• Dara Birnbaum’s "Note(s): Work(ing) Process(es) Re: Concerns (That Take On / Deal With)"
    Dara Birnbaum
    James Hoff
    Alex Kitnick
    Primary Information, 2021
    Primary Information

Cover for the Primary Information printing of Dara Birnbaum's "Note(s): Work(ing) Process(es) Re: Concerns (That Take On / Deal With)," 1977/2021. Courtesy the artist and Primary Information

Primary Information’s facsimile edition of Dara Birnbaum’s previously unpublished artist book Note(s): Work(ing) Process(es) Re: Concerns (That Take On / Deal With) provides audiences with critical insight into the artist’s landmark video and installation pieces from the mid-1970s, documenting her contributions to the burgeoning conceptual art movement and underscoring her significant but under-recognized influence upon the emergence of feminist art, video art, and the Pictures Generation. The book was originally created in 1977 as a single, handmade edition comprised of diagrams, photographs, sketches, and writings related to key early works, including Attack Piece (1975), Mirroring (1975), and Pivot: Turning Around Suppositions (1976). Shaped by Birnbaum’s studies in architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, these transitional works find the artist and former architect responding to the cultural rise of video and television—reflecting her singular perspective that media has supplanted architecture as the predominant form defining how people inhabit public and private space.

Dara Birnbaum's video works are among the most influential contributions to the contemporary discourse on art and television. In her videos and multi-media installations, Birnbaum applies both low-end and high-end video technology to subvert, critique or deconstruct the power of mass media images and gestures to define mythologies of culture, history and memory. Through a dynamic televisual language of images, music, and text, she exposes the media's embedded ideologies and posits video as a means of giving voice to the individual. Her works have been featured in solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Jewish Museum, all in New York; and the Musee d'Art Contemporain, Montreal; among other international institutions. Honors include the American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award for Independent Film and Video, a Louis XIII de Remy Martin Award of Excellence, and the United States Artists Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Fellow award.

Publication editor James Hoff is the director/cofounder of Primary Information and an artist. Since 2000, he has worked at more than a dozen nonprofit arts organizations including Artists Space, Participant Inc, Printed Matter, and Thread Waxing Space. He has edited more than 150 publications.

Alex Kitnick, author of the introduction to the publication, is an art historian and critic based in New York, and is the Brant Family Fellow in Contemporary Arts at Bard College. A frequent contributor to publications including Artforum, May, October, and Texte zur Kunst, he has also edited numerous volumes, including a collection of John McHale’s writings, The Expendable Reader: Articles on Art, Architecture, Design, and Media, 1951–1979 (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2011), October 136 on New Brutalism, and a book of essays on Dan Graham.

Primary Information was founded in 2006 to publish affordable artists’ books and artists’ writings. The organization’s mission is two-fold: (1) to publish out-of-print books that remain vital to ongoing conversations around artistic practice and (2) to publish contemporary books by emerging, mid-career, and established artists. The organization’s period of focus is from the early sixties to the present, with an emphasis on the conceptual practice of using publications as a distributable exhibition space that seeks to reach a global audience. All books are sold at cost so that they are as affordable and accessible as possible and to this end, the organization also publishes free PDFs of publications online.