ARTISTS' PUBLICATIONS

Description

An artwork, produced by an artist, that takes the form of a publication. The form, such as a book, is essential to the work.

Production

Conceived, designed and produced by the artist. May be self-published or published with a gallery (still considered self-publication). Can be published in print or digital format, or both. Production costs may range from very cheap (DIY) to very high. DIY implies much creative and manual labour on the part of the artist; depending upon the budget, this labour may be outsourced to curators, designers, writers, copy editors, translators and printers, with the artist acting as main conceptual driver behind the project. When produced alongside an exhibition, such publications function only in part - if at all - as documentation in the usual sense, but may instead be considered a distinct publishing project that runs parallel to an exhibition or event.

Potential Publics

Other artists, curators, academics, special collections librarians, collectors interested in the artist's career or attracted to the publication's unique material qualities or conceptual play, or other kinds of readers attracted by the content, subject matter and themes, image and writing style, etc. Publics tend to be relatively small at first, but with potential for growth over time if individuals and institutions begin collecting the books.

Circulation

Artists and small publishers can sell directly or trade at international book fairs, zine fairs, conferences and other events.

Specialized booksellers like READ Books and Art Metropole take such works on consignment.

Academic or public libraries with special collections may pay for copies or accept them via donation or legal deposit (e.g., Artexte, OCAD's zine library and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ)'s Collection patrimoine de livres d'artistes).

Digital copies may be distributed for free in the short term via social media and content management or file-sharing platforms, or sold in both print and digital formats via distributors like Amazon or AbeBooks. Digital files can be made freely available on the Internet and preserved in perpetuity through e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Usually self-funded through individual artists' grants or out of pocket. May be co-produced with a private patron, gallery, or other publisher who acts as a source of financing. Crowd funding could work if the artist has a wide enough pre-existing social network of "fans." Co-publication may be possible with a literary publisher, if the artist's practice is recognized as a mode of expanded poetics or experimental writing.

MONOGRAPHS

Description

An exhaustive or highly detailed publication on a single subject, often a senior artist or institutional history.

Production

Monographs are rarely self-published, as value is conferred by the artist's association with a gallery or other recognized publisher. A certain level of gloss and high production quality are preferred, as are standardized formats - although of late there has been a trend toward incorporating conceptual design strategies or experimental writing that call into question the genre's discursive function in conferring value. Print runs may be limited or large, depending on the reputation of the featured artist and the writers or curators who produce the accompanying texts.

Potential Publics

Artists, curators, gallery owners, academics, students and collectors interested in the artist's career. Publics tend to be relatively small at first, but with potential for growth over time if the artist becomes well known and individuals and institutions begin to collect the books.

Circulation

This genre lends itself to distribution through specialized art distributors like ABC (Art Books Canada) and DAP (Distributed Art Publishers), or through collaborative distribution vehicles, like Halifax INK, which sell directly at international book fairs, zine fairs, conferences and other events.

Specialized booksellers like READ Books and Art Metropole take such works on consignment.

Academic or public libraries with special collections may pay for copies or accept them via donation or legal deposit (e.g., Artexte, OCAD's zine library and the BAnQ's Collection patrimoine de livres d'artistes).

Digital copies may be distributed for free in the short term via social media and content management or file-sharing platforms, or sold in both print and digital forms through distributors like Amazon or AbeBooks. Digital files can be made freely available on the Internet and preserved in perpetuity on e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Public funding through the gallery's operating budget, co-publishing if the topic has appeal to a trade publisher, pre-sales revenue.

EXHIBITION CATALOGUES

Description

A publication documenting or published in conjunction with an exhibition, series of exhibitions, or art event.

Production

While standardized formats are often respected in this genre, there is also a trend toward incorporating conceptual design strategies and experimental writing. Print runs may be limited or large, depending upon the exhibition's anticipated impact and the reputations of the curator, artist(s) and writers producing the accompanying texts.

Potential Publics

Initially, the visitors to the gallery or event, the artists and writers featured in the publication and anyone else to whom the artists and writers give copies. Exhibition catalogues have the potential to attract broader publics if wider issues are discussed in a relevant way. For instance, a catalogue can become a teaching resource and a significant historical reference if the exhibition featured in it addresses a contentious issue or ameliorates a lack in cultural representation.

Circulation

Catalogues for major artists and exhibitions or trendy topics may find distribution via specialized art distributors like ABC (Art Books Canada) and DAP (Distributed Art Publishers), or through collaborative distribution vehicles, like Halifax INK, which sell directly at international book fairs, zine fairs, conferences and other events.

Specialized booksellers like READ Books and Art Metropole take such works on consignment.

Academic or public libraries with special collections may pay for copies or accept them via donation or legal deposit (e.g., Artexte, OCAD's zine library and the BAnQ's Collection patrimoine de livres d'artistes).

Digital copies may be distributed for free in the short term via social media and content management or file-sharing platforms, or sold in both print and digital forms through distributors like Amazon or AbeBooks. Digital files can be made freely available on the Internet and preserved in perpetuity on e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Usually produced from a gallery's operating funds as part of the exhibition/events budget. Crowdfunding targeted at members may defray print and mailing costs.

THEMATIC ANTHOLOGIES

Description

A collection of essays or works by several authors or artists. May include reprints or excerpts from longer works.

Production

May be produced independently or in conjunction with a particular exhibition or programming cycle. This genre is a way in which exhibitions and related documentation may circualte and reach a wider public. Sometimes images accompany texts as illustrations; however, when the project is conceptually driven by an artist, then design, images and texts may work together to advance an argument, produce new knowledge, or create an experience.

Potential Publics

Artists, curators, gallery owners, academics, students and collectors interested in aesthetic trends or how social, cultural, environmental, or other issues impact the visual arts. Anthologies have the potential to attract broader publics if wider issues are discussed in a relevant way. An anthology can become a teaching resource and a significant historical reference if the exhibition featured in it addresses a contentious issue or ameliorates a lack in cultural representation.

Circulation

This genre lends itself to distribution via specialized art distributors like ABC (Art Books Canada) and DAP (Distributed Art Publishers), or through collaborative distribution vehicles, like Halifax INK, which sell directly at international book fairs, zine fairs, conferences and other events.

Specialized booksellers like READ Books and Art Metropole take such works on consignment.

Academic or public libraries with special collections may pay for copies or accept them via donation or legal deposit (e.g., Artexte, OCAD's zine library and the BAnQ's Collection patrimoine de livres d'artistes).

Digital copies may be distributed for free in the short term via social media and content management or file-sharing platforms, or sold in both print and digital forms through distributors like Amazon or AbeBooks. Digital files can be made freely available on the Internet and preserved in perpetuity on e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Public funding through the gallery's operating budget, co-publishing if the topic has appeal to a trade publisher, pre-sales revenue. There is potential to crowdfund if the topic addresses a niche, underrepresented public and the publisher has a pre-existing social network in place.

EXHIBITION EPHEMERA/DOCUMENTATION

Description

Smaller publications that document or were otherwise featured in an exhibition. These often take the form of small pamphlets with a checklist of works, and/or a text by the curator. May also be presented as an accumulated collection of exhibition texts over the course of a programming period.

Production

Design, format choices and writing style may be conceptually important, though often constrained by small budgets and scheduling urgency. Artists sometimes like to appropriate or inhabit these marginal forms of publicity.

Potential Publics

Initially, the visitors to the gallery or event, the artists and writers featured in the publication and anyone to whom the artists and writers give copies. In the future, researchers interested in a gallery's institutional history or an artist's career may dig up such materials if they have been collected by libraries and archives.

Circulation

Except in rare cases, the material qualities of the printed object and distribution via sales are less important than ensuring easy access to these materials.

Distribution is usually limited to the premises of the gallery that produced the publication and hosted the event for which it was published, or to the artists and writers included within it. Often such materials may be printed cheaply in small quantities and/or published online.

Academic or public libraries may accept them by donation or legal deposit. But ephemeral formats may not correspond to collecting criteria.

Digital copies may be distributed for free via the gallery's website. Digital files can be made freely available on the Internet and preserved in perpetuity on e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Usually produced from a gallery's operating funds as part of the exhibition/events budget.

GREY LITERATURE

Description

Reports and writing produced by organizations outside of the normal commercial or academic publishing channels, generally with a particular orientation toward and circulation within the same sector of activity. May include reference materials, manuals, reports, working papers, etc.

Production

Grey literature is rarely published in print form, it is more likely to be posted online as PDFs. Design, format choices and writing style could be conceptually important; more often, however, grey documents have little ironic distance from their subject matter. It is rare, but not unheard of, for artists to appropriate or parody such literature in their artistic work. Still, many would wish that grey materials could be made more interesting.

Potential Publics

Administrators and members of museums, galleries, artist-run centres and associations representing artists or art institutions.

Circulation

Except in rare cases, the material qualities of the printed object and distribution via sales are less important than ensuring easy access to these materials (together with legibility and didactic value).

Distribution is usually limited to the organization, membership, constituency, or event for which the publication was produced, or to the artists and writers included within it. Such materials are generally made available for free—sometimes circulated among organization members, sometimes only upon request. Often such materials can be printed cheaply in small quantities and/or published online.

Academic or public libraries may accept them via donation or legal deposit.

Digital copies may be distributed for free through the organization's website, newsletter or other services. Digital files can be preserved in perpetuity on e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Usually produced from the relevant organization's operating funds as part of the events or operating budget. In some cases, the technical writing found in such projects may afford supplementary income for artists, critics and administrators who also pursue more creative projects.

PERIODICALS

Description

Serial publications, such as magazines or newspapers, usually published at regular intervals.

Production

Formats may range from cheap newsprint or photocopied zine, to glossy newsstand magazine, to high-quality, perfect-bound journal, to assemblage works that bind together loose pages from multiple contributors in binders, envelopes, or boxes. Most print-based magazines also publish content online, while blogs and certain magazines publish content online only.

Potential Publics

Magazines can reach mass-distribution levels depending upon the appeal of their subject matter, but most many visual arts magazines do not circulate at this volume. An art magazine's reading public begins with the contributors themselves, who may be spread across multiple geographic locations. A sense of associative belonging built around common interests (not necessarily artistic) may yield wider readerships as the print run increases, copies are shared among readers, or online content is shared, retweeted, reblogged, etc. Publics may extend further over time, as researchers or collectors seek out back issues in library, archive, or OpenAccess repositories.

Circulation

Reader subscriptions. Standard formats and print runs may be compatible with newsstand distribution.

Aggregators or index databases like ARTbibliographies Modern (books and periodicals) and Art Full Text (periodicals only) make online copies available to paid subscribers.

Artists and small publishers may sell copies directly or trade them at international book fairs, zine fairs, conferences and other events. Specialized booksellers like READ Books and Art Metropole sell magazines on consignment.

Academic or public libraries may purchase institutional subscriptions.

Digital copies can be distributed for free in the short term via social media and content management or file-sharing platforms, or sold on websites using pay walls and password protection. Digital files may be made freely available on the Internet and preserved in perpetuity on e-artexte, an open-access repository for visual arts publishing.

Financing or self-funding

Usually funded via dedicated magazine funding programs, subscriptions and advertising sales. DIY levels of production are often self-funded. There is potential to crowdfund if the magazine addresses a niche, underrepresented public and the publisher has a pre-existing social network in place.