Some Serious Surprises — A list of all the articles in the 1980s feminist art publication Chrysalis referencing feminist art publications.
In May 2020 I came back to my second-hand copies of the magazine Chrysalis to spend some time with an essay by Lucy Lippard entitled “Surprises: Some Women Artists’ Books”, in issue 5 (p.71-84), which I find amazing in its content and its form, and is one of the first articles to address women artists’ books (still a huge blindspot in a very white, male, cis, hetero-dominated field and historiography), a few years before she organized the exhibition “Speaking Volumes: Women Artists’ Books” at the A.I.R. Gallery, New York in 1980, presenting 150 books by more than 100 artists. Both are completely under-documented today, and I’ve commited myself to work on their documentation. Chrysalis is a “magazine of women’s culture” which ten issues were published in Los Angeles between 1977 and 1980 by a group of women active on different feminist scenes, on the West Coast and beyond. Together they founded Chrysalis, a quarterly periodical mixing different kind of writing and expressions (artistic essays, collages, poetic and visual contributions coexisting with more scholarly articles, interviews, analysis, lists of resources, fiction, reviews and double crostic games) and addressing a wide range of topics, from health, politics and finance to architecture and culture, with recurring topics such as poetry, visual culture… and feminist publishing.
A research led as part of the L.i.P. Collective:
Feminist Findings is the collective research of twenty-six womxn and non-binary people on histories of feminist publishing. The L.i.P. Collective—short for “Liberation in Print”—formed during the recent lock-down period. Across four continents and many time zones, its members came together via their computers to dig through digital archives, searching for the missing histories of feminist journals, magazines, zines, newspapers, and newsletters. Feminist Findings presents the L.i.P. Collective’s research for the first time, taking the form of a zine and exhibition held at Berlin’s A—Z presents (30 July—24 Sept., 2020).
Feminist Findings presents articles and essays on the labor, loves, networks, hierarchies, friendships, fall-outs, struggles, victories, economics, designs, and daily lives of womxn in the past working out what it might mean to organize a feminist praxis. Especially from the late 1960s onwards, publishing became a crucial means for womxn to build community and inspire social change. Feminist Findings chornicles these means and methods, seeking to garner what we can learn today from the movements that came before us.
A wunderkammer brimming with photographs, artefacts, logos, magazines, quotes, excerpts, resources, pages, footnotes, and digressions, the exhibition Feminist Findings is a messy, knotted web manifesting its own collective research process.
Currently on show at A—Z presents in Berlin, Germany, Feminist Findings showcases fragments from the L.i.P. Collective’s research journey into the history of twentieth century feminist publishing around the world. Its objects function as extended footnotes to the 23 articles authored by L.i.P. members, and are scattered around the gallery as if having leapt straight out of the zine’s pages.
Under the brilliant initiative of In-ah Shin from the Feminist Designer Social Club, Feminist Findings made its way to Seoul! The Feminist Findings were presented in an exhibition at Platform P accompanied by lectures by Zenobia Ahmed and Yanchi Huang. The Zine was translated in Korean thanks to a fantastic team of Korean translators, editors, and designers.