Publication Retrospective is a one-day event that will take place at Western Exhibitions on Sunday, February 23, from 3 to 6pm.
In 2007 the Chicago-based artist Marc Fischer began working under the project name Public Collectors to elevate sub-cultural, underground, marginal and collective perspectives that many museum and institutional collections neglect. Public Collectors has gradually shifted toward an emphasis on artist book publishing and research, exploring a range of topics from underground music to obscure public library holdings and the criminal justice system.
To date Public Collectors has produced 44 booklets and this one-day event will serve as an opportunity to view all of those publications in one place. They range from offset booklets with print runs of 1,000 copies or more, to Risograph-printed materials and small editions produced and assembled at home with a black and white laser printer. Copies of many Public Collectors booklets will be available for purchase during this brief retrospective. Other materials are out of print and will be presented for in-gallery reading only.
Some highlights of Public Collectors’ publishing-related projects:
Hardcore Architecture explores the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of American hardcore punk bands in the 1980s. Fischer researches band addresses using contact listings published from 1982-89 in the fanzine MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL and use Google Street View to capture photos of the homes. The project exists as a series of publications, prints, exhibitions, events, and a Tumblr blog, that present a visual survey of underground music based on where people lived.
Library Excavations highlights and activates public library materials through a series of publications. The project is particularly focused on materials that may be overlooked and under-utilized, that Fischer encourages visitors to request and view. Public Collectors has authored, designed and printed ten Library Excavations publications to date that observe collection materials ranging from illustrations in US Government safety manuals to advertisements geared toward people working in the prison industry.
An untitled series of five recent chap book-style artist booklets considers the poetry of ephemeral social media posts and sales listings on eBay and Craigslist. GRAVE PLOTS surveys Craigslist ads where people attempt to either sell family cemetery plots, or trade them for items like cars and tractors. SOLD AS BLANK / POSSIBLE LOST MEDIA reveals how people get around an eBay restriction on selling home-recorded VHS tapes by offering them as blank, despite detailed descriptions of each tape’s contents.
Public Collectors started The Courtroom Artist Residency in 2018. For this project artists are invited to attend approximately three hours of court proceedings with Marc Fischer at Cook County Criminal Court on 2650 S. California Ave. Following court, Fischer treats the resident to a meal nearby at Taqueria El Milagro and we discuss what they observed. A publication series, The Courtroom Artist Residency Report, that Public Collectors designs, edits and prints focuses on transcripts of these conversations. To date the project has hosted sixteen residents and created four booklets.
For more information on the work of Public Collectors, visit www.publiccollectors.org.
Exhibitions and Press:
Public Collectors projects have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2014 Whitney Biennial), Harold Washington Library, Gallery 400, The Franklin, The Reinstitute, ABC No Rio, The Art Gallery of Knoxville, The Print Center, Seattle Art Fair, Experimental Sound Studio, Outhouse, The Storefront, and at numerous art book fairs including the NY Art Book Fair, LA Art Book Fair, Chicago Art Book Fair, Vienna Art Book Fair, Detroit Art Book Fair, Toronto Art Book Fair, and at Rrréplica in Mexico City.
Projects by Public Collectors have been written about in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, A/V Club, ArtNews, Artforum, The Village Voice, Art Papers, The Art Newspaper, Sixty Inches From Center, and The Seen