• "Identity"
    Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt
    Artists Space, New York
    Oct 30, 2011 to Jan 15, 2012
    Artists Space

Dexter Sinister, "Identity", 2011, installation view at Artists Space, New York. Courtesy the artists and Artists Space. Photo: Daniel Perez.

“Identity” is an exhibition that charts the emergence and proliferation of graphic identity since the turn of the twentieth century, with particular reference to contemporary art institutions—museums, galleries, and so-called alternative spaces.

The period since the 1960s in particular has seen significant shifts in the perceived role of contemporary art in society, as well as the impact organizations displaying art have on economic and political infrastructures (and vice versa). “Identity” attempts to animate the typically fraught relationship between cultural and corporate spheres, as contemporary art institutions become increasingly preoccupied with their own image. How does the conception of "identity"—through an organization's use of graphic design, its marketing and branding—function to mediate between audience, artwork, and institution? Centering on a three-screen projected film produced by designers, publishers, and writers Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt, “Identity” projects how art organizations negotiate their positions on a spectrum of ideology and economy.

Co-operated by Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt, Dexter Sinister constitutes a triangle of activities: (a) a publishing imprint, (b) a workshop and bookstore, and (c) a pseudonym making site- and time-specific work, typically in art venues. Reinfurt graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1993; Yale University in 1999; and formed the design studio O-R-G in 2000. Bailey graduated from the University of Reading in 1994; the Werkplaats Typografie in 2000; and cofounded the journal Dot Dot Dot that same year. Dexter Sinister was originally set up to model a "just-in-time" economy of print production, counter to the contemporary assembly-line realities of large-scale publishing. This involves avoiding waste by working on-demand; utilizing local cheap machinery; considering alternate distribution strategies; and collapsing distinctions between editing, design, production, and distribution into one efficient activity. Since then, their work has branched (pragmatically) into many different contexts and venues.

James Goggin founded London-based graphic design studio Practise in 1999 after graduating from the Royal College of Art. In August 2010, Goggin moved to Chicago where he is now design director at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

David Senior is the bibliographer at the Museum of Modern Art Library in New York. As a bibliographer, he manages collection development of the library's general holdings, as well as selects the materials for the artists' books collection. He has previously worked at the Newberry Library, the Philadelphia Print Shop, and the American Philosophical Society.

Robert Snowden graduated from Colorado College in 2007, and has worked for the New Yorker, DIA Art Foundation, and Dexter Sinister. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in N+1, Frieze, Metropolis M, F. R. David, Dot Dot Dot, and Paper Monument.

Since 1972, Artists Space has successfully contributed to changing the institutional and economic landscape for contemporary art in New York City—lending support to emerging ideas and emerging artists, alike. Today, 40 years later, Artists Space is a place for discussion and examination that proposes new modes of production, setting new relations into play and shifting its focus away from the presentation of works alone—ultimately, a center for new ideas in a radically changing world.