Founded in Zurich in 1984, the contemporary art journal Parkett has taken an innovative approach to magazine publishing. For each volume, artists are chosen to collaborate in the publishing process: they suggest authors to write on their work, confer on layout, propose cover ideas, and create artworks unique to Parkett. Some of these works are editioned and offered separately to subscribers, some are inserts-most often in the form of sequences of pages bound into the volumes-and others are designs for the volumes' spines. In 1998, The Museum of Modern Art acquired a full set of the artworks made in conjunction with Parkett, the only complete set in an American museum.
Collaborations with Parkett: 1984 to Now includes some 150 of these artworks in a broad range of inventive formats-prints, page-art projects, photographs, drawings, paintings, multiples, videos, DVDs, and sound pieces-all of which were created specifically for Parkett. On view at MoMA for the first time as a group beginning April 5, 2001, these works demonstrate the many provocative ways that artists have responded to Parkett's challenge. Organized by Deborah Wye, Chief Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, the exhibition is on view through June 5.
'This exhibition provides an opportunity not only to celebrate the remarkably diverse art of our time, but also to highlight the creative forces at work in this innovative publishing venture,' says Ms. Wye.
Parkett's collaborating artists and the editions they have created represent a variety of artistic generations and directions. Works by Louise Bourgeois, born in 1911, will be on view, as will be those by Vanessa Beecroft, born nearly 60 years later in 1969. Artistic strategies representing Neo-Conceptualism and language-based ideas, social and political themes, Pop and consumer-based imagery, performance art, feminist issues, documentary and staged photography, and pure abstraction, are all represented in the selected works.
Of the 150 works on view, separately offered and editioned artworks include Mariko Mori's version of the ubiquitous Barbie doll, Star Doll (1998), as a 10-inch-tall pop star. Laurie Anderson's Hearring (1997) is an earring that plays a recorded 20-second sound message. Jenny Holzer created a silver ring in the shape of a snake inscribed with a message, With you inside me comes knowledge of my death (1994). Switch (1994), by Rachel Whiteread, is a plaster cast of the space around a light switch that the artist salvaged.
Some artworks are incorporated into the volumes themselves, recalling the tradition of the deluxe illustrated book. For example, George Baselitz chose the traditional frontispiece of the journal as the location for his jewel-like drypoint, Face and Teardrop (1986). Douglas Gordon's Signature (1997) is an impression of the artist's teeth on paper bound into the magazine.
Insert projects are usually sequences of up to 20 pages bound into the volume, or may be posters folded and tucked into the journal. These inserts refer back to the tradition of 'artists books,' which first gained momentum in the 1960s when the page was seen as an alternative exhibition venue. Examples include Damien Hirst's insert for Parkett 32 (1992), a 13-page insert on both the glamour and the danger of smoking, bound into the journal.
Most of the artworks on view were published in editions numbering from 20 (such as Luc Tuymans's embroidered shirt) up to 2000 (such as Katharina Fritsch's set of three records), with the majority numbering about 70. Insert projects are published in editions which equal the printing run of the magazine, now up to 12,000 copies. The fact that all these work exist in more than one example places them in the 'democratic' tradition with which prints and book formats have long been identified.
The collections of The Museum of Modern Art contain numerous examples of editions by the most significant artists of the modern period. These came into being through the instigation of now historic publishers like Ambrose Vollard and Tatyana Grosman, both of whom have been celebrated with exhibitions at MoMA. The editions commissioned by Parkett carry on this rich tradition. The Parkett artworks have been shown at museums internationally since the late 1980s. As Parkett is now in its 60th volume, the MoMA exhibition is the largest to date.
All the works are on view together in one large gallery, creating a concise survey of contemporary art that the editors characterise as a Musée en Appartement. This concept pays homage to Marcel Duchamp's Box in a Valise, which he referred to as a 'portable museum.' A carrying-case that contains miniature replicas of his past works, this work was first issued in 1941 and was sold over the years in various editions for a total of about 300 copies.
Parkett's editorial mission has precedents in the rich history of periodicals which have based their activities around original contributions from artists. A selection of these earlier magazines, ranging from La Revue Blanche to S.M.S., as well as Duchamp's Box in a Valise, will be on view to set a context for Parkett's activities. All of these past endeavours took unique and adventurous forms, but most were relatively short-lived. Parkett, in contrast, has continued for 18 years.
This exhibition is made possible by Joanne M. Stern and by Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro. Additional support is provided by the Associates of the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Contemporary Arts Council, The Junior Associates, and the Young Print Collectors of The Museum of Modern Art.
© 2001 The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Press release courtesy Parkett.