I was invited to write a review of Storefront’s Archizines exhibition for Arquine‘s 60th-anniversary “Representation in Architecture” issue. I can’t post the entire text because, well, I’m actually getting paid for this article (imagine that!), but I will share a few bits and pieces of the unedited text:
On a glorious spring day, when New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture folded open its gallery walls onto Kenmare Street, a breeze rustled thousands of bound, clipped, and stapled pages inside. Perched on metal rods rising from the floor were 80 alternative and independent architectural publications representing a wide variety of formal and editorial formats, countries of origin, topical content, and graphic styles. Some specimens were so slight that a small gust of wind would’ve sent them airborne, so they had to be fastened to their stands. Yet all throughout the gallery, all species of periodicals – magazines, zines, journals, broadsheets – exhibited an animation and restlessness; they flapped their pages in the breeze, hinting that at any second they could take flight….
…The Archizines exhibition is only the latest in a flurry of recent exhibitions, events, and publications exploring the past, present, and future of architectural periodicals. As the materiality of architectural practice itself has shifted dramatically over the past 20+ years, we’ve witnessed a growth of interest in the materiality and politics of architectural discourse. Much design discussion has moved online, but Archizines, as the exhibition’s organizers suggest, reflects our “residual love of the printed and paper page.” Love, yes – but our interest in these objects isn’t merely about vestigial affection or nostalgia; it’s rooted in the conviction that “printed matter matters.” These objects, waving in the wind and then surrendering in readers’ hands, are vibrant matter; they have the capacity to give rise to public spheres and imagined communities. They’re vital elements of a whole ecosystem of material architectural discourse and mediated representation….