Underground Press art show “In Print” opens Friday at U-M’s Work Detroit gallery

InPrintGraphic

This Friday night, January 10, U-M’s Work Detroit gallery (3663 Woodward Avenue) will be unveiling a new, two month-long exhibition on the artwork of the underground press. The exhibition, called In Print, was curated by Andy Gabrysiak. Following is our conversation.

MARK: I’ve read the Metro Times piece and listened to the interview on WDET. Is there anything left to cover about In Print, the zine show opening this Friday at U-M’s Work gallery in Detroit, or has everything worth saying already been said?

ANDY: I’m not sure what’s been said on WDET, as I refuse to listen to the sound of my own voice. As you mentioned zines, though, I would like to mention that, in curating this exhibit, I wasn’t really interested in defining what a zine is. I didn’t want my role to be that of an arbiter, deciding what’s a zine, and what’s not a zine. I think it‘s too easy to get hooked on that label. I realize you have to call it something, but a better description of the work in this show would probably be self-published… I should add that I don’t take offense at the use of the word “zine” in the Metro Time piece. (Seen below right.) Like I said, you have to call them something.

imageMARK: What’s your background relative to DIY culture? How’d you get interested?

ANDY: One of the first zines I ever bought, although I wouldn’t have known that word at the time, was the issue of Crimewave USA where you interviewed Bob Zmuda and the anonymous relative of Don Knotts. I remember thinking, “Oh, that’s weird… How did they know I wanted a magazine about Don Knotts and Bob Zmuda? I didn’t even know I wanted this.” Some other influences pushing me in the direction of DIY culture… seeing Eugene Mirman live at the Blind Pig, and listening to the Moldy Peaches album where you can hear the phone ringing during the one song. Seeing things like that in high school, like Eugene Mirman making jokes about shapes that nobody asked for, or wanted, or knew that they wanted, really encouraged me to do whatever I felt like creatively without thinking it was dumb or not worthwhile. Or, in my case, knowing that it was dumb and doing it anyway, because that’s my sense of humor. So that’s sort of where my interest in self-publishing and alternative comics comes from.

MARK: I liked how, when discussing the John Maggie flip book on WDET, you couldn’t say that the Wizard spends the entirety of the book pooping. [John’s work can be seen at the top of the page.]

ANDY: I was trying to be polite, as well as describe the trilogy of John’s Wizard flip books as a whole. The one where the wizard uses his powers to take a dump and twirl around is “Amazing Wizard,” but there are two others in the series – “Friendly Wizard,” where he magically removes his clothing, and “Remarkable Wizard,” where he gives himself a magical erection.

CombNo1_IanHuebertMARK: Aren’t all erections kind of magical?

ANDY: I’ve never had one.

MARK: I figured as much when I heard you on WDET.

ANDY: :’(

MARK: I heard that you met John at the Shadow Art Fair. That’s cool… If we accomplished nothing else during our nearly decade-long run, I’d be content with the knowledge that, in some little way, we helped get the pooping wizard into an exhibit at a respected academic gallery.

ANDY: I thought about that flip book for about two years after that Shadow Art Fair (summer 2012), waiting for an opportunity for us to collaborate. I remember he had color transparency prints framed in front of a mirror, a cheap way to get a very unusual holographic effect that made a big impression on me. We’re working on a collaborative zine right now called “Gout Meat” that we’re debuting in a show curated by Haute to Death at Superchief Gallery in New York, February 17… I forget which, but one of the wizard flipbooks is part of the MoMA library collection. They’re all also sold through Printed Matter… Also, I also found Mario Andrés Martínez Bujold’s work indirectly through the Shadow Art Fair that year. I think he was working with Warpaint Studio at the time, and I discovered his zines through their website, after meeting them at the Shadow… He’s in Minnesota now.

WarmUpNo1_JonChao_DetailshotMARK: I know we’re talking about the show that’s opening on Friday, but I’m intrigued… What can you tell me about Gout Meat?

ANDY: John and I are drawing and writing collaboratively using variations of surrealist exquisite corpse exercises as well as doing “cover versions” of each others drawings. I’d describe the content thus far as grotesque portraits and body horror imagery.

MARK: So, what can you tell me about the show? How’d the whole thing come about?

ANDY: I’m the Gallery Assistant at Work Detroit and saw an opportunity for my job to be “read comics for a month and half.”

MARK: Would I be correct if I were to say that this isn’t, strictly speaking, about the underground press, or self-publishing in a general sense, but more about the subset of people in that world who are pushing the boundaries relative to visual impact? This, in other words, is a show about people who have taken zines, or whatever you‘d like to call them, and presented them as works of art…

ANDY: I think people may assume self-publishing is sort of a way to get a pretty good fake of the mass produced real thing, but there are a lot of instances in this show, and at the festivals I’ve been going to recently, where the artist has gone the opposite direction and has made a point of only producing a very limited number of books.

WarmthMagazineVol2_StephenOstrowskiMARK: And what are folks likely to see when they drop by? Would I be right to assume that there will be tons and tons of self-published material there for people to hang out and look at, read, explore, etc?

ANDY: Yes, over a hundred books by 60+ artists as well as original artwork from four local (except Mario, but he used to be) artists whose practice includes regularly producing or contributing to small press publications. Hopefully not an overwhelming amount of work, but I’d encourage two visits. Each book will certainly get its own space and be displayed with cover in full view.

MARK: I know that you’ve got Steve Hughes, who I just interviewed here a few days ago, reading at the opening. What else is going on Friday night?

ANDY: Ryan Standfest of Rotland Press will be reading from Got it Kind of Bad, a new collection of photographs and images produced specifically for this exhibit. He’ll be accompanied by Millee Tibbs on Omnichord. And Finn Schudlich, who’s nine years old, will be presenting and reading from his book of drawings called Butthead. Readings will start around 8:00 and close out the night.

InPrint_GalleryViewMARK: How did you select the participants?

ANDY: Showing a wide variety of formats, printing methods and binding techniques was one of my main goals. The content of the work is focused on visual art…particularly my own interests in humor, graphic design and illustrative work. I put out an open call through UM as well as various print/design/comics blogs whose readers I thought would be producing interesting work… I’d estimate about half the work came from the open call and half from artists I invited. I invited quite a few cartoonists who I know a lot of times are only shown in events focused specifically on comics. But a lot of my favorite cartoonists are self-publishing, or started out self-publishing, and are interested in experimenting with print production as much as they are producing the comics themselves.

MARK: What else should people know?

ANDY: We are hosting a two day zine making workshop at the end of January in collaboration with Signal-Return Press, which involves the printing of an exhibition catalog and a brand new work created specifically as supplemental material for the catalog. Then, on January 24, I’ll be printing the catalog in the gallery on two Risograph printers with Paul Goodrich and Javier Guerrero. I believe the workshop is nearly filled but the public is invited to watch us print, learn more about the Risograph process and check out the exhibit.

update: Michael Jackman, the author of the Metro Times piece noted above was just on The Craig Fahle Show talking about zines as well. You can hear it here.

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7 Comments

  1. Taco Farts
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    In case people associated with Work Detroit stop by here, I’ll exploit this opportunity to say: please encourage the Mothership to expand their new shuttle service so that townies can more easily come see the good stuff you have.

  2. Posted January 10, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Taco Farts – The “Detroit Center Connector” makes trips Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Unfortunately it doesn’t start running this year until Jan. 15.

    http://detroitcenter.umich.edu/dc-connector

  3. Eel
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Someone really should give Andy an erection tonight. He’s put in a lot of hard work, and really deserves it.

  4. anonymous
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Why doesn’t EMU open a gallery downtown Ypsi? That would be pretty awesome.

  5. H2Ohhh
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Let’s all dress scantily and see who can give him an erection first.

  6. 734
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    After Party:
    Shitty Club @ Donovan’s / 10PM – 2AM
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1381103428814315/

  7. Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    As I suck, I did not attend. From the reports I’ve heard back, though, things went well. Here’s a photo from last night.

    InPrint_CrowdView

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  1. […] of a new John Maggie flipbook being demonstrated by Vinnie Massimino at the recent In Print show at the University of Michigan’s Work Gallery in Detroit. Video by Melissa […]

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