The recent resurgence of interest in the architecture of the 1960s and 1970s has largely neglected the role of the many experimental publications that were the engine of that intensely creative period. Assembled together for the first time, these remarkable documents offer a unique view of a key period of architectural innovation and challenge today's architects to provoke a similar intensity. This exhibition tracks the critical function of the 'little magazine' in architecture during these years.
Coined in the early twentieth century to designate progressive literary journals, the term 'little magazine' was remobilised during the 1960s to grapple with the contemporary proliferation of independent architectural periodicals that appeared in response to the political, social and artistic changes of the period. Clip, Stamp, Fold investigates how a group of international architectural little magazines informed the development of postwar architectural culture. During that fertile period, the AA also acted as an incubator in the culture of 'little magazines' with titles including White Rabbit and ARse.
The terms 'little' and 'magazine' are not taken at face value here. In addition to short-lived, self-published magazines, Clip, Stamp, Fold includes pamphlets, building instruction manuals and professional magazines that experienced 'moments of littleness'. The exhibition charts the temporal progression and transformation of the phenomenon through their cover design, and takes stock of different formats, with rare originals from private collections and facsimiles accessible to the public. A selection of interviews with editors and designers of these publications complement the display.
If these magazines of the 1960s and 1970s were the engine of an intensely creative period of architectural design, they also provided an arena for critical discussion of the role of politics and new technologies in architecture and through their dissemination, a global network of exchange among architectural students, avant-garde architects and theorists was also established. The exhibition invites reflection on contemporary uses of media in architecture, and how this fits into a broader historical context.
Clip, Stamp, Fold originated at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York and then toured to the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal and Documenta XII, Kassel.
Two 'little symposia' will accompany the show. The first, on Saturday 10 November, brings together key protagonists from the 1960s and 1970s in a series of conversations on the rise and fall of 'little magazines'. On Wednesday 21 November, a younger generation of magazine editors, publishers and designers will speak about the influence of 'little magazines' on their work.