Rachael Morrison and David Senior have curated an exhibit at the MoMa Library, Millenium Magazines
, dedicated solely to independent, small-distribution publications—heaps of which are conveniently sold at OC! The topics of these appealing publications range from a compilation of the editor’s favorite photographs, to documentations of anything plant-related in urban environments. And as the first exhibition at MoMA Library to allow visitors to handle and interact with the books, the result is stimulating, to say the least. I was lucky enough to chat with Senior about the development of this exhibit and some of his personal favorite publications on view.
Rachel Hodin: So give me the low-down on Millennium Magazines.
Our idea was to exhibit contemporary artist and design magazines that hinged on an earlier lineage of publications from the ‘70s to the present. There’s a wide range of subject matter, but in a nutshell, we were seeking out magazines that were produced by a small group of people—sometimes one person—and that are different from large editorials. Our guiding principle was to focus on people whose personal project was to make the magazine.
RH: And visitors are allowed to handle the pieces being showcased.
DS: Yes. We usually have vitrine shows of library material or historical material that can’t be touched. But for this show, we wanted it to be interactive. It didn’t really make sense to put a magazine that you could buy at a store for $10 in a vitrine. So this is the first show we’ve done here where we have books that can actually be handled. Another fun part was asking the artists for images of their process, which you can see in the slideshow here. It sort of fills out the idea of the publications.
RH: Are a lot of these publications still in circulation?
DS: I’d say 30 to 40 percent are no longer in print. The majority of the publications here have been published in the last three or four years. Some started in the early 2000s and only have a couple issues, such as LTTR
, which made five issues and stopped in 2007. For me, LTTR
exemplifies a collective of people making a magazine and becoming a social practice, creating a community. The book and its simple format can be a strategy to first get your work out into the world.
RH: Would you say LTTR is your favorite magazine on display?
DS: I like a lot of these. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but for me, knowing the people that made it when it first started—being around the same age as them and getting to see the process of their practice—goes a long way.
RH: What was the most interesting group of collaborators that you met?
DS: In terms of finds for the show, I really love Correspondencia
as a project—it’s from Buenos Aires. I also like Venir
a lot, which is from Portland.
RH: So these are chosen from all around the world?
DS: Yeah, one of the things we tried to do was to have a global representation of things. We have publications from New York, LA, Paris, Milan, and London but also from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. If we'd had more time to do research there certainly would have been more global titles, but honestly we just tried our best.
RH: Did you find any one constant throughout a lot of the magazines?
DS: I think there are a couple different threads. There’s one where it’s just about an artist project. Other publications are centered on a social practice with a political message, and they try to organize a community with the magazine––I think that’s a big thread. Photography is one of the biggest as well. There’s also a lot of stuff that focuses on lifestyle, like Apartamento
, or Club Donny
, where you have things that are between documenting living spaces and being a photo or design project. It’s ambiguous but it’s a beautiful book and object. Like, Apartamento
is so beautiful, lush and well-designed.
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