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Publishing Against the Grain

  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain
  •  Publishing Against the Grain

Curated by

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.


Reading Across the Grain

by Jordan Jones Jordan Jones is an artist living and working in New York. Her practice is mostly just asking questions. Recently she has been studying how we relate to one another and how we describe those relations. Jones graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Studio Art and Comparative Literature and is currently a […]


“And Then Sport Said…” A Conversation with Mirene Arsanios of Makhzin and Anne Turyn of Top Stories

As part of Publishing Against the Grain’s ambition to highlight a number of intergenerational and feminist projects, Mirene Arsanios, editor of Makhzin and Anne Turyn, editor of Top Stories met to discuss their respective publishing projects included in the exhibition. Arsanios selected Top Stories to be included in the exhibition alongside Makhzin, as it has influenced her own writing and editing practice since 2010 […]


Zeitz MoCAA Panel Discussion – Alternate Voices: Pages

On December 16, 2017, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) hosted a panel discussion titled Alternate Voices: Pages which included Babak Affrassiabi, Tazneem Wentzel, Ashley Walters and Sven Christian (curator of Zeitz MoCAA) and was aimed at providing visitors with a first-hand account into the origins, thought processes, and concerns behind some of the key contributions […]


Interview with Sven Christian

In order to follow up on and assess the first iteration of Publishing Against the Grain, and to get more insight into how the project fit into the museum’s burgeoning plan and new mission, ICI’s Alaina Claire Feldman, Becky Nahom and Sven Christian (Adriane Iann Assistant Curator of Books and Works on Paper at Zeitz […]


Publishing Against the Grain in Art Agenda

Sean O’Toole a journalist, critic, and editor living in Cape Town reviews Publishing Against the Grain for the January 2018 edition of Art Agenda: “The broad reach of “Publishing Against the Grain,” which aggregates little magazines from Brazil, Canada, Iran, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Uganda with varying degrees of affinity to the art world, invites […]


Interview with Moses Serubiri

ICI’s Becky Nahom met with writer and curator Moses Serubiri in New York to discuss his contributions to The Trans-African, a publication included in Publishing Against the Grain.




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touring schedule

Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Toronto, Canada
April 7, 2019 - January 1, 1970

Pitzer College Art Galleries
Claremont, CA, United States
February 2, 2019 - January 1, 1970

The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College
Gambier, OH, United States
January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1970

Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos
Lagos, Nigeria
January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1970

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MoCAA)
Cape Town, South Africa
January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1970

Booking Info

Number of works: About 50 independently published projects Space required: approximately 2,000 - 5,000 sq ft but extremely flexible Tour dates: Fall 2017 through December 2020 For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Becky Nahom at 212.254.8200, or becky@curatorsintl.org.