Clip/Stamp/Fold was the first exhibition of independent architectural magazines produced in the 1960s and 1970s. It was curated by renowned architectural theorist Beatriz Colomina and a group of PhD students at the Princeton University, School of Architecture. The exhibition was first presented in New York at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2006. It has since met great critical acclaim especially for remaining geographically specific to each city where it is presented. While the concept and presentation elements are portable, the archival magazines vary, being sourced from local collections. Since its debut in New York, it has traveled to the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Documenta 12, Kassel; AA, London; and Norsk Form, Oslo with plans to go to Madrid and Barcelona.
With the help of architectural critic and curator Adele Weder, the CAG researched and assembled from local collections architectural magazines for exhibition. Clip/Stamp/Fold also included custom wallpaper featuring images of the magazines, facsimiles of historical magazines for viewers to peruse, and a historical timeline examining the social and political contexts behind many of the collected magazines.
For Clip/Stamp/Fold 6, the CAG organized a comprehensive program of talks, inviting architects, writers and publishers from the region to respond to the exhibition. Beatriz Colomina gave public a lecture on the exhibition on October 14.
Wham! Zoom! Zing! Rave! – and it’s not Ready Steady Go, even though it sometimes looks like it. The sound effects are produced by the erupting of underground architectural protest magazines. Architecture, staid queen-mother of the arts, is no longer courted by plush glossies and cool scientific journals alone, but is having her skirts blown up and her bodice unzipped by irregular newcomers which are – typically – rhetorical, with-it, moralistic, mis-spelled, improvisatory, anti-smooth, funny-format, cliquey, art-oriented but stoned out of their minds with science-fiction images of an alternative architecture that would be perfectly possible tomorrow if only the Universe (and especially the Law of Gravity) were differently organized.
Reyner Banham, “Zoom Wave Hits Architecture” New Society 3, March 1966
An explosion of architectural little magazines in the 1960s and 1970s instigated a radical transformation in architectural culture, in which the architecture of the magazines vied with buildings as the site of innovation and debate. Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines, 196x – 1970x took stock of over seventy little magazines from this period, which was published in over a dozen cities. Coined in the early twentieth century to designate progressive literary journals, the term “little magazine” is not taken at face value. In addition to short-lived, radical magazines, Clip/Stamp/Fold included pamphlets and building instruction manuals as well as professional magazines that experienced “moments of littleness,” influenced by the graphics and intellectual concerns of their self-published contemporaries.
Clip/Stamp/Fold explored the vastness and heterogeneity of this remarkable explosion of independent architectural publishing in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition’s annotated timeline served as a cross-section tracking the progression and the transformations of little magazines through the design of their covers. A selection of original magazines surveyed the variety of unique formats, re-introducing rare examples from private collections, and was expanded by complete facsimiles for visitors to browse. Audio interviews with editors and designers of these publications punctuated the room, and transcriptions of parts of these interviews appear in this newsletter. In addition, many of these editors and designers had been invited to respond to the exhibition through a series of Little Magazines / Small Talks events held at the various venues. Selections of these discussions were presented in the gallery in DVD form. An implicit aim of the exhibition was to invite reflection on contemporary uses of media in architecture. Assembling all these remarkable documents for the first time offered a unique view of a key period of architectural innovation and challenged today’s architects to provoke a similar intensity.
The exhibition was a collaborative research and design project by a team of Ph.D. candidates at the School of Architecture at Princeton University led by Professor Beatriz Colomina and was the outcome of two years of seminars, interviews, and visits with the editors, architects and theorists who produced the magazines. The project team includes Craig Buckley, Anthony Fontenot, Urtzi Grau, Lisa Hsieh, Alicia Imperiale, Lydia Kallipoliti, Olympia Kazi, Daniel Lopez-Perez, and Irene Sunwoo. The exhibition began in 2006 at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, and has traveled to the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Documenta 12, (where it was part of the Archplus exhibition “The Making of your Magazines”), the Architectural Association, London, and most recently at the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, Oslo.
With a mandate that focuses on emerging local artists, it is perhaps unusual for the ContemporaryArtGalleryto present an exhibition with an historical focus in the field of architecture. With Clip/Stamp/Fold, however, this exception seemed slight and more than justified by current trends in visual art practices. While arising from different sets of conditions and with equally diverse intentionality’s, many of the little magazines presented in Clip/Stamp/Fold, along with many of the artists who created conceptual magazine pieces in the 1960s and 70s, shared antecedents in the common culture that continue to inform and inspire a current generation of practitioners. Radical utopian themes of transformation – through conscientious interjections into the broad social fabric, through media, through a realignment of the status and relations of art and architecture – these were dreams of the seventies that are again concrete objectives among artists in our midst. Clip/Stamp/Fold seemed a timely opportunity to take a retrospective view of some of those impulses, how they had been manifested, and how they were being transformed in the light of current issues.
Each iteration of Clip/Stamp/Fold – and this is the 6th – has varied in the specific historical material that is included in the exhibition. At the Contemporary Art Gallery all of this material had been gathered from local collections, revealing distinct vectors of exchange between Vancouver and other localities where these ideas were shared and flourished. We were indebted to Adele Weder who had led the CAG’s research into this treasure trove. We were, as well, immensely grateful to the numerous lenders who had generously parted with their precious objects so that this show could provide that rich local picture.
Art and architecture intersect in built form and in the definition of public space. This is recognized and promoted by urban planning policies that require developers to invest in public art, and the city of Vancouver had approved robust improvements to its public art policy. Realizing the strong aesthetic and social objectives of this policy would have been greatly enhanced by a sustained conversation between artists and architects. Clip/Stamp/Fold was an opportunity for the Contemporary Art Gallery to provide a site for that conversation to unfold. Toward this end we had planned numerous events. Many individuals from the art and architecture community participated in these talks and panels and we thank them for their contributions and support.
The enthusiasm with which architecture and development firms had responded to our appeal for their support had been very gratifying, not just for the financial resources that they had directed to this project, but also for the confirmation that the interest in the issues and themes of Clip/Stamp/Fold reached far into our community. The Contemporary Art Gallery was very proud to participate in this project.
- Christina Ritchie
Are you a teacher looking to further educate your class about one of our exhibitions? Or, maybe you are planning a field trip and would like some further guidance.
Teachers’ Guides support educators who wish to visit the CAG with their students or who wish to carry out lessons related to CAG exhibitions in their classrooms. They include artist biographies, thematic exhibition overviews, suggested points of discussion, as well as recommended readings and references.
Lesson Plans are designed to bring the resources of contemporary art and artists to diverse classrooms. It is our goal to introduce students of all ages to the richness that engaging with contemporary art brings. Such breadth and diversity show that it can be used as a meaningful springboard in teaching a variety of subjects. Please feel free to adapt lessons to suit the specific needs of your class and curriculum.MORE