The short-lived New York based art magazine Avalanche, which existed between 1970 and 1976, captured a sense of its time, but also engaged critically with the relationship between printed matter (books, samizdat, etc.) and artwork. Founded by Liza Bear and Willoughby Sharp Avalanche pushed artistic ideas, via interviews with artists and artists’ projects being the mainstays of the magazine.
Which brings us to the present.
Primary Information has reprinted Avalanche as a complete set for the first time in three decades. Originally published in magazine format for the first eight issues, Avalanche switched to a newsprint format for the final five issues. This facsimile edition is a boxed set that houses the individual magazine issues and the newspapers bound in a single book form.
Avalanche focused on new forms of art-making (of it’s day), providing a timely format for art’s movement away from galleries and museums and towards the printed page and emerging discourses surrounding Performance and Land art. The interviews, all conducted by Bear and Sharp, employ a loose but thoughtful approach. Often the articles ran as large as 16 pages. The featured artists were at the time relatively unknown, today they read like a Who’s Who of the avant-garde (in particular as defined by Dia:). The square covers of the early issues feature now iconic portraits of artists; Joseph Beuys, Lawrence Weiner, Yvonne Rainer, Vito Acconci (who had the entire Issue of #6 dedicated to him) and Bruce Nauman.
Featured artists were Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Bill Beckley, Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Daniel Buren, Hanne Darboven, Walter De Maria, Jan Dibbets, Barbara Dilley, Simone Forti, Gilbert & George, the Philip Glass Ensemble, Grand Union, Hans Haacke, Jannis Kounellis, Meredith Monk, Barry Le Va, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Klaus Rinke, Joel Shapiro, Jack Smith, Keith Sonnier, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, George Trakas, William Wegman, Lawrence Weiner, the Western Front and Jackie Winsor.
Avalanche by Primary Information is available at Printed Matter.