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The Written Image: Millennium Magazines

Since the first photocopier made the proliferation of text-image projects possible on a grassroots scale—that is, to starving artists and writers—the artist magazine has been an integral part of street-level self-promotion and a uniting force in the literary and visual arts. Over the years new technologies have elevated the form past

its folded, stapled, black-and-white roots, but as sleek as they may become, these creations—works of art that also serve as packages for art—continue to push boundaries and defy constraints. This spring the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is taking a look back at the past dozen years in artist-magazine production in the exhibition Millennium Magazines. The installation showcases collagelike glossies, artfully packaged journals of experimental poetry and prose, and other paper curiosities in circulation around the world that have been archived in the museum’s library. Holdings include Taiwan-based journal White Fungus; Veneer, published in Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia’s Megawords; and Lovely Daze out of New York City, pictured above in a display containing the first four issues. The limited-edition magazine, founded in 2005 by artist Charwei Tsai and edited—or curated—based on her “personal admiration” of fellow artists and writers, has featured in its pages Aztec poetry, text collages, and the work of poet and performance artist John Giorno, as well as a range of multimedia pieces by other contemporary artists. Millennium Magazines is organized by the museum’s library assistant and resident “book smeller” Rachael Morrison (last spring Morrison set out to record and present her olfactory findings as she sniffs each of the more than three hundred thousand books in the museum’s stacks) in collaboration with the museum bibliographer David Senior. The exhibition, which opened on February 20, runs through May 14. Visit moma.org for more information.

Credit: Charwei Tsai

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