This book brings together the lectures presented during the second edition of seminar Archive of the Commons II, which was co-organized by Foundation of the Commons, Museo Reina Sofía Museum and Southern Conceptualisms Network, and took place in Madrid in 2017. The seminar set off to review the role of the archive in contemporary culture, its metaphorical potential and also its possible use as a tool for knowledge and critical practice.
Female or other, 1960 – 1990 is a research project which aims to fill significant voids in the history of artist’s publications by exploring, identifying and disseminating the experiments with publishing carried through by artists who were either women, or artist groups – or other forms of authorship which depart from the single male artist –, and whose publications have been consistent and original and yet remain overlooked, reduced or omitted altogether from the official canon.
The project takes a double starting point. On the one hand, it seeks to answer, at least partially, the groundbreaking question that Linda Nochlin posed in 1971 in relation to art in general, counterbalancing the deep gender bias with which the current canon of artist’s book “masterworks” is built. The exhibition’s chronological scope – from 1960 to 1990 – focuses intentionally on the three first decades in the history of the artist’s book, a history which is told, for the most part, through works by single white male artists.
On the other hand, the project also sets off to update the canon from a postcolonial point of view, calling into question its prevailing Eurocentric – if not purely Anglo-Saxon – narrative. The idea is to sketch a more accurate cartography, one that acknowledges the so-called Global South by focusing not only on Western artists, but also on artists from or working in Latin America.
As research moves on, partial results will be presented through a series of publications – Ensayos, that is, tests or trials – which will probe the limits for the dissemination of academic discourse through non-standard publishing formats.
This research project was started as part of the Paul Klee Summer Academy at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Bern 2021-2022 and continues, now, as a doctoral project at the School of Fine Arts of Hamburg (HfbK), under the direction of Prof. Nora Sternfeld.