The Regional Assembly of Text
I really like organizations/people/books/work/ activity that are many things at once. That’s why I like artists books, that they simultaneously touch on visual art/writing/language/performance/sculpture/illustration/sound/time/etc…. Being able to enjoy something in different ways depending on your interest, appealing to different kinds of audiences at once-I like the tendency (or at least the desire) to bring different kinds of groups of people together in that way. (The study of artists books, well, that’s something else entirely, which seems to have a talent for breaking things into tidy groups and cliques and well-defined activities. But that’s besides the point.)
There’s a show on where I work right now about historical and contemporary artist collectives who publish books, in various ways and in various places, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how these organizations have made a way in the world. These groups publish as part of so many different activities (educational, activist, literary), some of them as part of artist co-op workshops, some not, that it makes you focus of the book as a set of possibilities, as a starting point to work out from. I’m really interested in the ways these organizations have found so many different ways to provide a real support structure for artists, that intersects with real-world economics of, how do operate a business and produce work that you’re proud of?
Which brings me to the Regional Assembly of Text, which is a small business, and a store, and a publishing concern, and an art project all rolled into one. On their site they define themselves as a little stationary and gift store, which seems a little on the modest side to me.
I like the populist approach to the artist book, that it’s about things that people like to read. I like the well-designed storefront and retro office supply aesthetic. I like they have a storefront and a gallery, because in the end both are storefronts anyway. Most of all I like that it’s an activity first and foremost, which manifests itself in a variety of ways, in an accessible form of language.
I love this, which you can purchase here for a mere $6. I’m always looking for ways to increase my level of accomplishment. It’s the overachiever in me.
The exhibition Artist’s Books as (Sub)Culture is up until March 28th in New York, you can see some photos from the show here.