Not to build 6 Decades up too much, but I came across it when I was researching “the best bookshops in the world.” Based in New York, this little building houses some of the most fascinating artistic tomes to grace the planet. Jeremy Sanders, the shop’s curator, says that “6 Decades is dedicated to artists’ books, the history of the book as an artistic medium, and to documenting the essential role these books have played in the development of contemporary art.” Here he is after choosing just five books from the whole shop, something which you can imagine was incredibly difficult. If you’re in the area, check out their site for updates on fun, book-related events they hold on the premises.
Chris Burden: B-Car
B-Car is the quintessential Chris Burden project: part performance art, part science experiment, with an implicit social critique. The book is an essential part of the artwork, and every bit as lean and mean as the B-Car itself.
Germano Celant: Book as Artwork
The first book on artists’ books. Celant’s essay situates practice of making books in the context of the explosion of new media forms (from film and video, to performance and happenings) that artists began to explore in the latter half of the 20th Century.
Mike Kelley: The Uncanny
Kelley’s installation/curatorial work wasn’t seen by many people in 1993 but through the publication (which was later reprinted, along with a re-staging of the original exhibition) has come to be seen as hugely influential and important work.
Martha Roseler: Three Works
The publication which includes Rosler’s The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems, one of the very best artworks of the 20th century, period.
Paul Thek and Edwin Klein: A Document
Like a lot of Paul Thek’s work it is hard to say exactly what this is. Spontaneous collaborative photomontage as tabletop performance art, maybe. The book is unclassifiable, but totally compelling.