The recent opening of a standalone book store by esteemed gallerist Marian Goodman is confirmation, if any were needed, that in Paris the art world and the book world frequently overlap. In 2016, French publishers released no less than 5,652 books about art. Artists here are often bookish; books invariably beautiful.
Goodman, who has galleries in New York and London as well as Paris, started her career selling artists’ editions, multiples and books in 1965. The new Librairie Marian Goodman, just down the road from her spacious gallery in the Marais, therefore represents something of a drawing together of her achievements in the art world. ‘Marian has always wanted to open a bookshop,’ says gallery director Nicolas Nahab. ‘She has always published and promoted artists’ multiples and prints, and the gallery has a fantastic inventory.’
Unsurprisingly, Librairie Marian Goodman focuses on books, prints, and other editioned works by the gallery’s artists. On my last visit several handsome photography books by Thomas Struth caught my eye, as well as William Kentridge’s multi-layered Triumphs and Laments, which documents the creative process behind the 500 metre-long frieze the artist produced in Rome in 2016. Beyond the books is a small exhibition space, currently hosting photographic works by James Welling as an extension of his solo show in the main gallery. ‘We hope that it will also be for our artists a new dimension to explore, and a new outlet of creativity,’ says Nahab. The glass-fronted space is also likely to attract a different clientele from the main gallery, which is hidden away behind a pair of imposing wooden doors.
Goodman’s new initiative is the latest addition to an increasingly diverse scene. Just a few streets away is the bookshop of venerable Parisian dealer Yvon Lambert. Lambert, who opened his gallery in 1966 and made his name championing American minimalists and conceptualists like Carl Andre and Lawrence Weiner, has been working with artists to produce sublimely beautiful limited edition artist books since 1992. In 2014 he closed his Paris gallery in order to focus on his foundation – the Collection Lambert in Avignon – and on his bookshop, which he opened in 2001. Lambert sees his work within the long Parisian tradition of great art dealer-publishers, such as Ambroise Vollard, Aimé Maeght, and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. ‘In France we love books,’ he tells me from among the boxes in the basement office beneath his shop. ‘[There] is a very old tradition here for beautiful books.’
… But it is not just the long-established dealers who are making their mark in arts publishing. One of Paris’s most interesting recent initiatives is the tiny but brilliant Section 7 Books, run by critic and curator Benjamin Thorel with a collective of other artists and writers. Section 7 Books began life as a temporary project within Belleville project space castillo/corrales. When the gallery closed in 2015, Thorel decided to keep Section 7 Books going in order to explore ways in which publishing might offer economic alternatives to the traditional gallery model. Books are generally cheaper to produce and buy than art. They don’t require large studio spaces or much specialist equipment. There are fewer gatekeepers. Books arguably have a wider appeal too. In France, as elsewhere, contemporary art is often seen as more elitist than literature. ‘The field of publishing feels like a place where new things can happen more easily,’ says Thorel. Maybe this also explains the emergence of innovative new bookstores like Volume alongside independent publishers such as Editions Bessard, Poursuite…
HERE THE LINK: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/bookish-side-parisian-art/