Lithographs, Publications & Ephemera from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design
In 1967, a new President, Garry Neill Kennedy, transformed the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, Canada, into an international center for conceptual art. Lucy Lippard, in her 1969 lecture to NSCAD students, talked of “dispersing information about art and information that is art.” Her words exemplify the philosophical underpinnings of the school: actual production of projects and artworks with the students as participants became the teaching method of choice. In the NSCAD Lithography Workshop, prints by Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Dan Graham, Sol LeWitt, Les Levine, the N.E. Thing Company, Michael Snow and others were in many cases the first prints they ever made: many of those are included in this exhibition. A complete set of the original, first-edition publications of the fabled NSCAD Press, originated by Kasper Koenig in 1973, will also be on view. In addition to NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery, which still exists today, their tiny Mezzanine Gallery pumped out one ground-breaking project after another: we are exhibiting early ephemera, demonstrating the explosion of activity from the period. Recent bookworks by current students along with a selection of work by NSCAD alumni bring the show up to the present.
The title of the exhibition, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, is taken from the title of Baldessari’s lithograph of 1971, and the installation of the same name that he installed at the Mezzanine Gallery at NSCAD at the invitation of the Director, Charlotte Townsend-Gault. The remarkable program that this unsung heroine of contemporary art assembled is reflected in the complete set of invitation cards we are exhibiting here: in its three years of operation, this miniscule space presented 68 remarkable projects and exhibitions by artists such as Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Daniel Buren, James Lee Byars, Dan Graham, On Kawara, N.E. Thing Company, Ger van Elk, Lawrence Weiner, Martha Wilson, and many more.
In addition to the Baldessari print, we include in this exhibition early lithographs by Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Douglas Huebler, Les Levine, Sol LeWitt, the NE Thing Company and others: some of these are available for purchase for the first time in many years (many, unfortunately, are out of print).
The NSCAD Press, founded by Kasper Koenig in 1973, continues a prior publishing activity that was already exceptional: Lawrence Weiner’s first book, Flowed 1971), was produced at the College, for example, as was the NE Thing Company’s Trans VSI Connection NSCAD-NETCO, and Douglas Huebler’s Duration Piece #8. Koenig’s remarkable production of books included artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Michael Snow, Donald Judd and Hans Haacke. Benjamin Buchloh continued the program into the 80s with books by Martha Rosler, Jenny Holzer, Carl Andre, Gerhard Richter and others. We are pleased to exhibit a complete set of the publications, many available for purchase. NSCAD has long been a hotbed of production for the artist book: we include in this exhibition student work from Garry Neill Kennedy’s Printed Matter class, including the collaborative publications produced each semester. Kennedy himself has been an avid producer of artist’s books for some 40 years: a selection of Kennedy’s own books from recent years provides a fitting conclusion to the exhibition.
A special thanks to Peter Dykhuis and Garry Neill Kennedy at NSCAD, who did so much to make this exhibition possible; and to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, for additional funding.