• Michael Asher’s “Writings 1973–1983 On Works 1969–1979”
    Michael Asher
    Benjamin H.D. Buchloh
    Primary Information, 2021
    Primary Information

Michael Asher, Writings 1973–1983 On Works 1969–1979 (book cover). Courtesy of Primary Information.

Michael Asher’s “Writings 1973–1983 On Works 1969–1979” provides audiences with invaluable access to a long out-of-print publication containing writings and documentation for a decade of work by the renowned conceptual artist. This collection was originally published in 1983 and edited by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh for the Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The writings document some of the artist’s best-known works, which intervene the physical and conceptual frameworks around cultural institutions. The book features over 300 images, including photographic documentation, floor plans, and architectural drawings for 33 works by the artist.

Michael Asher (1943–2012) was a Los Angeles-based conceptual artist. Beginning in the late 1960s, the artist began to produce site-specific, non-object based works that deliberately drew attention to the materials of their production. Asher created engaging, interactive reconfigurations of gallery and exhibition spaces throughout the 1970s, aligning the artist with Institutional Critique—a movement that questioned the relationship between the artist and audience, as well as the role of galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions in the production and commodification of art. His work has been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou (France), documenta (Germany), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Santa Monica Museum of Art (California), the Venice Biennale (Italy), and The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). Asher taught at the California Institute of the Arts for more than 30 years and was known for his influential contributions to art pedagogy.

Benjamin H. D. Buchloh is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Modern Art in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and an editor of October magazine. He is the author of Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975 (MIT Press, 2003), Formalism and Historicity: Models and Methods in Twentieth-Century Art (MIT Press, 2015), and other books. In 2007, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his contributions to contemporary art as an art historian.

James Hoff is the director and cofounder of Primary Information and an artist. Since 2000, he has worked at more than a dozen nonprofit arts organizations including Artists Space, Participant Inc, Printed Matter, and Thread Waxing Space. He has edited more than 150 publications.

Primary Information was founded in 2006 to publish affordable artists’ books and artists’ writings. The organization’s mission is two-fold: (1) to publish out-of-print books that remain vital to ongoing conversations around artistic practice and (2) to publish contemporary books by emerging, mid-career, and established artists. The organization’s period of focus is from the early sixties to the present, with an emphasis on the conceptual practice of using publications as a distributable exhibition space that seeks to reach a global audience. All books are sold at cost so that they are as affordable and accessible as possible and to this end, the organization also publishes free PDFs of publications online.