink channels turned on/off, here in black only.

 

The identity for Insights: Surface Readings—as detailed here—employs a collection of Möbius strips to reference the commissioned contributions of lecturers Geoff McFetridge, Eike König, Job Wouters, and Luna Maurer to the various “surfaces” of the Walker. The poster was made by photographing printed strips of paper on a paper backdrop, the perfect “surface” for a printed piece. The trailer was made by filming strips on a green screen attached to a rotating rigging, and placing them on default Final Cut Pro backgrounds, which is again, a fitting surface for the medium.

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If you can’t make it for the talks in person, make sure to check out the live webcasts on the Walker Channel.

The Making of the Lifelike Catalog

Lifelike, a Walker-organized exhibition curated by Siri Engberg, and now on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art, is documented by its eponymous catalog. I sat down last March with João Doria to talk about the making (and thinking) of the book. Transcript of João Doria with Andrea Hyde on the Lifelike catalog J: […]

Lifelike, a Walker-organized exhibition curated by Siri Engberg, and now on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art, is documented by its eponymous catalog. I sat down last March with João Doria to talk about the making (and thinking) of the book.

Transcript of João Doria with Andrea Hyde on the Lifelike catalog

J: I have the catalog here. I was wondering if we could start with a little description of the context in which this catalog was made?

A: The context I think you’re referring to is the Lifelike exhibition, now on tour. Siri [Engberg] curated the show as you probably know. She was interested in presenting artists working with realism from the 60s through the present. She touches on various incarnations of realism, from abstraction to installation-based work like Maurizio Cattelan’s sculptures to [Gerhard] Richter’s hyperrealistic paintings. I needed to find a way to reflect these themes in the book.

My initial meeting with [the curators] was very interesting. I presented some pretty radical ideas.

J: Are they worth showing? I mean to me they are but in a blog post?

A: Potentially. I feel protective about them. Perhaps they will be useful in the future [giggles]. You know, as a designer we sometimes recycle our ideas. I’ve found that it sometimes happens, but unexpectedly. Perhaps I will come upon the perfect occasion to use an old idea in the future…

With that said, one of the initial ideas that made it into the book—though a in a subtle way—was the idea of the book being a collection of stolen materials. For example, instead of a half-title page, the very first page of the book is a page from a published Charles Ray book. There’s no explanation as to why it’s there, but for a very small caption on the inside front cover. The gesture is meant to throw the reader and to refer to the art in the show—there is a moment where most aren’t sure whether what they see is real or fake. I’m thinking specifically of the Fischli and Weiss’ installation that looks like building materials and debris. Is it part of the exhibition or the byproducts from the show’s installation? In fact, it is an artwork. Or the Vija Celmins installation—it looks like a mistake, a remnant. That’s what that first page is meant to do: present the reader with something that doesn’t quite fit. I wish there were more instances like that throughout the book, but because the pagination was tight, it became necessary to economize those moments.

J: Before we go too deep into the catalog, what did the curators ask you for? How did it all start?

A: During the first meeting we talked about the ideas behind the exhibition and where it was going. I knew that there would be some reprints and commissioned texts. Siri was going to write [giggles] a really large essay, and I started type layouts based on the reprints. The first reprint I received was a [Josiah] McElheny article that first appeared in Artforum, which was really useful in figuring out some of the themes of the show: Duchampian readymades and work that followed in the same vein.

J: You did other catalogs since you started at the Walker and I wonder if you have an opinion about a curators’ general expectation when it comes to catalogs. Moreover, what’s the role of the catalog here at the Walker in relation to exhibitions. Why do they usually want to do a catalog?

A: Everyone wants a catalog. Sometimes they are more wanted than needed, but for this show a book made perfect sense: it’s a substantial exhibition, it’s touring, and the show’s grouping is unique.

Each curator has different goals for their catalogs. Eiko & Koma, which was the book I designed right before this one, is a good example. The curators, editor, and former publications director [Lisa Middag] wanted that book to stake out a position for performance art within the scholarly realm of art criticism usually associated with visual arts. It hadn’t been done often in the past. So that was the goal then.

But Lifelike is really true to its exhibition. It presents the ideas behind the show in chronological order. It’s similar to the way a curator would organize the exhibition’s physical space. Its a good accompaniment.

J: Now we can get more to the object. We talked about it before and also with Andrew [Blauvelt] and Emmet [Byrne]. I noticed that recent Walker catalogs have been more lightweight. They look (but in fact they’re not) less luxurious objects and this involves many questions I think.

I remember, for instance, the Frida Kahlo book or the books in that era of the Walker design department. They had hardcovers, cloth, etc., and it’s more apparent that they were meant to document the exhibition/made to last (which doesn’t mean they will) and that makes me think about the public. I would say that in a regular situation, in a context away from the collector or a designer interested in books, the Lifelike catalog would feel more appealing. To me, I would fear it less.

A: It’s less intimidating, I agree. I see the trend but I don’t know if this is intentional. I see it more as a byproduct of trying to pare down the cost of our publication program, at least temporarily. In the future there will be bigger moments. We will have more [Yves] Kleins, more [Frida] Kahlos. I know that will happen [for example, there is a Jim Hodges book on the horizon], but in this case, to a casual reader, this book feels a bit more like a reader because of its humble production. Because it’s less of an artifact, I feel more like reading it. Kahlo and The Quick and The Dead really feel like art books—you put them down on a table and they make a sound [laughs].

Before I came to the Walker I worked on books for Gagosian and the Guggenheim through a studio. Those institutions seemed to prefer expensive, exclusive books, more an artifact than a document. That’s also a challenge. I think both are extremes and challenges for the designer.

J: How do you articulate your own language/interests with the content and budget restrictions and the intellectual decisions taken by the curators with the practical design decisions you need to make?

A: It’s always a case of priorities. In this case, we prioritized a Swiss cover and  smyth-sewn binding so even though it’s a softcover it’s actually pretty sturdy.

Originally the idea was to use the second spine—as I’m calling the interior spine—and to stamp it with the same foil I used on the cover. We evolved away from this when we decided that to begin with the Charles Ray page. Initially, I was thinking of the whole book as a copy of something. I even sketched the title in the Life cereal logotype but in different crazy colors. It would have been a fun cover, less reverential to the artwork featured inside the book. Instead, we decided to put an artwork on the cover that corresponded to the Charles Ray page half-title and to add some materiality by using cast-coated paper, so that there is a textural  difference between outer and inner covers.

 

 


 

 

 

And when I talk to the artist/curator/whoever I’m dealing with when making a book, I generally talk about those different options all out and say ‘well, I think we should try to focus on those three things’ and then maybe the other nice things need to fall out as a consequence. It’s always a balance and even when you have a big budget you’re working to fit as much into the book as possible. It’s a balance between the production aspects, the physical aspects of the book and the idea behind the book and how it’s structured.

J: I remember talking to Emmet and he told me as well that one real interesting thing about the fake half-title page is that the artist himself he had lost the notion as it is said here on… wait a minute, is your book different?

A: Oh I forgot to say! [The book tape fabrics] are different. There are three different types. We went to the bindery and they had it on salvage, so we used their extras.

J: The name of the exhibition, how did you approached it through typography? As a foreigner, I would say Lifelike has a good sound, a sort of wordplay. When you separate the letters people tend to say ‘aw, this is going to get difficult to read!’ making, naturally making the designer a little furious because we tend to believe people are more intelligent than they think.

A: Lifelike is really nice as a title because first, there is no subtitle [giggles]. Second, it’s clear and represents the show perfectly, and third, typographically, it’s nice that the words ‘Life’ and ‘Like’ share every letter but one, which gave me the perfect excuse to play around with shapes. I’ve always liked the tree and flower of life symbols. Starting from there, I created circular, triangular, and diagonal divider spreads and headers to play with the title and refer to the symbol.

Above: The flower of life, an inspiration for the divider spreads and headers (located near the gutters of each spread).

 

J: Now for nerdy stuff. This format is a little bigger than Eiko & Koma, so why did you pick that particular format? It’s a stupid question but…

A: …no no, not at all. I think Eiko & Koma needed to be more intimate, more like something you could read in your bedroom—there are so many details about their life and work. I feel like [Lifelike] is more like a manual in the sense that it’s main goal is to be informational, and the proportions are a little awkward, too big for intimacy but too small to be “coffee table.”  An in-between format, awkward. In fact, many of my decisions were made in order to make the book feel more awkward, in part because that’s the feeling the exhibition inspires. It’s a bit wide, too. I knew that the softcover would help the book to really open and I wanted to have some good text-spreads. I also knew that I wanted to use the gutters for the page numbers and running headers so I felt like it would be nice to have a almost-square proportion, which we extended to the exhibition didactics.

…Something you said before was interesting, something about the reprints being re-purposed copy, the Charles Ray page reproduced. This duplication is also evident in the contents page. I simply took the layout from select pages and placed it there, another reference to the work in this exhibition, in that divider spreads, made smaller become literal representations of those sections of the book.

J: The grotesque typeface, is it F Grotesk from Radim Peško? The typewriter monospaced typeface, which one is it?

A: It’s called Prestige Elite.

J: When I look at the surface of your pages in this publication, I see two planes, and I feel like you use thick lines to relate to the density of F Grotesk and to everything which is heavier and thin lines to relate to Prestige Elite and to what’s lighter.

I wonder, then, when we get to the book I look for how you organized the book’s different moments and how what we said before is expressed in that.

In the contents page, the letters circling around the page makes me thing you’re trying to place some hidden message, a continuity in each divider page. In the foreword the text is set in the grotesque typeface so it feels like the more institutional texts are set this way whereas the content that relates exclusively to the work is set in the monospaced type. So this is something that may be nice to talk about—can you explain more about the structure of the text?

 

A: Siri’s essay is first and is divided by themes. In many catalogs, there are distinct and uninterrupted essay sections. In this case, the plates and divider pages serve as bookends to the essays. Plates correspond to sections like ‘Previous Lives’ or ‘Common Objects,’ and directly correspond with the exhibition—as I said before, the book is a perfect reflection of the exhibition space because, in a sense, its layout is the same. Entering the exhibition, you first encounter works that illustrate the ‘Common Objects’ theme, and then ‘Uncanny’ follows, etc.

Sprinkled throughout are ‘Object Lessons,’ case studies of specific works. I wanted these to be distinct, rendered in an institutional voice and differentiated from Siri’s essay.

J: The text set with Prestige seems more for reading, and what’s set in the other voice seems more like extended captions.

A: That’s exactly what they are. It’s interesting because I was thinking of the Object Lessons as extended captions. Normally, I wouldn’t choose to use a typewriter face as the body text for an entire book, but in this case it made perfect sense. Prestige in its digital form is a copy of its original typewriter-produced self. I mean, typewriter faces are anachronistic, we don’t use typewriters anymore, we’re mimicking it.

J: How did they react when you presented those ideas/justifications? To my experience, the good thing about working with curators and artists is that usually the talk gets to a level where everyday life decisions for you as a designer are understood on a conceptual level.

A: They got it right away. When I presented initial ideas—I called one of the ideas ‘The Impostor’—I mentioned using typefaces that mimic others: Arial for example, which mimics Helvetica. With Prestige I am mimicking an outmoded mode of production. It also refers to scripts, like you were saying—”this is something to be read.”

J: What about grids and stuff. What’s underlying what we see?

A: I’ve always been a fan of how the Talmud is laid out. I like the big blocks of text brutally interrupted by notes, references, asides and diagrams. These interruptions don’t break the rectangular shape. It’s the inversion of what most designers consider “good design,” with white space, unforced kerning, etc. To me, the Talmud’s modular denseness is attractive.

One of my original ideas was to make a book that looks like a different book, an iconic text that most people would recognize. It would copy the look and structure but use our content. Does that make sense to you?

J: Yes.

A: Then it evolved. But to answer your question, I changed the grid depending on the type of content. The essay has a different grid type than the plates, which was a very different grid from the object lessons.

J: I was also wondering whether it was modular or not.

A: I would say there’s a master grid and variations on that, but the variations are so big it makes for very different layouts. Before we decided to intersperse the essay throughout the book I thought that sections of the book could look extremely different from one another, almost like different books stitched together. That idea evolved into type and grid variations.

J: About the images. In the show their scales vary a lot—how did you deal with it on this book? The chairs outside, the leaves in the corner, what goes through your mind when putting it together, giving it new relationships? It’s typical book design problem.

A: It was very interesting. Initially, we had all the dimensions right underneath the plates, but we moved them to the checklist. There are other moments we try to be true to proportion, usually when I’m pairing different works on the same spread.

J: Is it more a form problem? To put things with different sizes together and to see whether they fit or not, their shapes and colors?

A: Oh yes, we have lots of problems (giggles).

J: (laughs)

A: And remember, I couldn’t reorder the plates because they all had to exist within their themed sections. That was also challenging as well. It wasn’t strictly chronological

J: One last thing… the book has an insert!

A: (laughs)

J: (laughs)

Let’s talk about this insert.

A: It’s another obstruction, another confusing element, an intentionally awkward moment. The reader flips through the book and suddenly this thing is just there. It has a caption but it’s not bound or glued. It’s not tipped-on. It’s not something you would normally frame. It’s not a complete composition. It’s just a thing, a texture.

J: And what did the artist say?

A: That’s exactly what we wanted. [Keith Edmier] didn’t really mind whether we bound it in, tipped it in, or how big it was. I think he just thought, ‘It would be interesting to give you some wallpaper’ [from Kitchen, an excerpt from Bremen Towne, 1971]. We could have done what we wanted with it. It could have been a lot of things: endpapers, a dust jacket… Instead we chose to do this awkward thing.

J: Another stupid question—being an object, something actual, did it ever come to the talks that this could be then an original?

A: No that’s a very good question. I intend to address this in my blog post about the catalog, that the insert is actually an artwork. There’s no material difference between the insert in the printed book and the wallpaper in the physical exhibition space. It was done at the same time, the same process and the same paper. It is something meant to exist in a specific space, but we took part of it and gave it to the printer to cut and insert into our book. It’s another Charles Ray page moment.

J: It wasn’t problematic then.

A: No. I think going forward though, when the show starts to tour and go other places it will be useful to talk about it…

A: Let’s conclude with the backcover. Originally, I wanted to do something like this on the back [pointing to contents page], put thumbnails from the interior on the back. Another contents-like page where I copy and resize pages of the book. But then I received an interesting email from Siri, detailing her visit with Paul Sietsema. The painting he had in his studio perfectly illustrated the idea of the exhibition.

The layout reminds me of a paperback with a blurb that screams: ‘Look what’s inside this book’—something a publisher’s marketing department would dream up—but the text below the photo is actually a really profound statement about the contents of the book, a summary of the exhibition.

J: In what way?

A: You have this trompe-l’œil effect of a nail seemingly sticking out from a still-life painting. Artists working during the time this painting was made would usually leave something like a nail out of their composition, because it was not considered art. It’s a mundane thing you don’t really paint, but here it’s rendered in such a realistic way that it looks like the painting could actually be punctured with a nail. The painting is similar to so many of the works featured in the book.

J: Now something not exactly related to this particular book but in Eiko & Koma you use the vertical text on the spine and here too, it’s so nice! Are you into that lately?

A: I actually wanted to do something strange on the spine, use the text in diagonal [sings, spelling L-i-f-e-l-i-k-e], is that what you mean?

J: Oh no, I just found a coincidence that both use vertical text—a good quirk of yours?

A: Oh yes I did do that in my last two books! I tried it the other way, but it didn’t feel right.

J: It is how it is!

A: Yes, I never turned the type elsewhere inside the book so… it’s always upright.

[Looks at phone]

J: Oh are we late?

A: Yes… We should go…

J: Miniburgers!

 

Over-Booked: João Doria

Below, as part of the Over-Booked series, is an interview with our former “resident studio squatter,” João Doria, who spent last March at the Walker on the occasion of the Insights Design Lecture Series. Doria is a Brazilian designer who most recently lived and worked in Oslo. Currently, he attends the MFA design program at […]

Below, as part of the Over-Booked series, is an interview with our former “resident studio squatter,” João Doria, who spent last March at the Walker on the occasion of the Insights Design Lecture Series. Doria is a Brazilian designer who most recently lived and worked in Oslo. Currently, he attends the MFA design program at Yale.

(Above: a small sample of Doria’s work)

What is the last book you read?

Clarice, by Benjamin Moser (The original title in English is: “Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector”—pardon the arrogance but the Brazilian edition is sooooooo much nicer!).

Clarice Lispector is one of the most important Brazilian writers. She was quite the character. I said she’s Brazilian but in fact she was born in Ukraine in 1920 and immigrated to Brazil, escaping the violent riots against Jews during the Russian Civil War.

Moser spends a lot of energy explaining the Jewish genealogy in Brazil/South America to give insight on her character and this, together with what he covers on Brazilian history between 1920-1977, feels very much like an excellent class.

Clarice was known for being a gorgeous woman of fierce personality, opinions, and experimental writing. Moser asserts that she’s the most important Jew writer since Kafka (wow). She had a very complicated life, and he gives so much information on all of the aspects I mentioned that it makes you want to read more and more.

Describe an impossible book that you’d like to make (if you could do the impossible).

I depend so much on the connections I make when the content in front of me, in addition to what comes to mind when talking with the people involved, so nothing comes to mind…

Describe a person you think might dig your books?

I am curious about what the visiting critics at Yale will say about my previous work. I just started the course and haven’t gotten further into my own ways of working. It’s going to be great to have people to talk to about what sucks and what doesn’t and disagree/discuss it.

Pick five books that that could be buddies.

1. 2.3.

4.5.

1. Étrangers à nous-mêmes (Julia Kristeva)

This has been my ‘émigré handbook,’ recommended by my friend Frederico Coelho (his blog is worth reading even through google translator). He told me that when he spent a couple years living in New York he was struck by a feeling of homelessness and awe because of the feelings, people, images that were so different from his daily life in Rio. Little did I know that the same would happen to me when moving to Oslo.

In that book, Julia Kristeva writes (among another things) about the building/understanding of this ‘new me’ that happens when you leave everything you used to recognize as home. She makes observations about the interior world (me, inside myself) but also about what this ‘stranger’ provokes to the new people around him/how the stranger was seen as ‘enemy’ in primitive societies.

2. In Alphabetical Order: File Under: Graphic Design, Schools, or Werkplaats Typografie

When my friend Cecilia came back from her trip to Netherlands to visit some design schools (sometime near 2007 I think?) she brought a few WT publications back with her and that was one of them. She showed it to me and we would look/talk about it together during work. I spent quite a while before buying it but after I did it was the kind of book I would take notes in.

I remember looking at that object and always feeling it was quite precarious but also feeling like it really needed not to be more than what it is; that precariousness was interesting to me. Later I understood that what interested me the most was how the content was put together, and the fact that a school would use it as a statement/marker of its own thoughts in/for a specific time, like Yale just did with the Graphic mag. #22. (Anthony Froshaug’s text ‘Design is an exercise in analogy’ remains excellent to me).

3. The Craftsman (Richard Sennett)

I began reading it right after I settled in Oslo and started traveling with low-fare airlines to as many countries as I could in a very short period of time. In every trip I would pay attention to the materials found in each city—clothing, road typography, street signage, mailboxes—and try to relate them with Sennett’s explanations of craftsmen guilds: how each guild’s craft shapes community and defines local elements. It was very valuable to me.

There’s also a nice part about Stradivari’s workshop called ‘His Secrets Died with Him,’ about how a master’s originality inhibited knowledge transfer because it was tacitly incorporated, uncodified in words, and how the very presence of the master would inhibit the apprentices’ contribution—they wanted to please the Master rather than being themselves.

4. What do you care other people think? (Richard P. Feynman)

When my friend Pablo left for the Netherlands he gave me a box with books and this one was there. We attended a drawing course together where the tutor would spend hours showing us material from subjects unrelated to drawing/arts so we could learn to make connections. Mr. Feynman, a physicist, appeared many times. Feynman was a Nobel laureate in 1965 and, among other things, participated on the committee that analyzed the failure of the Challenger in ’86.

Feynman approaches very complicated and/or delicate subjects with a humorous, open-minded and thoroughly descriptive tone. He puts everything in perspective with his physicist’s eye. For example, he writes of his father explaining the physical dimensions of the world to him, and of the letter he sent to his wife one year after she passed away.

5. O povo brasileiro (Darcy Ribeiro)

I’ve been reading portions of this since I left Rio. I think it’s a natural reaction for those who move abroad, to want to know everything about one’s home country from a distance. I forgot my copy of it at the house in Minneapolis where I lived last March.

Darcy Ribeiro, an anthropologist, writes about the ethnic and cultural formation of the Brazilian people and discusses how the land was populated/organized before and after the colonization period, arriving at the conclusion that there’s not ‘one Brazil’ but ‘five Brazils’, because of what the geographic formation requires from the pre-existing indigenous and the new settling communities, and also because of being a result of mixed DNA—between the indigenous who were already there, the Portuguese colonizer and the African slaves, and all the cultural heritage each of those groups already carried in themselves. This gave me lots of insight on how to see myself when arriving in Europe, in the middle of so many ‘original-people’, and notice how much everyone is freaking out towards foreigners and immigration (sorry for the simplistic statement).

What is the first book you can remember?

‘O menino maluquinho’ (The Nutty Boy). about a kid and his lively childhood with his friends, his ten girlfriends, the toys he would make himself, his feelings, him playing football, how his parents would react when seeing his grades and how he would get perfect A’s after that in all subjects except his own behavior, and so many other things.

It was all drawn in black over white paper with pencil, and I remember I liked that a lot and was always intrigued with one particular illustration of a kid with legs so big he could hug the world. The final sequence explains that he grew up and became a great guy and everyone understood that he was a happy child, not a nutty one. The drawing of the boy as a grown up (or to picture what a great guy is) is someone wearing a navy uniform. I never understood that. ;)

Ziraldo, its author, is among the greatest Brazilian illustrators of all time. Although from the early ’80s he focused mainly in children’s books, his previous work covered a broad range of graphic design pieces. He would alternate between the illustration style he became known for and highly typographic pieces. This poster for instance:

What makes a book valuable?

Personally I relate books to moments in life, and how they affect my reality (see ‘The Craftsman’ above). As a designer, I look at weight, paper, how the book feels and how the contents are organized, how the book’s moments are marked, and whether I can get with those choices. Something else may stand out: nice typesetting, great printing, etc.

For instance, a couple years ago I visited Robin Kinross as a fan. I was going to London for a different reason and sent him an email asking whether I could visit and he said ‘sure!’ By that time Karel Martens’s book Printed Matter/Drukwerk was in binding and he showed me some of the proofs. He told me about additions, new work that was the reason behind the new edition. He also mentioned that he was aware that copies of earlier editions were being sold at used marketplaces for more that $1,000 and that that wasn’t his idea.

This may belong to a broader discussion about collectionism, but it touches on the fact that most design or art books print in small runs, and there are some things that people just *have* to see! I’m the same way. I find what I want/need but it can be a lot of extra work (there’s a couple of books I would like to have, but since the price of used copies skyrocketed, I refuse).

On the other hand, when thinking about books as products to be sold, the value discussion gets super-ultra objective. There have been many times when I’ve been approached with a set of specifications, a printing budget and so many design decisions already made in order to reach a selling price that includes paying a number of actors in the production chain + make some profit, so the viable book becomes the valuable one.

Do you have any book-related rituals?

Not for reading, but for making. I acquired one a couple years ago, which is to try to obsessively make dummies for every project. It may sound silly but in Brazil it was always too difficult to have it done (in Europe this is everyday currency) because you need to ask the printers and maybe one of two would see it as something crucial. In Norway there is a paper supplier particular that mails dummies to us pretty quickly (no need to ask the printer). The dummy increases my understanding of the book as an object. So although this is part of the design process, I feel like it’s quite ritualistic to handle the book—fold it, open it, and weigh it until it feels right.

Above: For Espen Dietrichson’s book, the 7th dummy and counting…

Above: A paper swatch from his prints, so that I can find something with the same feel…

Do books start to look like their designers? Do designers look like their books?

Some do, I think. I don’t see it in my own work, but my friend Aslak became easy to spot on a bookshelf. This picture gives an idea of it :).

Can you tell a cautionary tale related to the design or production of a book?

I did a catalog with my friend Rune Døli, and the museum wanted a wide format with some flop-outs because of some panoramic images we were using to document the restoration of a set of murals. They also wanted it in big format. Because of that (now stupid!) dummy ritual we managed to reduce the book size and increase the page number in almost 80% and use the same amount of paper in the previous specs.

It was good for the content but the printer decided to use 32-page signatures without telling us and the book had informantion on the top/bottom margins within a tight space. They had a very bad time binding it and cutting it and inserting the flopouts. Because of that, they told us one week before the deadline that they would not deliver on time. Since that was not a choice they ended up by saying “okay then!” and word was that on the exhibition opening people would see colorbars and crop marks for how much that 32-page signature would push the pages in every direction when folded (and even more for the top/bottom margins that usually lose space in wide formats). It was meant to have a sticker above a blind emboss and even after reprint we couldn’t find a single copy without rotated stickers. It was a nightmare. Although it was reprinted/re-bound etc, no more wide formats for me. I made this very annoying list of things to ask each printer in the future just to make sure.

Do you have any current publication projects that you’d like to feature on our site?

I made a book for my great photographer friend Luiza Baldan. We met in a studies group long ago, and since then work together when her exhibitions need design work. This year she got a grant that allowed us to produce a book, and distribute it for free. She has had a diverse range of residency projects, and in 32 years lived in 28 places. The name of the book is ‘São Casas’ (if you translate it literally it would be ‘It’s houses’ but then you miss a pun, that can be also ‘St. Houses’).

The book is only made of images, no text at all (except for cv/checklists and the sentence ‘In 32 years, 28 houses in 9 cities’). The discussion was about how to put those images together. After defining the page size I sent her an Indesign file and she would put an initial sequence. 80% of the project consisted of deciding which pictures from her body of work relate to the idea of house/home. We sent the file back and forth—I would change the image order/sizes, she would change it back, and so forth, until the last minute.

Since I’m in Oslo and she’s in Rio, we compared production budgets and discovered that it’s cheaper to produce her book in Europe rather than Brazil. Since the exhibition is in October, we had time for delivery, and chose a printer in Portugal that we worked with on a previous occasion. She had a conversation with the printer about every image, every plate in the book. It was exhausting but amazing for her to interact so closely with the printer.

The printer also was a real partner in the project—they would recommend paper, make several dummies, add a 5th plate with spot varnish to protect the images and let us number each copy. We changed so many of the specifications in just a couple of days in a very short notice and they would do everything possible to keep it within budget. It was sewn, flat spine, cold-bound with PVA glue and because of that we fearlessly crossed the gutter

Do you have a great idea for a book that didn’t happen?

Long ago I was invited by my friend Carlito to produce a dummy for a 10-year commemorative book of a project that happens in the Eva Klabin Foundation in Rio, called ‘Projeto Respiração’ (something like ‘the breathing project’). I proposed a layout where everything on a given page would be set on the negative space of what happened on the previous page. With the text, every second paragraph would have a considerable indent and this would establish a constant ‘breathing’ pace for the whole thing. The chapter openings would have a pattern of punched holes, a sort of lung.

The output was quite chaotic but I still like this idea a lot! Here’s a few screenshots…

I know, it looks pretty confusing!

I know, it looks pretty confusing!

I know, it looks pretty confusing too...

This thing flipping is the chapter marker I mentioned…

Over-Booked: Lucie Pindat on 1/2

1/2 is a creative collective comprised of four friends living and working in four different cities: Berlin, Paris, Rennes, and Vienna. Their collaboration manifests as undemi, a blog for sharing work and ideas, along with a series of handmade zines, self-published biannually by members Laure Boer, Anne-Pauline, Chloé Thomas, and Lucie Pindat. The following is […]

1/2 is a creative collective comprised of four friends living and working in four different cities: Berlin, Paris, Rennes, and Vienna. Their collaboration manifests as undemi, a blog for sharing work and ideas, along with a series of handmade zines, self-published biannually by members Laure Boer, Anne-Pauline, Chloé Thomas, and Lucie Pindat.

The following is an interview with Pindat as part of the Overbooked Series:

 

 

 

What is the first book you remember from your childhoods?
Loe Lionni, Petit-bleu et petit-jaune

What is the last book you read?
Georges Perec, Un homme qui dort 

Describe an impossible publication you’d like to make (if you could do the impossible).
Nothing is impossible, isn’t it? Or maybe I don’t fantasize about impossible things. Then I can feel completely free.

Who collects your zines?
People like us. Those who like printed papers, books, and magazines… And those who want to possess them…

What makes a publication valuable?
As a designer I would never buy a book if the design isn’t good. But I could buy a book for the design and never read it. A bit insane, but that’s the way it is. Form, colors, paper, composition, materials…

Do you have any book-related rituals?
I buy, I collect, I put them on the shelf, and then I keep them in mind.

Do you have any current or upcoming issues you’d like to feature on our site?
Yes, 1/2 no. 7, the recent issue of 1/2 zine.

What is the process of creating 1/2? Does the group pick a theme? How are the themes researched and articulated? How do you print and hand-produce the publication?
There is no theme! At a certain point everyone sends raw materials (images, drawings…) to the one in charge of designing and editing that issue. We send a lot of material so that the editor has enough content to make something new. No restrictions. Everything is permitted. Images can merge, be reworked, cropped, or destroyed… as long as the result is strong. Every zine is designed by someone else. That’s what makes each one different.

The zine is printed (offset, risograph, or laser print) and then folded and bound by hand. It’s published in a limited edition of 200. That’s the maximum quantity we can produce by hand. And that’s what we want because it enables us to make things that wouldn’t be possible in larger quantities.

I would just say that 1/2 is a friendship story. And sometimes I wonder why we do all this. I don’t know if it’s for the art or just to have a good reason to see each other more often!

How do you see your site coexisting with the printed publication? Does content from your blog appear in print or is the blog a separate manifestation of your conceptual/formal exchange?
The blog and the zine are the same thing. Only I would say that the zine goes further. The images posted on the blog are not altered or edited, so the interaction is limited. On paper, the works merge. And the zine becomes an artifact. It’s not a showcase or a portfolio. It’s really an art piece in and of itself…

 

Over-Booked: Christopher Schulz

The following is the first of several interviews conducted by the Walker design studio on the occasion of Over-Booked, a preview of the New York Art Book Fair co-presented with Printed Matter. Christopher Schulz is a designer and independent publisher known for his publication, Pinups, as well as various print works. The distinctly spartan (yet […]

The following is the first of several interviews conducted by the Walker design studio on the occasion of Over-Booked, a preview of the New York Art Book Fair co-presented with Printed Matter.

Christopher Schulz is a designer and independent publisher known for his publication, Pinups, as well as various print works. The distinctly spartan (yet furry) aesthetic that runs through his drawings, collages, and photographs has been well received by the queer and design communities alike. He is the recent recipient of Printed Matter’s 4th Annual Awards For Artists, and will be unveiling new works at the New York Art Book Fair in September. Below, Schulz graciously answers a few questions about the books and magazines he loves to read, smell, and make.

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Pictured above: 1) Schulz’s book Seth, a series of graphite drawings of Seth Rogen imagined-nudes 2) Digital collages from Schulz’s Tumblr-based Mopping Is Stealing 3) Copy Machine, an accordion fold-out book featuring a professional man and the fruits of his unprofessional labor and 4) Covers and spreads from Pinups.


What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was Querelle de Brest (Jean Genet). It’s a favorite that I revisit from time to time. (Pictured above: Poster for the film adaptation of Querelle, featuring an Andy Warhol print)

Describe an impossible book that you’d like to make (if you could do the impossible).
I really love when there’s variety within an edition—for example, a magazine issue with numerous interchangeable covers—a mixed edition. I’d like to create an edition where each book is unique, down to every page. Of course it’s not impossible but definitely challenging enough to seem impossible.

Describe a person you think might collect your books?
My books tend to evoke a strong response. Some really love them and others feel uncomfortable by having to confront the work (even though it’s really very tame). Though those with an affinity for visual design, printed matter, and male nudes tend to dig my books, I’m always excited when someone I don’t expect to like my work ends up really liking it.

What makes a book valuable?
All the things that determine a book’s collectibility make it valuable. Things like cultural relevance, history, edition size, the maker, the collector.

Do you have any book-related rituals?
When I open a book, I thumb through it gently. I’m very particular about how to appropriately handle a book (in fact, I’ve been thinking about printing a how-to about page turning). I enjoy the smell of the paper and chemicals in the ink.

Do books start to look like their designers? Do designers look like their books?
Only through my own associations. If I know a designer, then I automatically associate the look of that person with their work. But when I meet someone who’s work I’m already familiar with, I’m often surprised that they don’t look how I imagined.

Can you tell a cautionary tale related to the design or production of a book?
Printing is the only part of the process that is out of my hands. I am obsessive about doing press checks to make sure everything prints as it should. I’ve caught some pretty major mistakes while conducting a press check (they were my mistakes). Luckily I spotted the mistakes before printing began otherwise I would’ve had a major problem on my hands.

What are you working on right now?
I just published a new issue of Pinups. Issue 16 (pictured above). I’m also working on a special poster to be featured at this year’s New York Art Book Fair in September. It will be announced later this month.

Which Pinups model is the most single?
Elliott of Issue 1 (pictured below) is the only one that I can say for sure is single. Most of them are partnered these days. One is married.

Do you have a great idea for a book that didn’t happen?
Book ideas pop into my head all the time. If the idea persists then I feel like I’m on to something. I have several ideas for books that I’m currently trying to make happen. I never totally abandon an idea—I’ll alter it enough that it becomes something else but the initial idea is necessary to arrive at the point of creation.

What project will your Printed Matter award support and what does it mean to receive it from them?
I’ve got several small print projects that I’ve been working on, one being the how-to about page turning. I’m interested in making a book out of my naughty blog collages, Mopping is Stealing, which will take quite a bit of time to complete. Also, I’m working on a new book of drawings which is still in its beginning phases.

I received a letter from Printed Matter that John Waters had written urging mailing list addressees to become members. I think it sums up what makes Printed Matter so cool. This is what it said:

Printed Matter is, of course, not just a bookstore—it’s a way of life and I urge you to join the cult. Ever since Printed Matter opened, I have been an eager customer, an enthusiastic audience at their book launches, and a repeat visitor at the gallery shows. In fact, I daily resist the urge to carve the initials “P.M.” into my forehead with a red hot poker. You, too, can become a member of this cutting edge organization. Be well read, cruise cute people in the store, and discover new artists that will make your jaw drop. Join up today, or I’ll have you killed.

It’s also cool that Printed Matter carries books made by an array of artists from someone in the middle of nowhere making amazing self-published zines that you’ve probably never heard of to iconic artists like Yoko Ono, Lawrence Weiner, and Larry Clark.

Pick five books that would be buddies.

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2.  3.

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1. Queer Spirits (AA Bronson and Peter Hobbs) — This book presents five invocations of queer spirits performed in Banff, New Orleans, Winnipeg, Governors Island, and Fire Island. It also glows.
2. Landscape (Christopher Russell) — This is a beautifully made book consisting only of vague black and white images captured in hidden areas around a park where gay cruising took place.
3. The Ossie Clark Diaries (Ossie Clark) — So bitchy but I love it. Beginning in 1974, It’s a window into a fascinating time in London when fashion, art, and music collided in an unbelievable social circle, particularly the early part of the book (although the book is actually really dark and about his personal drama). I suggest reading the diaries and then watch A Bigger Splash (Jack Hazan), a film made in the early 70s that uses documentary footage of David Hockney to construct a somewhat fictional story. There’s an overlap with what’s talked about in the diaries so it’s exciting to put the pieces together.
4. Little Joe (Sam Ashby) — Little Joe is my favorite new magazine. It’s a biannual publication interested in exploring films that inspire alternative discourse. The first issue actually features a piece on Hazan’s A Bigger Splash.
5. Gayhouse (September Editions) — this is a large format magazine based in Paris. For each issue, an artist is invited to direct the pictorial.

What is the first book you can remember?
Where the Wild Things Are. Somehow that book really stuck with me. I guess it tends to do that.

What do you consider to be your day job?
For my day job I manage production for a portion of an e-commerce website. It’s basically the opposite of Pinups.

 

ROLU Residency Postscript: Collaboration with Various Projects

ROLU‘s recent Open Field residency involved, as noted in other posts on this blog (1. 2. 3.), a number of fruitful collaborations. Case in point: Brian Janusiak, Elizabeth Beer, and Matthew Chrislip of Various Projects created a garment for visitors to borrow and wear in exchange for free admission to the Walker. The multidisciplinary design […]

ROLU‘s recent Open Field residency involved, as noted in other posts on this blog (1. 2. 3.), a number of fruitful collaborations. Case in point: Brian Janusiak, Elizabeth Beer, and Matthew Chrislip of Various Projects created a garment for visitors to borrow and wear in exchange for free admission to the Walker. The multidisciplinary design collaborative responsible for Project No. 8 and 8a in New York was inspired by Hélio Oiticica’s parangolés, and their collaboration with ROLU resulted in a bright orange, one-size-fits-all customizable smock, translating audience participation into performance, and contributing to the residency’s “takeover of the whole museum.” ROLU’s Matt Olson specifically “liked the idea that [their] work would, through this piece, travel everywhere in each gallery.”

 

Watch Participation as Performance: Incomplete Instructions

Below, photos of ROLU x Various Projects’ parangolés at the Walker, including details from their instructional flyer.

 

ROLU Residency: Collaboration with Peter Nencini

The ROLU residency at this year’s Open Field involves in a number of collaborations, many which feature artist/designer editions: publications, wearables, objects, and furniture. Artist/designer Peter Nencini, formerly profiled and interviewed here, has been engaged in a year-long collaboration with ROLU, the first result being a series of embroidered totes for Dream Shop on Rhiannon Silver’s Intelligent […]

The ROLU residency at this year’s Open Field involves in a number of collaborations, many which feature artist/designer editions: publications, wearables, objects, and furniture.

Artist/designer Peter Nencini, formerly profiled and interviewed here, has been engaged in a year-long collaboration with ROLU, the first result being a series of embroidered totes for Dream Shop on Rhiannon Silver’s Intelligent Clashing. In Rhiannon’s words, the shop is a “snap-shot of a current community of artists/makers/designers who operate and communicate online.” The Nencini collaboration will culminate in a collection of interactive stitched fabric chair covers. ROLU’s Matt Olson explains, “we’ve both been interested in Franz Erhard Walther’s use of fabric as a catalyst for an action…Peter has also been working on a series of films about the misuse of our chairs.”

Nencini writes, “I’m using readymade bags in 12oz cotton canvas available colours. Down the line, the intention is to design and make the structure from scratch but I do also like exponentially adding worth through handwerk, to such a staple. A significant step is to have pre-punctured stitch holes so that I—as a stitch novice—could do it. It also bonds the project with the boxes and other pieces which owe a good deal to Friedrich Froebel’s ‘Gifts and Occupations‘ lineage through to the Bauhaus’ preliminary exercises

Above:

1) Froebel’s Gifts of Kindergarten No. 7 (paper parquetry)  2) Franz Erhard Walther

This bag developed as a kind of sampler, especially within these bars. I feel encouraged by the reductive but glitched turnabout symmetry and gaudy, bubbly spurts. It’s a little marker for Matt and ROLU, too, on technique to be carried through to the chair covers.”

 

 

Above: Nencini’s stitch schematics. Stunning.

Eiko & Koma: This Is Your Life (and Work)

Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty is Eiko & Koma’s one-and-only compendium catalog. As such, it needed to embody the life and work of their prolific partnership. Extensive research into the ephemera of the artists’ forty-year career—program notes, flyers, performative and editorial photography, video, reviews, and letters—yielded many of the images in the […]

Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty is Eiko & Koma’s one-and-only compendium catalog. As such, it needed to embody the life and work of their prolific partnership. Extensive research into the ephemera of the artists’ forty-year career—program notes, flyers, performative and editorial photography, video, reviews, and letters—yielded many of the images in the book. The material also served as inspiration for everything from the stark image-only cover to the margins and typeface choices. Excerpts from a poem by Forrest Gander were used as section dividers to give the reader a verbal play-by-play of the artists dancing, a contrast to the abundant visual documentation of their dances. Printing and production choices were made to reflect Eiko & Koma’s humble but sparkling personalities: uncoated paper, natural stock for the front and back matter, simple black insert sheets for reviews and reprints, and silver edging that lends only a little sheen. The matte cover, as unassuming as it appears, was achieved by using four plates of black ink, and the spine’s text was set in dull white foil, all subtle details that, though modest in appearance, were fitting given the subject(s).

Below are a selection of spreads and source materials for Eiko & Koma: Time Is Not Even, Space Is Not Empty, edited by Joan Rothfuss and published on the occasion of Eiko & Koma’s Retrospective Project in 2011.

 

Printed Matter Remix

We often have the pleasure of entertaining visitors to the Design Studio. However, this is the first time–to our knowledge–that said visitors sent thank you cards composed of deconstructed Walker print ephemera: Thank you Margot Harrington of Pitch Design Union and Chad Kouri of The Post family !!

We often have the pleasure of entertaining visitors to the Design Studio. However, this is the first time–to our knowledge–that said visitors sent thank you cards composed of deconstructed Walker print ephemera:

Thank you Margot Harrington of Pitch Design Union and Chad Kouri of The Post family !!

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