Skip to main content
Boekenrek met publicaties

A KIND OF A 'HUH?'*

Artist publications, a guide

After decades on the margins, the medium of artist publication is gaining popularity. Increasingly, artists are choosing this art form to express artistic ideas, and art collectors and museums are showing increasing interest in it. That is why the Middelheim Museum has initiated a subsidised, two-year project around the artists' publications in the museum library.

During this project, we will explore exactly what artist publications are and screen the library collection in search of undiscovered examples. For this project, the Middelheim Museum is collaborating with the ArchiVolt research group, a research group of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (KASKA). ArchiVolt is represented by Johan Pas, director of KASKA, researcher and collector of artists' publications; and Nico Dockx, artist, lecturer at KASKA, publisher and also collector of artists' publications. During this two-year project, we will use ArchiVolt's expertise to select these artist publications in our collection and also identify the different criteria.

In order to also introduce the general public to these special publications, ArchiVolt is organising five public meetings in collaboration with the library of the Middelheim Museum, during which various speakers who work with and around artists' publications will enter into conversation with Johan Pas and Nico Dockx. The series of meetings will result in a symposium and book launch.

*I realised that for the first time, this book had an inexplicable thing I was looking for, and that was a kind of a 'Huh?'. That's what I've always worked around. All it is, is a device to disarm somebody with my particular message. A lot of artists use that.

(Edward Ruscha in conversation with Willoughby Sharp, Avalanche No. 7, New York, Winter-Spring 1973, pp. 30-39) 

Programme of meetings

Sunday 24 Nov. (hours to be confirmed): Nico Dockx and Johan Pas.

In the first session, Nico Dockx and Johan Pas will explain what an artist publication is and the various, corresponding subcategories. Both do so from their own professional backgrounds, Nico as an artist and Johan as an art historian. This session will also feature examples of the different types of artist publications.

Date to be confirmed: gerlach en koop. 

During the second meeting, Nico Dockx and Johan Pas will engage with the artist collective gerlach en koop. This collective is currently working on a similar project at the Royal Library in The Hague. It looks at the similarities and differences between the two projects and how they work at the Royal Library of The Hague.

Date to be confirmed: Luc Derycke, Julie Peeters, Sophie Nys, Dennis Tyfus (a panel discussion moderated by Nico Dockx and Johan Pas).

The third session will feature authors and publishers of artists' publications. As authors and publishers themselves, Nico Dockx and Johan Pas will interact with other authors and publishers. The speakers for this session are not yet known.

Date to be confirmed: graphic designer Irma Boom in conversation about her 'Book Manifest' and her views on artist publications.

Date to be confirmed: a panel discussion with some public and private collectors of artists' publications, moderated by Nico Dockx and Johan Pas. Names of participants to be confirmed.

Symposium programme

Thu. 23 Nov 2023: symposium curated by Nico Dockx and Johan Pas. Names of speakers yet to be confirmed. Book launch

Practical information

  • Admission: free
  • Location: The public meetings will take place in the Bourla Theatre of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (KASKA), Blindestraat 35, B-2000 Antwerp.
  • Language: Meetings will be conducted in English.
  • More info can be found here