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Zines: A HistoryMaster ClassIn-Person

Wednesday, Dec 06, 2023

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

In partnership with the Brooklyn Musuem

This master class will examine the artist’s ’zine. Most often associated with the explosion of punk rock at the end of the 1970s, self-published booklets, fanzines, or simply ’zines actually arose first in the context of science fiction collectors in the 1930s. Beginning in the late 1960s, artists adopted and developed the format as a vehicle for visual expression, drawing from precedents in pop art, artists’ books, mimeographed literary magazines, historical avant-garde movements such as Dada, and more contemporaneous developments in conceptual art and mail art. Overlooked in favor of artists’ books and artists’ magazines, on the one hand, and in favor of various types of music or personal expression-based zines, on the other, the artist’s ’zine forms a rich and multifaceted genre spanning over five decades of practice. This seminar will examine the artist’s ’zine in the contexts of both art and music history; issues related to the expression and exploration of race, gender, and sexuality; and notions of networking and community-building. The course will include a guided tour of the major historical exhibition, “Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines,” co-curated by Branden W. Joseph and Drew Sawyer at the Brooklyn Museum.


Branden W. Joseph

Branden W. Joseph is Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Columbia University in New York. He has published widely in the areas of modern and contemporary art, paying particular attention to artists and practices that cross traditional boundaries between visual art, music, and film. In addition to numerous articles in magazines, journals, and exhibition catalogs, he is author of five books, including Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture; Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage; and Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde. He is also editor of Carolee Schneemann: Uncollected Texts and Kim Gordon’s Is It My Body? Selected Texts. He served as consulting curator on the exhibition Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting and co-curator of Tony Oursler: UFOs and Effigies.