Our latest “Centerfield” column is now up on Art21 blog. This week, I talked to Chicago artist/educator/gallerist Dan Devening of devening projects + editions. In particular, I wanted to learn more about the editions side of Dan’s project, because I often feel that artists’ multiples gets short shrift when it comes to contemporary art discourse. Devening Projects will be opening a new exhibition of artist’s multiples on January 30th alongside a new “Kabinett” exhibition featuring works by Andreas Fischer and Melissa Pokorny. An excerpt from the Art:21 interview is below; please click on over to Art:21 to read the full piece! Also, the Art:21 interview is excerpted from a much lengthier transcript. We’ll be posting the full exchange with Dan Devening here on the blog tomorrow.
Claudine Ise: Can you take us through the process – both the creative and production sides—of creating an edition/multiple?
Dan Devening: In most cases, when I propose the publication of an edition with an artist, I’ll show them a bunch of examples of recent work and use those examples to open a door to what’s possible within the project. Mostly, I’m hoping that they’ll take up the challenge and approach the process as an experience that can expose their practice to something new. Because there is the necessity that the work be an edition, the requirement that there be multiple copies of the work sets up a nice set of parameters. The artist may have some ideas about how they might proceed and if that’s the case, we’ll start talking about production methods or options. The great thing about doing editions with artists is that they’re artists; they’re trained to be creative problem solvers, so I’ve never been disappointed with the editions that have come out of these conversations. For example, a recent piece from Nathaniel Robinson called Dreg is a resin-cast styrofoam cup. It’s a one-to-one replica of the real thing—including teeth marks near the rim—that also includes a set of greasy fingerprints on the inside of the cup. I don’t know how Nathaniel made this edition of three and I don’t think I ever want to know. The mystery of this modest little object is its beauty. My only fear with Dreg is that someone will mistakenly throw it in the trash. (Read more).
I first heard about North Drive Press while working at Ooga Booga. It was selling well because it had been featured on Daily Candy, an insider newsletter on the “latest in fashion, food, and fun.” I think North Drive Press counts as fun. Daily Candy had pegged it as a tool to impress art snobs, a key to unlock the world of contemporary art.
Technically, North Drive Press is a cardboard box of artist multiples, interviews and texts. It was started in 2003 by best friends Matt Keegan and Lizzy Lee and named after the street that connects their childhood homes. The project was originally designed to function as a mobile exhibition for emerging artists, but quickly evolved into an annual non-thematic publication. Issue 5 is the final issue.
Like past issues #5 contains a variety of formats, from a Bart Simpson t-shirt to a photo of Damien Hirst’s penis. Although I don’t smoke I like handling Aurel Schmidt’s faux cigarette butt, a three-dimensional translation of her detritus drawings. For my fellow non-smokers there is also a mashed-up ‘no smoking’ sign by NY-based Nick Relph that would look amazing on an apartment wall.
What I like best about North Drive Press is that it can act as both an archive and a fanzine. It’s as important as you want it to be. You could re-gift each multiple or earnestly collect each issue. In his recent documentary,How do you document a city?, Keegan interviewed archivists in San Francisco about their city and the relationship between objects and social history. With that concept in mind, North Drive Press could be called How do you document a scene?
All of the interviews and texts from issues 1-5 are available for free on the North Drive Press website. North Drive Press #5 is available at Golden Age in Chicago, Ooga Booga in Los Angeles, and Printed Matter in New York.
View Matt Keegan’s 22-minute documentary How do you document a city? here.