With the reams of new independent magazines springing up every week, editorial and design trends are evolving quickly. The latest one to emerge comes from the art market. We’ve started to notice that exhibition and gallery curators are creating magazines instead of traditional art catalogues, using the format of a magazine to extend the conversations generated by artworks.
Take Peer Paper Matters (or simply Peer), produced in Amsterdam’s Red Light District by a gallery space called Peer Paper Platform. Located in a former brothel, the gallery also houses a bookshop and a café. About 40% of the content of its newly released magazine has been crafted to correspond with the artists featured in the gallery. The paper bird on the cover is from a project in which the curators hung hundreds of origami shapes from the gallery’s ceiling. The remaining 60% of the articles and images are wider in context though, covering areas that are simply of interest to the curators.
Issue one was inspired by the Chelsea Hotel in New York City, specifically the idea of big groups living and working together in close proximity and the creative energy that that can inspire. Fractured poetry and rigorous essays sit side-by-side; the combination of differing formats and a juxtaposition of horizontal and vertical text create a kind of inspiring, if rudimentary, energy of its own.
Though it has its own distinct style and special curatorial approach, Peer isn’t the only physical art space to begin producing a magazine in this way. Aesthetically, German magazine On Display looks a world apart from Peer, as its provenance might indicate, but the concept behind it is strikingly similar. Designed to accompany a quarterly exhibition at Volkswagen’s Autostadt in Wolfsburg, where two design projects will be presented in long glass display cases, the magazine includes additional information about the show as well as in-depth interviews with the designers involved. Onlab’s Nicholas Bourquin is one of minds behind the design and content, which shows in the deft handling of the bilingual texts.
A third magazine that’s being produced by art curators and not editors is yet-to-be-released Oslo Pilot, produced by a two-year arts initiative of the same name that will be organizing a series of pilot projects (events, talks, art commissions, etc.) that will lay the groundwork for an Oslo-based art biennale planned for 2017. Published in tandem with the project, the magazine will serve as a platform where the curators can discuss the artworks and ideas they’re currently exploring.
As galleries continue to consider ways to break out of the confines of a physical space, and as they’ve started to think more about how the a show’s ideas can continue to generate discussion even after its ended, the accessibility of magazines make it the increasingly favored format for gallery publishing ventures.
This article was originally published by magCulture.