Kitty Maryatt, “Duchampian Gap” (2002), paper, goatskin, walnut ink, India ink (collection of the artist, image courtesy CAFAM)

For decades, artists have used the format of the artist book to explore concepts parallel to their primary artistic practice. For some, these take the form of one-of-a-kind, handcrafted objects, while other artists create low-cost publications meant to be widely distributed. On view through Sunday at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California is the first large-scale museum exhibition to focus on artist books in the region, featuring over 100 examples produced between the 1960s and the present.

Joey Terrill, “Homeboy Beautiful I” (1978 Reissue by Maricon Collective 2015) (courtesy of the artist)

Los Angeles has a long tradition of artist-made publications dating back to Ed Ruscha’s deadpan photographic books that captured the mundane urban environment around him, and Wallace Berman’s Semina, an art and poetry journal sporadically published between 1958 and 1964 that the artist and publisher mailed out to friends. Moving on from these early examples, the exhibition highlights the role that printed matter has played in feminist art, as well as for African American, Latinx, and queer artists. Notable participants include Edgar Arceneaux, Lisa Anne Auerbach, John Baldessari, Eugenia P. Butler, Patricia Fernández, Suzanne Lacy, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, Laura Owens, and Raymond Pettibon, among others.

In conjunction with the closing of the exhibition this Sunday, CAFAM will be hosting a conversation with exhibiting artists Joey Terrill and Darin Klein on the history of self-publishing in the LGBTQ community at 3pm, followed by a Queer Zine Party at 4:30pm. Space for the conversation is limited, please RSVP if interested.

When: Closes Sunday, May 7, 11am–6pm ($7 for adults; $5 for students, teachers, and seniors; free for CAFAM members; free on Sundays)
Where: Craft & Folk Art Museum (5814 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

More info here.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.