GenderFail is a publishing and programming initiative run by Brett Suemnicht featuring the perspectives of queer and trans people and people of color. The project looks to build up, reinforce, and open opportunities for creative projects that focus on printed matter.
What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?
In 2010, I was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I was active in the DIY music and arts community in the city. During my time in that community, I was involved in various community spaces that had a large collection of self-published zines by artists, activists, and community members. One space in particular, the Cream City Collective, had a collection of over 1,000 zines by folks around the country. My experience in these spaces helped me realize the power of self-publishing and influenced my decision to self-produce my own publications.
Why art books? How do you define artists' book/zine/publishing?
Art books, artist books, and zines as mediums have a level of inclusivity built into them. My interest in art publishing is the opportunity for people, regardless of their economic situation, to own an original work for an affordable price. I am interested in the power of dissemination, multiples, and the printed image.
As an artist yourself, do you see publishing as an extension of your practice?
Absolutely, GenderFail is my art practice. GenderFail only exists through collaboration with other people, collective, and groups. I consider myself a facilitator rather than strictly an object maker. The programs we produce are focused on building up systems of support for queer people and people of color. One recent program we have been offering is free use of our risograph machine for queer and POC folks. I want to help people realize their projects without having lack of resources stand in the way of their projects.
Are there any organizations or people in your community that have been particularly influential to you and your project?
I am really inspired by Press Press, a storefront studio and library in Baltimore, MD. Press Press does a lot of programming based on issues of race and racism in the United States. They continue to help pave the way so that immigrants and people have color have a voice in contemporary publishing practices. Pegacorn Press, run by Caroline Paquita, is another major influence for what we do at GenderFail. Pegacorn Press, in my opinion, is one of the most exciting risograph publishing project and one of the few that focuses on the perspectives of queer women and trans folks. I also love the work of Unity Press out of Oakland, CA. Unity is a queer skateboarding collective that also publishes works by queer people and people of color. They often times give away free skate decks to folks and provide free risograph printing to queer youth of color.
Their generosity is a constant inspiration, even though I have little to no interest in skate culture.
Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?
Pegacorn press recently released Edie Fake’s Gaylord Phoenix issue #8, and it's incredible. Juliana Huxtable released her first collection of writing, Mucus in My Pineal Gland, through Capricious and Wonder and it is unreal. If you don’t know about Juliana Huxtable you need to Google her and buy this book.
In March, I was in Mexico City for the Material Art Fair and I was able to see Ulises Carrión’s Dear Reader Don’t Read at Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo. Ulises Carrión started Other Books and So in Amsterdam, which was the first artist-run bookstore dedicated especially to artist publications. His publications, writing, and video work have been very influential to my practice. Locally, I loved Nicole Killian’s solo exhibition that was at Sediment Arts. Nicole’s work really bridges a much-needed gap between fine art and design, and brings an important perspective to publishing as a queer woman.
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?
I am currently in the process of working with a few artists on new publications including Pallavi Sen and Roxi Azar. Pallavi is working on a publication with her LUNCHY series, which will be an artist framed cookbook with various writings, manifestos, and recipes. I am working with Roxi on a risograph publication from her planet archive that she describes as “a mix of light magic and real life and sci-fi plants and minerals.” I am also continuing to work on two long-term socially engaged projects, The GenderFail Archive Project and the GenderFail Awards Project.
GenderFail will be exhibiting at CURRENT Books 2018, and will also be generously exhibiting their collection with us during the CURRENT Books panel March 30.