Art and Xerox

Session Convenors

Zanna Gilbert Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

John Tain Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong

Session Abstract

This session examines the impact of xerography on the production and distribution of art and visual culture. Beginning in the 1960s, when the Xerox Corporation’s electrostatic copying technology made easy and instantaneous photographic reproduction widely available, photocopy and its potential for self-publication and distribution has greatly impacted artistic creation and circulation. For instance, much of the aesthetic of conceptual art would be inconceivable without it: one need only think of the ‘Xerox Book’, the exhibition as publication organised by Seth Siegelaub in 1968. However, xerography also proved important to very different artists working in performance, photography, mail art, and in Xerox or Copy art itself, which peaked in the 1970s and 80s.

While the significance of the technology for conceptual art has been discussed by Alexander Alberro in his Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity (2003), and its use by activists researched by Kate Eichhorn (Adjusted Margin: Xerography, art, and activism in the late twentieth century, 2016), there exists no comprehensive international study. The session aims to address this lack, and invites proposals that engage with the following questions: How did artists’ use of photocopy change over time and space, from the introduction of the first copying machines to their widespread availability in the 1980s? What are the historical specificities of the use of the photocopier in different regions or countries? Did artistic reproduction differ in any significant way between photocopy and other print techniques, such as the mimeograph? In what ways did photocopy intersect with photography and performance?

To offer a paper
Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenors, details above.

Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because it will appear online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 5 November 2018

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