Publishing Against the Grain begins with the question: What is the role of critical cultural production and discourse in the contemporary landscape? In the context of today’s corporatisation and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.
This exhibition highlights the current state of publishing and art criticism as it actively exists in small journals, experimental publications, websites, and radio, as well as other innovative forms. It is organised around a core nineteen projects that connect theoretical, social, political, and aesthetic questions with a focus on community, whether understood in relation to a particular place, or defined in identitarian or diasporic terms. In bringing these projects together from around the world, Publishing Against the Grain reveals how their material and discursive activities respond to intersecting subjects such as contemporary aesthetics, diaspora, sex and gender, gentrification, race, language, and art history.
A selection of key publications was drawn from ICI’s international network of collaborators. These curators, artists, and scholars involved in independent publishing are represented in the exhibition through their own projects and by those of other publishers who have influenced their work and school of thought. The exhibition continues to grow and accumulates as it travels, when new publications are added at every site.
Publishing Against the Grain provides a space for reading, thinking, and conversing, where slowing down can become a form of intellectual resistance. It encourages discursive public participation, self-reflective investigation, and invites visitors to discover new perspectives while connecting differing and analogous spheres of contemporary art.
Key contributors to Publishing Against the Grain are:
Adjective / Art Against Art (Germany) nominates: Post Capitalism: A Guide to our Future, Telematic Embrace, The Transhumanist Reader / Bisagra (Peru) nominates: ramona / Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary) nominates: Art-Leaks.org / East of Borneo (United States) nominates: Artes Visuales / Exhausted Geographies (Pakistan) nominates: SCROLL / Fillip (Canada) nominates: Art-Language / Glänta (Sweden) nominates: Bidayat / Makhzin (United States / Lebanon) nominates: Souffles, Soufless-Anfas, Top Stories / Our Literal Speed (United States) nominates: Collective Actions / Pages (The Netherlands / Iran) nominates: Corrections and Clarifications, Counter-Signals / PISEAGRAMA (Brazil) nominates: Urbânia / Pumflet / Raking Leaves (Sri Lanka) nominates: Aar Paar / SALT. (United Kingdom) nominates: LIES / Start Journal (Uganda) nominates: Uganda Press Photo Award / Stationary (Hong Kong) nominates: Blackbird / Lenny Kwok / Tráfico Visual (Venezuela) nominates: Félix Suazo / White Fungus (Taiwan) nominates: Life Is A Rip Off
Publishing Against the Grain is an exhibition organised and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and initiated by ICI’s Alaina Claire Feldman, Becky Nahom and Sanna Almajedi. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum. The presentation at Zeitz MOCAA has been organised by Sven Christian, the Adriane Iann Assistant Curator of Books and Works on Paper (Zeitz MOCAA) and is supported by the American Friends of Zeitz MOCAA, the Zeitz MOCAA Exhibition Endowment Fund, and Zeitz MOCAA Members.
Independent Curators International:
Film23 January 2019 - 23 January 2019
Exhibitions14 November 2018 - 16 January 2019
Book Launch14 November 2018 - 14 November 2018
Lectures and Forums30 May 2018 - 30 May 2018
Tours20 June 2018 - 20 June 2018
Exhibitions21 November 2019 - 23 February 2020