“It has never been my ambition to treat artworks as illustrations of philosophical doctrines. Rather, I believe that the works explored give rise to their own set of concepts.”
A philosophical essay on time, phenomenology and beyond, Daniel Birnbaum’s Chronology was recently reviewed in the April 2006 issue of frieze as a “compelling and sophisticated take on the common theme of Deleuzian immanence.”
Whereas many theoretical books littering the bookshops of art institutions are laudations of excess, Birnbaum’s convictions presented in Chronology cut a way through the “caesuras of non-meaning and blankness into the thick web of sense.” The works of artists such as Stan Douglas, Eija-Liisa Athila, Doug Aitken, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Tacita Dean, Darren Almond, Tobias Rehberger, Pierre Huyghe, and Philippe Parreno are scrutinized as so many attempts to capture the very dialectic of time itself.
As Brian Dillon writes in frieze, “Birnbaum’s notion of an art of unpredictable becoming … has its aporias too. A brief aside apropos Matthew Barney – to the effect that his art is all meaning, all of the time – is quite telling.”
Daniel Birnbaum is Rector of the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and Director of its Portikus gallery. A contributing editor of Artforum, he is the author of a number of texts on art and philosophy.
October 2005, Series 013
Softcover, 4 3/8 x 6 3/4 inches
115 pp, 1 color reproduction
ISBN: 0-9745688-3-X · Retail Price: $19.95
The Hospitality of Presence
Originally written as a doctoral dissertation, Daniel Birnbaum’s The Hospitality of Presence reveals the conceptual origins of Chronology, his seminal and oft-used contemporary manifesto. In this updated version of The Hospitality of Presence, Birnbaum annotates and illustrates key elements of the original text, providing an engaging introduction to an otherwise highly academic text. Concepts such as phenomenology, otherness, temporality, and intersubjectivity are being revisited through the prism of contemporary art, literature, and art criticism. With an introduction by Hans Ulrich Obrist, this text is a compelling and necessary addition to any contemporary library. Furthermore, it is a must read for students of cultural theory and philosophy. Daniel Birnbaum is rector of the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, director of its Portikus Gallery and a contributing editor of Artforum.
September 2008 / Softcover / 8 x 10 1/4 inches
ISBN: 978-1-933128-28-3 · Retail Price: $29.95
Variations on an American Theme
1968 / Hardcover / 4 1/8 x 6 inches / 105 pp
ISBN: 0-87130-000-1 · Retail Price: $26.00
Lars Mørch Finborud
The Black Signs, the first novel from Norwegian art historian and curator Lars Mørch Finborud is a well-crafted and inventive story with a dark subject. A lawyer charged with inventorying an estate whose owner has disappeared discovers the abandoned house is crammed with piles of black signs, memorial plaques dedicated to inconsequential, horrible or forgotten events—documentation of a hidden reality—an unprecedented project on a huge scale. He comes across passionate letters addressed to a mysterious friend and tucked among the piles he discovers remnants of a catalog listing millions of relics and collectors’ objects from the history of modern art, all of which at one time had been auctioned. What follows soon adds up to an incredible and at times ambiguously dazzling tale that is at once unique and yet truly of our time.
October 2015 / Softcover
5 1/2 x 8 inches / 208 pp
ISBN: 978-3-943196-29-0 · Retail Price: $16.95
The Right to Know in the Age of Mass Surveillance
A Google executive once said: “If you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet.” But how do you liberate a society that already has the Internet? A new generation has taken to the Internet to defend the right to governance without secrets—from Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, to the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and the revelations of Edward Snowden. A wide-ranging and multifaceted coalition is now busy revealing the militarized dystopia at the core of the modern state. The possibilities the Internet offers for self-organization and the sharing of information are undermined by the economically motivated power structure of the hidden, which does not fit with our democratic humanitarian principles. Metahaven (@mthvn), a Dutch design and research collective led by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden, has vocally supported WikiLeaks through their graphic design work. In this exhibition document cum manifesto, Metahaven’s research and design work is translated into visual proposals, infographics, garments, short film and video interviews with internet activists and experts who weigh in on the ambiguity, contradictions and potential around the production and distribution of information. Contributions by media theorist Benjamin Bratton, intellectual property specialist James Grimmelmann, programmer Vinay Gupta, information activist Smári McCarthy, self-described “hacker” Eleanor Saitta and architect Liam Young. The book accompanies eponymous exhibitions of Metahaven’s work at Bureau Europa in Maastricht and Future Gallery in Berlin.
February 2016 / Softcover
5 x 7 ¾ inches / 288 pp / 100 b&w and color
ISBN: 978-3-95679-006-5 · Retail Price: $30.00
The Autobiography of Video
The Life and Times of a Memory Technology
In her innovative take on early video art, Norwegian scholar Ina Blom considers the widespread notion that video technology was endowed with lifelike memory and agency. She follows the unfolding of a technology that folded artists and artistic frameworks into the creation of new technical and social realities. She documents, among other things, video’s development through the framework of painting, its identification with biological life, its exploration of the outer limits of technical and mental time control, and its construction of new realms of labor and collaboration. Enlisting her distinctly archaeological approach in studying the field of new media art, Blom’s new book—her second from Sternberg—is a brilliant look at the relationship between video memory and social ontology. Blom is a professor at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo, as well as visiting professor at the Department of Art History, University of Chicago.
May 2016 / Softcover
6 ¼ x 9 inches / 256 pp / 50color
ISBN: 978-3-95679-189-5 · Retail Price: $29.00
David Maroto & Joanna Zieli´n ska (Eds.)
Devoted to the phenomenon of the artist novel, Book Lovers asks the question whether the artist novel can or should be considered a medium in its own right within the visual arts, like video or installation. By introducing traits from narrative literature such as narration, fiction, identification and the act of reading, visual artists incorporate different strategies to integrate their novels into their practice. In this publication, curators David Maroto and Joanna Zieli´nska engage a discussion on artist novels in the 20th century. Works by Guy de Cointet, Henry Joseph Darger, Yayoi Kusama, Jill Magid, Richard Prince and others are illustrated and examined. Contributions by a selected group of artists, writers, curators and scholars including Roland Barthes, Liam Gillick, Kenneth Goldsmith, Tom McCarthy, Ingo Niermann, Seth Price, Seth Siegelaub among others demonstrate that literature, when treated by visual artists, can take its place well beyond the space of the book.
Release Date: May 2015
Softcover / 6 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
200 pp / 10 b&w and 15 color
ISBN: 978-3-95679-076-8 · Retail Price: $34.00
The Medium in the Post-Medium Condition
Zachary Kaplan (Ed.)
For many people the normal way to access art and culture is through the Internet. Yet, museums, galleries, and other traditional memory institutions treat the Internet as a secondary space for research, documentation, context or simply distraction. These current norms challenge all existing organizational models and demand a rethinking of institutional practices: acts of representation, modes of address, curation, metrics, use of scale and the primacy of the traditional white cube itself. Published on the twentieth anniversary of Rhizome, an art institution based in the Internet, this collection features essays by curators, programmers, critics and Internet-based artists on an institution whose pioneering institutional models and practices respond to the digital networks at its core. With contributions by video artist Hannah Black, curator and founder of Lunch Bytes Melanie Buhler, NY digital magazine Triple Canopy, V4ULT and digital artists Michael Connor and Kimberly Drew, among many others.
May 2016 / Softcover
9 ¼ x 6 ½ inches / 250 pp / 25 b&w and 20 color
ISBN: 978-3-95679-163-5 · Retail Price: $28.00
Stuart Bailey, Angie Keefer & David Reinfurt (Eds.)
A continuation of the series Bulletins of The Serving Library, a cooperatively built archive, #8 explores the notion of “medium” in many senses of the word. Produced on the occasion of Tate Liverpool’s 2014 event Making Things Public, where The Serving Library’s collection of artifacts was installed alongside two related exhibitions, Transmitting Andy Warhol and a solo exhibit by video artist Gretchen Bender, this publication examines how different generations of artists have responded to and experimented with mass media to extend the possibilities of artistic practice. Included are an email exchange between London-based designer Paul Elliman and pioneer of voice synthesis Richard T. Gagnon, and a collage of voices that conjure Warhol’s aura by British writer and novelist Michael Bracewell. With further contributions by Elie Apache, Stuart Bailey, Eli Diner, Emily Gephart, Lucy Mulroney, Larissa Harris and Joe Scanlan.
February 2016 / Softcover
6 ½ x 9 ½ inches / 152 pp / 19 b&w
ISBN: 978-3-95679-127-7 · Retail Price: $20.00
Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw
The latest in a series of absorbing theoretical essays edited by the curatorial dream team of Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw. In this pocket-sized paperback, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth explores the practice and, as she attests, self-reflexive work by the 18th-century French master of the still life, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin. Lajer-Burcharth, a Guggenheim fellow and professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard University, delves into the implications of Chardin’s possessive and personalized approach to the processof painting, and asks why he abruptly stopped painting still lifes and began creating genre paintings. The essay becomes a dialog when Birnbaum and Graw respond and the author further replies. Other titles in the series include Under Pressure and Canvases and Careers.
November 2011 / Softcover / 4 7/8 x 7 1/2 inches / 72 pp / 9 b&w
ISBN: 978-1-934105-47-4 · Retail Price: $19.95