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Artwork Novels are making a Comeback!

Publié le 16/08/2019 à 11:45,

Art books are market products: Hardly anyone Reads them, you can not make money with them, and anyhow, there's the net. And yet, an increasing number of galleries have started producing books. Why?

A spectacular high point of this year's Frankfurt Book Fair--the largest international meeting of the industry--came when David Hockney and his publisher Benedikt Taschen introduced A Bigger Book (500 pages, 35 kilograms) into a massive audience of journalists and fans. With this $2,000 supersized artwork book Taschen has landed another coup, underlining the special status that the imprint that he founded in Cologne in 1980 has gained: Its sales strategy includes a series of boutique shops in cities such as Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Brussels, with interiors created by artists and designers such as Philippe Starck and Albert Oehlen.

The enthusiasm surrounding Hockney's Mammoth publication also reveals how significant the expensive and essentially anachronistic moderate of the book still is for today's art business. Even in the online age, or maybe particularly in such instances, the monograph is a tough money from the competition for any artist's visibility, the inherent critical being"publish or perish."
This may also partially explain the Eagerness of big international galleries like David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, or Gagosian to enter the book business. And like conventional publishing houses, these galleries print their own books catalogues, take part in trade fairs such as the Art Book Fair in New York and Los Angeles (that was for small and independent publishers), or open outlets of their own. Take for instance the bookshop at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, which opened this past spring in LA as a joint venture between the gallery and the art book distributor Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P.) that also runs memorial bookstores.

The art market appears to be positively High on books. But, again, why input publishing now, a faltering field that's economically unviable? Is your galleries' excitement for printed matter simply The flipside of a predicament which has befallen the artwork publication industry as a whole? Or Is it about beating the symbolic domain of word and image, where claims needs to Be staked in the struggle for artists and collectors?

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