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book by Adrian Williams
The Right Triangle (2008)
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The Art of Printing
a work done anonymously by a woman
With the publishing world an enigmatic fortress, writers often face some resistance to getting their work in print. Alas, the writings of many have surrendered as a result—a loss for both their creators and culture, at large. But all hope is not lost. A subset of today’s literary-minded cast nary a glance at the ‘Bestsellers’ rack and head straight for ‘Do It Yourself’. And it is within such self-published texts that some of today’s most talented, fashionable and unusual writers find distribution. Further, a great many indie publishers have popped up, putting out the ‘unpublishable’ in both professional quality and visually-minded books, magazines and pamphlets.
This new scene has gained credibility through the support of arts and literary institutions. Barcelona, too, has caught the wave. Now, the MACBA presents its collection of alternative publications in the exhibition ‘The Malady of Writing’, which also includes books of art criticism and a hilarious display of letters that two Barcelona-based artists wrote to unsuspecting recipients. At the time of writing, the library consisted of some 150 works by 60 international writers, and will continue to grow as new texts are found. Visitors are invited to sift through the works but will find no Dewey Decimal system to assist. The lack of order in the library permits a singular experience of first discovery and then literary pleasure, a subtle antidote to the larger literary world in which the texts reside.
Of similar note, albeit more historical, the Museu Diocesà hosts ‘Muses of the Printing Press’, an exhibition that features text and illustrations printed by women between the 16th and 19th centuries. The curators contend that women were not only printing at this time, but also sustaining and evolving the form, and were often so active in their work that they were the sole economic providers for their households.
El mal d’escriptura, PEI Building, MACBA, until April 25th, 2010; www.macba.cat
Muses de la Impremta, Museu Diocesà de Barcelona, until January 31st, 2010; www.arqbcn.org