When you were a kid, were your walls covered in memorabilia, posters, old pictures, and postcards? Did you one day decide to throw that stuff away or hide it in some drawer or box with the rest of your relics? It may seem like junk without context, but these old rememberences tell the story of you, and as far as Exile Books is concerned, telling the story of us is downright artistic, too.
Right now at the Bas Fisher Invitational, Exile Books is celebrating such ephemeral designs, from posters to postcards and DVDs, in the multi-media exhibition "Books Fuel Ideas." The exhibition shows how contemporary designs tell the story of our artists and ourselves. By definition, these artifacts won't last forever, and so too comes the end of the display, but not without a party fit for the scene, Saturday.
Since the kickoff during December's Art Basel, "Books Fuel Ideas" has been the temporary home of Exile Books and exhibiting artists Eve Fowler, Sam Gordon, and Lizzi Bougatsos, the latter of which music fans may recognize as a member of Gang Gang Dance. Just as Bougatsos has saved up tour posters and show memorabilia from her journeys around the globe, Gordan and Fowler have had a keen interest in examining personal archival materials, collaborating on existing bits and pieces saved through the years, and turning them into thoughtful examinations.
"It's really about artists who experiment with archives," says Exile Books founder Amanda Keeley. She and co-curator Katrina Llanes of the Perez Art Museum Miami brought these three minds together in collaboration with Printed Matter, Inc., resulting in the vibrant exhibition at BFI.
"We had a great time at BFI," Keeley says. "I was just excited to bring together such a phenominal group of artists and to also focus in on subject matter that I haven't really seen at exhibition, that really talked or really examined the idea of the archive and how artists are utilizing and mining historical material."
As "Books Fuel Ideas" comes to its last day, Keeley and her crew are taking archive madness one step further. They've invited fellow collector/hoarder artists Andrew Yeomanson and Kevin Arrow to entertain with a one-of-a-kind DJ set, Around the World in 60 Minutes. DJ La Spam and DJ Waterbed Kev, respectively, won't be laying down the funky grooves you're used to. Instead, they plan to spin the sounds of living history as preserved by the Smithsonian's Folkways Records collection. What they're called a "travelogue" will feature vinyl exclusively from the Folkways collection which strives to document everything from environmental sounds to spoken word, as well as poetry, music and other noise that represents the environment and lifestyle of human beings in all corners of the world.
Just as Yeomanson and Arrow create a sonic collage with their back-to-back performance, the visual elements of the records' designs will be displayed in addition to the existing "Books Fuel Ideas," taking the contemporary history as art theme one step further.
"I think it's incredibly relevant now to show what our background is, what our foundation as artists is, and being responsible for our history," Keeley says. "I thought it would be a nice tie-in."
After Saturday's closing party, Exile Books will pack up its shelves and take down the posters, then head to a new temporary destination in Wynwood. The theme of the stop and the exact date are yet to be announced, so take advantage while you can, grab an art books or two, and catch the sights and sounds while they exist.
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