el zine: contemporary underground archives
Exhibition on view September 17th through December 10th, 2019 in Department of Social and Cultural Analysis 20 Cooper Square, 4th floor.
In the last ten years we’ve seen DIY publishers expand tenfold with a new zine fest popping up every month in cities worldwide. The incorporation of zine tents in art book fairs like Printed Matter in NYC and LA exemplify mere fragments of the creative output that thrives outside of mainstream publishing platforms. This generation has re-embraced the analog and DIY mentality of content creation by rejecting traditional processes of editorial gatekeeping– a mechanism that keeps the most interesting creators (including many Latinx) at bay. This exposition will give you a sense of the ideas percolating in underground art, literature, punk scenes across the country with work that is rare, sometimes obscure, and always distinct.
This curated selection of DIY content includes monographs, ethnographies of low brow scenes, fiction, art books, health advice for POC, educational and historical texts, and artist catalogs. Most publishers exhibited in El Zine operate outside of mainstream publishing and produce their zines independently with little editorial oversight. This exhibition includes works distinguished for their informality and the rarity of their content. And with freedom to explore any and all topics that have aspects of taboo –like magic, marijuana, sex work– or personal content that may not exist in other media arenas– urban landscapes, ghost stories, queer and trans perspectives, ancestral healing practices– zines offer an exclusive eye into the anxieties, interests, and ideas powering this generation’s cultural production.