In my last article for Paperweight, I spoke with Daniel Pianetti of No Layout, an online archive and bookstore whose business model, based on charging contributors an annual participation fee in lieu of a commission on sales, has attracted the attention of smaller art book publishers eager to explore methods of promotion, presentation, and distribution that better reflect an increasingly digital landscape.
What’s most exciting to me about projects like No Layout is that they reinforce for artists and publishers alike that now more than ever, one needn’t think of publishing in terms of “standard practices.” As conventions give way to new possibilities and greater autonomy, those committed to producing limited-run art publications have found that there are as many distinct potential audiences for a given [Continue Reading...]
I’ve struggled to define successful independent art publishing because the accepted standard of success looks a lot like failure to me. I’m admitting this in hope of reconciling two divergent impulses; my desire for commercial validation and my interest in unpopular culture.
In a recent interview, musician and label owner Ian MacKaye insists that he didn’t care if he sold 100,000 records or 500,000 records or 100 records. Would he care if he didn’t sell any records? “Success is in the doing,” he argues. “Did you make what you were trying to make?” I believe in this idea, but it strikes me as solipsistic in practice.
I want to participate in the book economy, but I’m still determining the form of my endeavor and how I [Continue Reading...]
I met Romke Hoogwaerts over three years ago at a house party in the East Village. We were sitting next to each other on a couch when he introduced himself. I had just started an internship at Printed Matter and he was well in to his online project Mossless.
Since then, our paths continued to cross as we both became more involved with the independent publishing community. When Romke told me that he would shift Mossless to a physical maga [Continue Reading...]
As you may know, many small businesses are and will continue to struggle because of Hurricane Sandy. Our friends over at Printed Matter have suffered considerable and in some cases irreparable damage. If you would like to offer your support, you can make a donation here. You can also purchase an edition< [Continue Reading...]
No Layout, an online bookstore/digital library run by London-based art director Daniel Pianetti, is one of a series of platforms to have emerged in the past few years aimed at changing the way we discover, display, and purchase printed content online. Its approach falls somewhere between archival resource and promotional tool.
Established in 2010 as a digital library of art zines and fashion magazines (each item fully viewable through an intuitive, cleanly designed, non-app interface), the site recently expanded its format to include an online store specializing in independently published art books. While Pianetti is still in the process of expanding its selection of titles (among those currently featured are publications by Nieves and Morava Books), the store is perhaps most noteworthy for its business model: [Continue Reading...]
I want to talk about loss; forgetting, disappearance, ends, deficits.
It’s been two weeks since my last article. I apologize for my tardiness. I had a feeling that I shouldn’t put a timeframe, but in a way it’s a continuation on the theme. I’m not being paid to write this series. And why should I be? No one else is being paid to do Paperweight. That’s fine. But I’m two weeks late and no one bothered me because I’m doing this for free. Or maybe no one bothered me because we (all 100 of us) were busy buying and selling artifacts at the NY Art Book Fair.
In business, profit and loss are related concepts. Income minus expenses equals profit (or loss). The helpful, but terribly written, how-to book [Continue Reading...]
What is a business model?
At Harvard Business School, Professor Tom Eisenmann teaches that “a business model is an integrated array of distinctive choices specifying a startup’s unique customer value proposition and how it will configure activities—including those of its partners—to deliver that value and earn sustainable profits.”
In Business Model Generation, authors Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur suggest that a business model “describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.”
Both definitions hinge on the [Continue Reading...]
Athena Tacha is based in Oberlin, Ohio. Born in Greece in 1936, she came to the United States in 1960 and since then has steadily produced public art works around the country as well as exhibited internationally. The amount of merits she has earned, both artistically and academically, makes summarizing her life a daunting endeavor for both of us. When I approached Athena to conduct an interview through e-mail, she was quick to suggest we talk on the phone instead. After writing a beautiful introduction to her life, she explained that she likes to talk a lot, and fast. I was lucky enough to sp [Continue Reading...]
In a back issue of Proximity Magazine, now-defunct research group InCUBATE published a syllabus titled “Art/Life” that sketched the parameters of social practice. They interrogated the hierarchy between artists and other people who are creative by asking “[w]hy call oneself an artist, and how does this added layer detract or benefit from the work?”
Although the entire syllabus is noteworthy, Week 5 was particularly relevant to me.
WEEK 5: Is Bad Business Good Art?
Andy Warhol once said, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Yet, for artist-run businesses that are run more as conceptual enterprises, t [Continue Reading...]
Repetition, Iteration, Re-Iteration (Introduction – Part I)
In Ruscha’s 1966 book, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, the viewer encounters a more provoked dialogue between image making processes and this narrative-content divide.
Despite the fact that the content chosen for this work has the vague indication of linear reading – one drives or walks up and down the Sunset Strip; one interacts with the businesses and people that fill this public space – this does not necessarily indicate the presence of linear narrative within the context of Ruscha’s intentions.
What is highlighted throughout all of his books is the interaction with pure content. The specific [Continue Reading...]