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Exhibitor Profile: Airprint Press

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  Meet

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Airprint Press is dedicated to open access to art books. They make limited print runs, and encourage viewers to read their books online or download files to print your own copy. They welcome sharing their books for non-commercial purposes. Airprint is one wing of The Airplant Project, a think tank exploring how to grow and sustain contemporary art outside of urban centers, based in Mathews, Virginia.

 What was your introduction to the world of art book publishing?

My partner Justin Hunter Allen and I (Lucy Kirkman Allen) began making exhibition catalogues in 2012 to document projects at Studio DTFU, our experimental gallery in Dallas, TX. We loved making books and valued having the catalogues once the exhibitions were over, but found we were lucky to break even on the cost of printing. Our new project Airprint Press focuses on online viewing and self-printing to reduce the overhead costs of producing books.

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Why art books? 

I find that making catalogues is an asset because they are mobile, carry the breath of the curatorial vision, and let someone in the future to ‘know’ a show. The Serendipity: Williams House (S:WH) series came about as we invited artists from across the USA and abroad to install artwork in our studio, a room in a farmhouse in rural Onemo, VA. Because of the gallery’s isolation, these exhibitions were conceived and documented to exist solely in book form. We want to present the opportunity for anyone to pick it up and familiarize themselves with, or participate in, the conversation.

How does your publishing relate to your personal art practice?

We work primarily as a painters but consider curating to be an invigorating extension of our practices. Just as a painting composition is an arrangement of forms, curating an exhibition is an arrangement of other people’s works applied to a room. Publishing gives us the opportunity to tell a fuller story than can be seen in one instance. We are both interested in the book as "work," rather than simply "document." Books are especially satisfying as tactile and time-based objects.  

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Are there any organizations or people in your community that have been particularly influential to you and your project?

Working with SCAB, a network of artist-run spaces in Dallas, made a great environment for throwing ourselves into the DIY ethos. I appreciate the thought-provoking letters of Michael Corris and [art historian] Michael Dorsch, who sends us the most remarkable art books (you can read their essays in our book project, Correspondence).

Your favorite art-related publication or art exhibition from the last year?

I loved Botticelli and the Search for the Divine at the Muscarelle Museum.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?

We are excited to debut catalogues from exhibitions at #FFFHEX, a “white-cube” gallery that held exhibitions in Mathews Courthouse from September 2016-September 2017 at CURRENT Books. They include shows by artists Zack McDonald, Travis Iurato, Joe Allen, Eli Walker, Jack Banks and Hunter Banks. Beyond that, Airprint Press co-founder Justin Hunter Allen will have a solo exhibition of his new work this summer at Basketshop Gallery, an artist-run space in Cincinnati, OH. Airprint will release a book to accompany the show.