As we were brainstorming a name for our Library exhibition of contemporary experimental magazines, Millennium Magazines stuck because of its concise alliteration. The name also specifically isolates this recent period of time - post-Y2K - where these publications have been flourishing despite constant conversations about the end of print culture. Working in a library, this is a particularly hot topic as we think about the future and how best to accommodate new modes of publishing. The exhibition, now on view at MoMA in the Lewis B. Cullman Education building at 4 W 54th St., aims to complicate this assumption that print is dead.
Anyone who has slaved over a book exhibition for months has probably had that experience when a friend, who is not a "book person," comes to see the show. You can tell from their reaction that the experience is something similar to seeing an art exhibition with the paintings displayed still nailed shut inside their wooden shipping crates. When you go to European museums, you realize how lucky we are in the United States that artworks are not usually displayed behind glass. But books—interactive books, which require someone to handle them in order to make them "work," in order to be able to see and read them—invariably are.