• Steven Heller

The Daily Heller: Superior Tactile Mag Turns Into Superbly Tactile Book: Modern Artifacts

When Esopus launched in 2003 as an advertising-free magazine, it introduced an incredible range of content—from art and artifacts to prose and music. Although publishing and fulfillment costs became prohibitive and it ceased production in 2018, publisher Tod Lippy of The Esopus Foundation has continued in his mission to expose under-represented art in the public space.

The latest publication from Esopus Books, Modern Artifacts, is out now. More than a year in the making, the 354-page book features all 18 installments of the series that appeared in issues of Esopus—several of which are now sold out—from 2006–2019. Modern Artifacts offers readers a virtual visit to MoMA’s extraordinary collection—featuring everything from documentation related to never-before-realized exhibitions to pages from the Museum’s first guest book—curated and introduced by MoMA’s Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections, Michelle Elligott. Items are reproduced in facsimile to approximate the experience of being in the archives, and a number of these are presented as removable inserts. (Although it does not appear in this volume (because it is not in MoMA's archives), I contributed this to Esopus.)

Six contemporary artists—Mary Ellen Carroll, Rhea Karam, Mary Lum, Clifford Owens, Michael Rakowitz and Paul Ramirez Jonas—have contributed projects related to a particular aspect of the archives. These vital pieces appear throughout the book, which also includes an introductory essay by Elligott and a foreword by Lippy.

It is a joy to hold and a beauty to have. Order it here.