[Msa-discuss] Little Magazines Exhibition: Grolier Club

Kirsten Macleod kirsten.macleod at newcastle.ac.uk
Fri Mar 8 04:46:14 EST 2013

American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A Revolution in Print
20 February - 27 April 2013
Curated by: Kirsten MacLeod

The Grolier Club
47 E 60th Street
New York, NY

The long smouldering passion of revolt at conservatism in English art and literature had lately resulted in a bilious explosion, the Yellow Book. . . . The seed fell, as British seed usually does, on America; it grew, and began to flourish. . . . In America, the impetus had begun; its growth was now independent of its origin. Strangely fashioned periodicals, preaching fantastic doctrines, uttering weird thoughts, began to appear like mushrooms after a shower.      Percival Pollard (1869-1911)

The 1890s witnessed the birth of the little magazine, a form associated with emerging modern art movements and alternative social and cultural trends. While the movement originated in Europe with magazines such as the Yellow Book, Le Chat Noir, and Jugend, it flourished particularly in America. Here, in just a few short years, hundreds of “freak magazines,” dinkeys,” “ephemerals,” or “fadazines,” as they were variously called, emerged all over the country.  Though they have tended to be overshadowed by their European counterparts and by their Modernist successors, these magazines were a prolific and culturally important print phenomenon – a fad that exerted its influence on old and young, in town and country, and on professional and amateur writers, artists, and pundits across the nation.

The exhibition American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A Revolution in Print, on view at The Grolier Club from February 20 to April 27, 2013, is the first to focus on these publications, which were central to the development of radical, progressive, avant-garde, and even popular and populist literary, artistic, social and cultural movements of the early twentieth century. Featuring over 160 items, including magazines, books, posters, manuscript material and decorative objects, the exhibition places these magazines in their context. It demonstrates their links to the Arts and Crafts movement, Decadence, Symbolism, and Art Nouveau; developments in book design and the graphic arts; the international poster revolution; Progressive-era cultural movements such as the rise of Utopian communities, Free Thought, Tolstoyan Socialism, and Anarchism. These publications served as a vehicle of protest for the expression of alternative and radical artistic, social, and political ideals.

CATALOGUE: An accompanying catalogue, with full-color illustrations, is available for purchase through the Grolier Club.

EVENTS: The following events are planned in conjunction with the exhibition
March 13th, 6-7:30 PM: A forum of private and institutional collectors speaking about Little Magazines in their collections. Participants include: Susan Barribeau (English Language Humanities Librarian, University of Wisconsin, Madison Libraries) and private collectors Philip R. Bishop, David W. Lowden, Mark Samuels Lasner, and Jean-François Vilain.

March 28th, 5-7 PM: Panel and Curator’s Talk:
Johanna Drucker (UCLA): “Graphic Hijinks in Gelett Burgess’s 1896 Le Petit Journal des Refusées”
Brad Evans (Rutgers University): “On Finding Stephen Crane in The Philistine”
David Weir (Cooper Union): “Round the Mahogany Tree: Decadent Culture in fin-de-siècle Boston”
Kirsten MacLeod (Newcastle University): “American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A Revolution in Print”

For more information contact Megan Smith at the Grolier Club (msmith at grolierclub.org<mailto:msmith at grolierclub.org>) or Kirsten MacLeod at kirsten.macleod at ncl.ac.uk

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