Publishing Against the Grain is a traveling exhibition that provides a space for reading, thinking, and conversing, where slowing down can become a form of intellectual resistance. It encourages discursive public participation, self-reflective investigation, and invites visitors to discover new perspectives while connecting differing and analogous spheres of contemporary art.
In the context of today’s corporatization and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.
Publishing Against the Grain highlights the current state of publishing and art criticism as it exists in small journals, experimental publications, websites, and radio, as well as other innovative forms. It is organized around projects that connect theoretical, social, political, and aesthetic questions with a focus on community, whether understood in relation to a particular place, or defined in identitarian or diasporic terms. Included in the exhibition are print journals like Makhzin (Lebanon) and PISEAGRAMA (Brazil), alongside more experimental forms like tranzit’s interactive Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary).
In bringing these projects together from around the world, Publishing Against the Grain reveals how their material and discursive activities respond to intersecting subjects such as contemporary aesthetics, diaspora, sex and gender, gentrification, race, language, and art history.
A selection of key publications was drawn from ICI’s international network of collaborators. These curators, artists, and scholars involved in independent publishing are represented in the exhibition through their own projects and those of others who have influenced their work and school of thought. The exhibition continues to grow and accumulate as it travels, when new publications are added at every site.
Key contributors to Publishing Against the Grain include:
Art Against Art (Germany) nominates: Post Capitalism: A Guide to our Future, Telematic Embrace, The Transhumanist Reader / Bisagra (Peru) nominates: ramona / Chimurenga (The Chronic / The Pan African Space Station) (South Africa) nominates: Glendora Review, Frank Talk, Third Text / Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary) nominates: Art-Leaks.org / East of Borneo (United States) nominates: Artes Visuales / Exhausted Geographies (Pakistan) nominates: SCROLL / Fillip (Canada) nominates: Art-Language / Glänta (Sweden) nominates: Bidayat / Makhzin (United States / Lebanon) nominates: Souffles, Souffles-Anfas, Top Stories / Our Literal Speed (United States) nominates: Collective Actions / Pages (The Netherlands / Iran) nominates: Corrections and Clarifications, Counter-Signals / PISEAGRAMA (Brazil) nominates: Urbânia / Raking Leaves (Sri Lanka) nominates: Aar Paar / SALT. (United Kingdom) nominates: LIES / Start Journal (Uganda) nominates: Uganda Press Photo Award / Stationary (Hong Kong) nominates: Blackbird / Lenny Kwok / Tráfico Visual (Venezuela) nominates: Félix Suaz / White Fungus (Taiwan) nominates: Life Is A Rip Off
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (South Africa) nominates: Adjective and Pumflet
Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos (Nigeria) nominates: New Culture
The Gund Gallery of Kenyon College (United States) nominates: Arthopper and AEQAI
Pitzer College Art Galleries (United States) nominates: X-TRA
Critical Distance Centre for Curators (Canada) nominates: Charcuterie, EMILIA-AMALIA, The HIV Howler, Lola, MICE Magazine, Peripheral Review, Public Parking, Redwire Magazine, and Scapegoat
Publishing Against the Grain is an exhibition organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and initiated by Alaina Claire Feldman and Becky Nahom, with Sanna Almajedi. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum.