University of Reading
Supervised by Dr Ruth Blacksell, Programme Director in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, the University of Reading and Maxine Miller, Library Collections Manager, Tate Britain
October 2015 –

Photograph of a selection of archive documents, publications including 'I See/You Mean: a novel by Lucy R Lippard', New Wilderness Letter, and the contents page of Readings (February 1977 issue)

A selection of examples of artists’ publishing included in the research
Photo courtesy Karen Di Franco

How can reconsideration of artists’ publishing through embodied, iterative material describe an approach to artists’ writing largely left out of historical accounts? What properties are retained through engaging with published materials in their original formats and how do they assist with an analysis of contexts of artists’ publishing as a post-1960s art form?

By staying close to material, this thesis proposes to articulate a series of published works into a relationship with contemporary accounts of dematerialised practices, through the perspective of women’s writing and publishing, focusing on published works by Lucy Lippard, Carolee Schneemann and Constance DeJong.

Ranging from documents of performance, correspondence, articles, catalogues, serial journals and artist books, each item contains material that has been published (and often republished), distributed, purchased and finally collected and stored within the Artist Book Collection, the Serial and Journal Collection, individual archives, and the personal libraries of artists held at Tate Britain. Separated across library and archive collections, and therefore subject to different forms of categorisation, the project of this thesis has been to reconstitute a collection of previously overlooked and seemingly unconnected items that expand notions of the relevancy of publishing in its expanded form, specific to its production in the UK, yet connected and descriptive of an international network of practitioners.

About Karen Di Franco

Karen Di Franco is a curator and writer working within the contexts of archives and publishing, with a focus on practices that emerge between text and performance, the page and the body. Frequently concerned with an inter-generational dialogue with these forms, Di Franco has curated exhibitions that incorporate materials described as ephemeral, yet resistant to categorisation. Recently she has written about Kathy Acker’s concrete poetry, and co-curated a screening programme of women artists’ films.

Twitter @archivist23