Jul 22 2011

Book Blog: Multiplicity

by Sahar Baharloo

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine spotted a young woman strolling down Graham Avenue in Brooklyn wearing a homemade T-shirt depicting Walter Benjamin’s seminal work The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936). I found this story hilarious on several levels, one being that since the T-shirt was homemade and seen worn in Brooklyn, it must be ironic. For those unfamiliar, the gist of Benjamin’s essay is that the rise of reproduction of artwork would lead to the inevitable decrease in the art’s worth. He was on target in the sense that the exact opposite happened: The more an artwork is reproduced, the higher its value is.

This week’s Book Blog, Multiplicity: Prints and Multiples from the Collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of Wollongong explores the history and significance of reproduced art. They cleverly made the dust jacket into a pulled out poster, a reproduction of Marie McMahon’s 1978 Keep Warm This Winter —Make Trouble!!

Peeling it open.

The curator for this project, Glenn Barkley,  brings up the idea that a “print” can be more than a screen print or an etching. He uses the golf balls, pencils and condoms created by Jenny Holzer as examples of non-tradtional prints.

And since the readers of ArtAsiaPacific are far too advanced for a spread of Warhols, here is a spread of some works from the Fluxus movement.

Multiplicity was released in 2006, but if you are still interested, MCA still has plenty of materials available on their site.

Book Blog is a weekly showcase of book design from ArtAsiaPacific’s areas of coverage and is written by AAP’s designer Sahar Baharloo. All images were taken by our photo editor Alis Atwell.