Yto Barrada – Tree Identification For Beginners

Book Profile – Books We Love From Other Printers

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Yto Barrada’s executed her most recent show in New York City and art book printers and art books, in general, have been a hot topic at Publicide Inc. Publicide acquired the art book that was printed for Barrada’s show How To Do Nothing With Nobody Alone All By Yourself. Pace gallery commisioned a beautiful book to accompany this show. Crisp, glossy and silk screened, this white bound book Tree Identification For Beginners is a meticulously constructed object. Conversely, the contents of this edition are offset printed on newsprint with one color with an intention of accessibility and affordability. Not only for the artist but also for the observer.

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Approachability is the gesture of the book as is the artwork its self and is reminiscent of and lends its self to the do-it-yourself nature of the early 1990’s. The Pacific Northwest in the early 1990’s punk and alt-rock scenes was cemented in an ideology of attainability. The inexpensive price denoted the importance of accessibility to the art itself. This cruciality of punk created an air of exclusivity while at the same time commanded that DIY art exists in an outsider position. Outsider was a demonstration of otherness necessary to the times.  Most notably in the case of this work we are reminded of zine culture in general but specifically Riot GRRRL whose publications were intentionally not copyrighted and usually produced in limited runs on ditto machines.

Owned by no one, these zines were made with the awareness of bootlegging.

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A similar sentiment is present in Tree Identification For Beginners. Proposing a getable thing that includes an attitude of shareability is central to Barrada’s work but especially the book which is a substantial piece of art in its self. Barrada presents a fashion in which this tangible article elicits a sense of urgency; a call to action surrounded by a larger culture that might seek to silence it.

Barrada installs film and performance works that are designed in the temporal as is evident in the book Tree Identification For Beginners. The work is fleeting and by the same token, the art book is purposely not archival, a nod to but also a gentle shove against a loftier art world and its more precious publications.

For most art book printers, Tree Identification is a wholly unique situation. Usually, art book printers would not have instant access to some of the processes utilized here. Silkscreen printing and newsprint paper require multiple sources. This hints at a highly collaborative sense of community.

Attainability and the DIY nature of this art book demand a is a reflection in its price. The printing of the book demonstrates that a short-run, small batch boutique book printing is affordable if not fairly inexpensive. Available to a much larger pool of artists.

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Pace Gallery publishes Tree Identification For Beginners in New York City. Printed Matter offers it for sale both in person and on their website.