Publishing Against the Grain

  • Publishing Against the Grain, installation view, Raking Leaves (detail), Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, Cape Town, 2017. Image courtesy of Zeitz MOCAA and ICI.

  • Publishing Against the Grain, installation view, McIntosh Gallery, London, Ontario, 2019. Photo courtesy of Brian Lambert and McIntosh Gallery.

  • Makhzin, issue 2, 2016. Image courtesy of Makhzin.

  • Publishing Against the Grain, installation view, Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, 2019. Image courtesy of Pitzer College Art Galleries and ICI.

  •, 2017. Courtesy of Curatorial Dictionary.

  • Publishing Against the Grain, installation view, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, Cape Town, 2017. Image courtesy of Zeitz MOCAA and ICI.

  • Where and When to Believe, Taslima Ahmed and Manuel Gnam, 2015. Image courtesy of Taslima Ahmed and Manuel Gnam and ICI.

  •, 2017. Image courtesy of Tráfico Visual.

  • Pages, issues 6-8, 2017. Courtesy of Pages and ICI.

  • For the Record, 2014. Courtesy of Corrections and Clarifications.

  • Publishing Against the Grain, installation view, The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, Gambier, 2018. Image courtesy of The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College and ICI.

Organized by Independent Curators International (ICI)

Publishing Against the Grain is a traveling exhibition that provides a space for reading, thinking, and conversing, where slowing down can become a form of intellectual resistance. It encourages discursive public participation, self-reflective investigation, and invites visitors to discover new perspectives while connecting differing and analogous spheres of contemporary art.

In the context of today’s corporatization and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.

Publishing Against the Grain highlights the current state of publishing and art criticism as it exists in small journals, experimental publications, websites, and radio, as well as other innovative forms. It is organized around projects that connect theoretical, social, political, and aesthetic questions with a focus on community, whether understood in relation to a particular place, or defined in identitarian or diasporic terms. Included in the exhibition are print journals like Makhzin (Lebanon) and PISEAGRAMA (Brazil), alongside more experimental forms like tranzit’s interactive Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary).

In bringing these projects together from around the world, Publishing Against the Grain reveals how their material and discursive activities respond to intersecting subjects such as contemporary aesthetics, diaspora, sex and gender, gentrification, race, language, and art history.

A selection of key publications was drawn from ICI’s international network of collaborators. These curators, artists, and scholars involved in independent publishing are represented in the exhibition through their own projects and those of others who have influenced their work and school of thought. The exhibition continues to grow and accumulate as it travels, when new publications are added at every site.

Key contributors to Publishing Against the Grain include:

Art Against Art (Germany) nominates: Post Capitalism: A Guide to our Future, Telematic Embrace, The Transhumanist Reader / Bisagra (Peru) nominates: ramona / Chimurenga (The Chronic / The Pan African Space Station) (South Africa) nominates: Glendora Review, Frank Talk, Third Text / Curatorial Dictionary (Hungary) nominates: / East of Borneo (United States) nominates: Artes Visuales / Exhausted Geographies (Pakistan) nominates: SCROLL / Fillip (Canada) nominates: Art-Language / Glänta (Sweden) nominates: Bidayat / Makhzin (United States / Lebanon) nominates: Souffles, Souffles-Anfas, Top Stories / Our Literal Speed (United States) nominates: Collective Actions / Pages (The Netherlands / Iran) nominates: Corrections and Clarifications, Counter-Signals / PISEAGRAMA (Brazil) nominates: Urbânia / Raking Leaves (Sri Lanka) nominates: Aar Paar / SALT. (United Kingdom) nominates: LIES / Start Journal (Uganda) nominates: Uganda Press Photo Award / Stationary (Hong Kong) nominates: Blackbird / Lenny Kwok / Tráfico Visual (Venezuela) nominates: Félix Suaz / White Fungus (Taiwan) nominates: Life Is A Rip Off

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (South Africa) nominates: Adjective and Pumflet

Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos (Nigeria) nominates: New Culture

The Gund Gallery of Kenyon College (United States) nominates: Arthopper and AEQAI

Pitzer College Art Galleries (United States) nominates: X-TRA

Critical Distance Centre for Curators (Canada) nominates: Charcuterie, EMILIA-AMALIA, The HIV Howler, Lola, MICE Magazine, Peripheral Review, Public Parking, Redwire Magazine, and Scapegoat

Blue Star Contemporary (United States) nominates: Molly Sherman and Pastelegram

Publishing Against the Grain is an exhibition organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and initiated by Alaina Claire Feldman and Becky Nahom, with Sanna Almajedi. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum.


Independent Curators International (ICI)

Independent Curators International (ICI) supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement. Curators are arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice; build essential infrastructures and institutions; and generate public engagement with art. Our collaborative programs connect curators across generations, and across social, political and cultural borders. They form an international framework for sharing knowledge and resources — promoting cultural exchange, access to art, and public awareness for the curator’s role.


touring schedule

Stacion-Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina
Prishtina, Kosovo
August 9, 2021 - August 9, 2022

Blue Star Contemporary
San Antonio, TX, USA
February 7, 2020 - May 3, 2020

McIntosh Gallery
London, Canada
September 14, 2019 - October 26, 2019

Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Toronto, Canada
July 4, 2019 - August 17, 2019

Pitzer College Art Galleries
Claremont, CA, United States
February 2, 2019 - March 28, 2019

The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College
Gambier, OH, United States
August 24, 2018 - December 16, 2018

Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos
Lagos, Nigeria
April 18, 2018 - May 19, 2018

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MoCAA)
Cape Town, South Africa
November 18, 2017 - January 29, 2018

Booking Info

Number of works: About 50 independently published projects
Space required: approximately 2,000 - 5,000 sq ft but extremely flexible
Tour dates: Fall 2017 through December 2020
For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Becky Nahom at 212.254.8200, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)