Aspen: The 1960s multi-format magazine
Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
18 June – 2 July 2013
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Aspen, described in the 1960s as ‘the first three-dimensional magazine’ was published in California on an irregular schedule from 1965 to 1971. Many leading figures in contemporary North American and European art and cultural criticism were involved in its production as editors, designers or contributors and this, along with its unique format, has contributed to its art historical importance and continued relevance to contemporary art and design practices of today.
Rather than bound printed pages, Aspen was issued in a customized box or folder containing a wide range of items including posters, postcards, tickets, booklets, reels of super-8 movie film and ‘flexi disc’ phonographic recordings. These different published formats turned the magazine into a space where artists were able to move outside the gallery and engage with a broader social and political sphere. As the magazine’s editor Phyllis Johnson claimed: Aspen presented ‘Actual works of art! Exactly as the artist created them. In exactly the medium s/he created them for’.
Few complete sets of Aspen remain and, as such, this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see items from across all ten issues as well many important individual pieces which have acquired specific art historical and cultural significance. Items featured include contributions by Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, John Cage, Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, George Kubler, Dan Graham, Robert Smithson, George Maciunas, Lou Reed, Ed Ruscha and Hetty MacLise.
Curated by Lisa Stephanides (MA Book Design) Aspen is a joint exhibition by the Department of Art and Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, supported by Arts Committee, University of Reading