Art Catalogues on Station to Station

Station to Station arrives in Union Station this evening, bringing with it the pop-up shop for Art Catalogues. Founded in 1977 by Dagny Corcoran, the bookstore specializes in current and out-of-print art books and exhibition catalogues, and is currently housed at LACMA, adjacent to Tony Smith’s Smoke. In anticipation of the event in Los Angeles this evening, Unframed‘s Linda Theung asked Dagny about her upcoming experience as part of Station to Station.

Art Catalogues at LACMA

What are you learning about an itinerant version of a bookstore vs. a brick-and-mortar setup?
What a great idea Doug Aitken had to create a kind of nomadic collaboration of creative people, and the challenge of thinking about how to respond to being “itinerant” is very interesting for me. Doug’s strong point is managing to intercalate many moving parts (remember “threading the needle” on horseback?), but because he himself is an artist, he does not micromanage. I have to figure out how to get books to Winslow (where I am meeting the train), how to set up shop without knowing where that will be within the installation, how to manage to be a salesgirl as well as part of the audience. It has made me realize that Art Catalogues can—probably should—be everywhere, and it has helped me think about the e-commerce store that Amy Heibel is creating for Art Catalogues. A good question is how to make a virtual store as interesting as a brick-and-mortar one.

The video projections in Barstow. Brian Doyle courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York Station to Station is an artist-driven public art project made possible by the Levi’s® brand. ©Station to Station, Doug Aitken, 2013

The video projections in Barstow. Photo by Brian Doyle courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York. Station to Station is an artist-driven public art project made possible by the Levi’s® brand. ©Station to Station, Doug Aitken, 2013

How does having artists whose books you’re sharing change the conversations you’ve having about the printed page with visitors/participants?

It’s perfect being at LACMA, and simultaneously participating in Station to Station, because I am in the presence of all the artists, curators, films, exhibitions, and . . . unexpected encounters . . . that happen in both situations. It gives me ideas. Hosting the artists’ talks at the museum is wonderful because often people find Art Catalogues for the first time. It’s like, “Huh? What’s going on here? Where is the gift store?” Then they sort of hang around and listen and look at the books, and many times the door just opens for them, and they get it, and the’re hooked.Presenting books on the train, in the on-board llibrary, was also very much of an opportunity for me to learn more about the participating artists. I’ve become very interested in Pierre Huyghe and Mathias Poledna, artists I knew, of course, but have now begun to think about much more. And I discovered artists I didn’t know, as well.

Ye Rin Mok A wide view of the Barstow Happening. Station to Station is an artist-driven public art project made possible by the Levi’s® brand. ©Station to Station, Doug Aitken, 2013

A wide view of the Barstow Happening. Photo by Ye Rin Mok. Station to Station is an artist-driven public art project made possible by the Levi’s® brand. ©Station to Station, Doug Aitken, 2013

Is the book setup different from city to city, or does it stay pretty consistent throughout the run of Station to Station?

I haven’t the faintest idea! But I imagine it will have to be pretty fluid. The yurts change and the whole idea is evolving daily. For the pop-up stores in Winslow, Los Angeles, and Oakland, I’ll have books by the participating artists and many others that I think are relevant to the the themes of place, film, art, music and food–the questions that Doug is investigating with the Station to Station project.

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