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.

Editions (clockwise) BY Aura Roseberg, Becca Albee, Mended Veil, Aurel Schmidt, B. Wurtz, Nate Hylden, B'L'ING. Photo by Susan Barber.

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.

Martine Syms
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