round table discussion
with Max Schumann (Director, Printed Matter, Inc., New York), Ken Soehner (Chief Librarian Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and FLAT scientific committee member), Francesca Valentini (Independent researcher, Bruxelles and FLAT Curator of Public Programs).
Since the end of the 1960s, the exhibition catalogue has been implemented by a growing number of artists as a means of expression, information and communication, inseparable from their work in other mediums.
The exhibition catalogue is an instrument that has a long, but as of yet, little studied history. While artistic visibility seems increasingly the prerogative of the web, exhibition catalogues still determine the stature of artists, narrating their vision of the world, while acting as a litmus test both of their productivity and the desirability of their work.
This round table discussion will focus on the exhibition catalogue and its hybridization with the artist’s book. Francesca Valentini focuses on the origins and key features of the exhibition catalogue as an object, medium and instrument to which FLAT 2019 Public Program is dedicated. She highlights the reasons why, over the last few decades, a growing number of artists and professionals have appropriated this instrument of knowledge while recognizing its historical and artistic centrality. Drawing on his experience at Printed Matter, Inc., Max Schumann will discuss various publications in which artists have utilized the exhibition catalogue. He will examine the differences between artists’ books as exhibition catalogues and exhibition catalogues that would like to be considered artists’ books. Ken Soehner will introduce and moderate the discussion, sharing reflections and intuitions that emerged over the last decade, during which time the Watson Library has been actively building its collection of artists’ publications.