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Martha Rosler Book Launch at Printed Matter

Installation view of "Martha Rosler Library," location and date unknown.
Installation view of Martha Rosler Library, location and date unknown. Via Liverpool John Moores University website.

Martha Rosler Book Launch at Printed Matter
5-7pm Saturday 13 September 2008
Printed Matter - 195 Tenth Avenue, New York NY

Writing on The Martha Rosler Library in the 2007 essay If You Read Here..., curator Elena Filipovic begins with the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

A man's library is a kind of harem...

To what then, might the library of one of America's most important living artists - and, a woman! - be compared? Filipovic's opening provocation here is one of several in the short text, first appearing in the journal Afterall last year and now collected in a recently published book marking the Rosler Library's installation at Site Gallery in Liverpool and Stills. The attractive little book is full of color photo inserts and also features Paris-based theorist Stephen Wright interviewing Martha Rosler and artist Anton Vidokle - another of the project's primary catalysts. Printed Matter in Chelsea will be hosting a launch party tomorrow evening for this book as well as a second: a facsimile reprint of Rosler's postcard novella Service: A Trilogy on Colonization, originally published by the bookstore in 1978, long since out of print. Service... features three short stories that Rosler self-produced and non-commercially distributed via post in the 1970s, in fragments, before consolidating the bits into a book. The bilingual narrative of the text relates the experiences of immigrant laborers in the United States working for little money in service related industries, without the support infrastructure of citizenship or strong family networks. The work, composed while the Brooklyn-born artist was living in California, certainly reflects a kind of West Coast experience and likely - not to mention quite sadly - what seems to be a significant piece to the wider contemporary American experience.