Ten Artists’ Book Publishers in Their Own Words (1960-1980) — 2 volumes

This book collects the oral testimonies, in English, of a group of publishers of artists’ books. During the two founding decades of the 1960s and 1970s, they were pioneers in the countries where they worked and where some of them are still working: Hansjörg Mayer, Simon Cutts in the United Kingdom, Leif Eriksson in Sweden.
In addition to the historical interest of these interviews, rich in first-hand informations, there is another interest, more theoretical: they lead to reconsidering the importance of the publisher in the production of artists’ books when the genre was just emerging. Indeed, artists have often claimed that they chose the medium of the book to free themselves from institutional constraints and the art market. Autonomy was the key-word. They have therefore emphasised the self-publishing model and minimised the role of publishers. However, the interviews gathered here show, with concrete examples and meaningful anecdotes, that some publishers played a crucial part in the history of the artist’s book at the start.
Their role was undoubtedly different from that of the traditional art publisher: the aim of this survey is also to put the emphasis on an original figure. It highlights ten non-conformist publishers, each of whom has left his or her singular mark on the artist’s book as it tries to define its identity.