Exhibiting Aspen

Aspen, described in the 1960s as ‘the first three-dimensional magazine’, was produced in California and published in New York on an irregular schedule from 1965 to 1971. Many leading figures in contemporary North American and European art and cultural criticism were involved in its production as editors, designers or contributors and this, along with its unique format, has contributed to its art historical importance and continued relevance to contemporary art and design practices of today. Rather than bound printed pages, Aspen was issued in a customized box or folder containing a wide range of items including posters, postcards, tickets, booklets, reels of Super-8 movie film and ‘flexi disc’ phonographic recordings. These different published formats turned the magazine into a space where artists were able to move outside the gallery and engage with a broader social and political sphere. As the magazine’s editor Phyllis Johnson put it: ‘Aspen presents actual works of art! Exactly as the artist created them. In exactly the medium s/he created them for.’ Few complete sets of Aspen remain and this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see items from across all ten issues as well as many important individual pieces which have acquired specific art historical and cultural significance.

Hosted by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication from 18 June – 2 July 2013 (Monday–Friday / 9am– 5pm). This joint exhibition by the Department of Art and the Department of Typography has been curated and designed by MA Book Designer Lisa Stephanides. The exhibition is supported by the Arts Committee at the University of Reading. We would like to extend our thanks to Professor Alun Rowlands from the University of Reading’s Department of Art for his generosity and support in the loan of this collection.