On October 8th 2016 we’ll be embarking on our annual American road trip, representing the collection to some of the most influential and important collections in the USA. We’ll be visiting MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum, the School of Art Institute of Chicago, Yale, Lafayette and Swarthmore University. This tour is a key part of our work distributing European-based artists’ books and this month’s mailer is dedicated to considering the space that public and academic collections occupy in our cultural landscape.
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Collections that are free and open to the public exist as vital strongholds of cultural life, a testament to the freedom of information and ideas. Entrance to major art galleries can be prohibitive – to see seminal works by major artists can hang on whether one can afford the entry ticket. Today, the most influential tools for the mass dissemination of information is via the television and the internet – and making up the backdrop of these brave new worlds are companies and corporations. It is easy for us to engage in a culture that has been prepackaged and sanitized for mass consumption.
Public institutions have a mandate to serve and together with academic universities endorse artists’ practices with acquisitions to their permanent collections; they contextualise art historically and culturally when re-presenting to the public and enable artwork to transcend from a timely to timeless existence.
KALEID editions focuses on the dissemination of artists’ publications and as the digital pervades our lives, our primary interactions are often in the format of jpegs or mp3s, watching on whilst a virtual hand turns the pages of a book on our behalf. Yet there is a haptic dimension that the digital realm still lacks. So packing a suitcase full of books, getting on a plane and driving cross-country to visit different collections attempts to counteract this experience for librarians. It also continues artists’ books inherent sense of rebellion. By placing objects such as these into collections and libraries for future public access means that the act of distribution performs the dissemination of information and ideas as a political, social concern.