Since it feels like summer was decades ago, we took a look at summer decades ago; a sampling of our periodicals. It was hot. Once upon a time.
Librarian Judith Hoffberg created Umbrella in 1978 as “a means of intercommunication for art historians, artists, librarians and anyone else who is interested” in “news and information relative to a part of art history that usually never gets discussed in the mainstream.” This meant artist books and mail art, mostly, but the journal’s blue and black pages were open to more.
In the listings section of each issue is the heading Lost and Found, under which went news briefs related to artistic heists and recoveries. Below is a sampling of the reach of art’s underworld.
Find our incomplete collection (30+ issues) of the irregular journal in Periodicals.
The Sienese Shredder
nos 1-4; 2006-2010
The Sienese Shredder #1 has a mango cover with a fox and a clock. Inside, right off the bat, is History and Truth (a commencement address), followed by Gérard de Nerval’s Chantilly (“filled with very old retired servants, walking their limping dogs”), postcard collages by John Ashbery, music by Alan Shockley, the marketing of surrealism, Ron Padgett, Harry Mathews, A Parliament of Refrigerator Magnets, delirious episodes in contemporary art, a poem played out through a lyrical Twister, a Duchampian chess challenge bearing a cupid, Honey’s Metaphoric Energy Transfer, The New Crustacean, and more, ending after over 200 pages with J-K Huysmans, of Against Nature, in Haarlem.
Flip through the next three and find currency collages, mute critics, bughouse poets, Whitman’s glasses, Toilet Rolls, Macintoshages, octopussarian impulses, de Kooning’s last drawing, epitaphs by William Beckford, eyeballs, giant-size mini books, spools by Crumb, and Jesus Christ. These aren’t even the highlights.
Founded and edited by Brice Brown and Trevor Winkfield, The Shredder ran for four issues, 2006-2010. Each issue contained an audio CD. “Contents can include writings by visual artists; art by writers; poets as installation artists; photographers as poets, and the range of contributors moves from the well-known and up-and-coming to the unknown or forgotten,” says the website (which has excerpts and issues for sale).
The complete series is available in our Periodicals archive.
First launched in 1984, Strapazin is a Swiss-based, German language comics magazine focused on the underground and independent scenes. The aesthetic of the work selected is often defined by expressive, gestural drawings filled with motion and energy. Notable Strapazin contributors include SVA’s own Gary Panter and David Sandlin, as well as Daniel Johnston, Le Dernier Cri and Julie Doucet.
The SVA library has 25 issues of Strapazin from June 1994 through the current issue.
This bimonthly magazine—founded in 1941—was originally known as Craft Horizons but later changed to American Craft in 1979. It is dedicated to the advancement of the “age-old human impulse” to create things by hand. With an emphasis on nature and primitive art, Craft Horizons drew harsh contrast to the mass-produced products of its time.
The magazine celebrates the use of unconventional materials, emerging and veteran artists, and helped define Craft as a concept, documenting the way it has evolved and sustained into the present day. Issues typically include insight on upcoming exhibitions, book reviews, events, and craft-related films as well as organizations and schools engaged in advancing the craft medium. It also gives novice writers and artists a place to showcase their work, as the magazine takes freelance writings and photography submissions for consideration towards each issue. Readers are also occasionally able to purchase affordable and innovative handmade goods featured in the magazine.
Funded by the nonprofit organization, The America Craft Council, American Craft is currently in its 72nd volume of publication and has over 14,000 issues (including the 38-year publication of Craft Horizons), making it one of the largest collections of art, craft, and design books in the country.
The Visual Arts Library is fortunate to own 46 of these volumes–dating back to 1962-and our current subscription ensures that our collection will grow with the publication.