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Inventory Press

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Paperback, 6.5 x 9.5 in. / 240 pgs / 100 color / 20 bw.

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Catalog: FALL 2019 p. 47   

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ISBN 9781941753255 TRADE
List Price: $29.95 CDN $39.95 GBP £27.00

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INVENTORY PRESS

The Detroit Printing Co-op

The Politics of the Joy of Printing

By Danielle Aubert.

Featured image is reproduced from 'The Detroit Printing Co-op.'

A timely exploration of political organizing, publishing, design and distribution in 1970s Detroit

In 1969, shortly after moving to Detroit with wife and partner Lorraine Nybakken, Fredy Perlman and a group of kindred spirits purchased a printing press from a Chicago dealer, transported it, in parts, back to Detroit in their cars and the Detroit Printing Co-op was born.

Operating between 1969 and 1980 out of southwest Detroit, the Co-op was the site for the printing of the first English translation of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle and journals like Radical America, produced by the Students for a Democratic Society; books such as The Political Thought of James Forman printed by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; and the occasional broadsheet, such as Judy Campbell’s stirring indictment, “Open letter from ‘white bitch’ to the black youths who beat up on me and my friend.”

Fredy Perlman was not a printer or a designer by training, but was deeply engaged in the ideas, issues, processes and materiality of printing. While at the Detroit Printing Co-op, he radically rethought the possibilities of print by experimenting with overprinting, collage techniques, different kinds of papers and so on. Behind the calls to action and class consciousness written in his publications, there was an innate sense of the politics of design, experimentation and pride of craft.

Building on research conducted by Danielle Aubert, a Detroit-based designer, educator and coauthor of Thanks for the view, Mr. Mies, The Politics of the Joy of Printing explores the history, output and legacy of the Perlmans and the Co-op in a highly illustrated testament to the power of printing, publishing, design and distribution.


Featured image is reproduced from 'The Detroit Printing Co-op.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Director, Cranbrook Museum of Art

Andrew Blauvelt

Danielle Aubert’s history of the Detroit Printing Co-op offers a refreshing example of graphic design as it was practiced in the most alternative of ways—not only outside of the mainstream design profession, but also against the prevailing capitalist economy premised on private ownership. For enthusiasts of graphic design, Fredy Perlman’s unexpected visually inventive designs for politically salient works offer a much needed example of how self-publishing and DIY printing, so in vogue today, can be used to not just make something, but to also say something.

AIGA

Danielle Aubert

In the 1970s, The Detroit Printing Co-op showed the revolutionary potential of design.The prolific producer of leftist literature worked to define a different relationship to wage labor, materials, and politics.

Artforum

Daniel Marcus

As documented in design historian Danielle Aubert's richly illustrated book 'The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing,' the co-op was more than a mere publishing facility: It embodied [Freddy] Perlman's belief in the liberatory power of "combined daily activities," such as book design, typesetting, and printing [...] Aubert's research into the co-op's legacy ... reveals the project's surprising scope.

The Detroit Printing Co-op

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 11/25/2019

Junking the capitalist carcass with Danielle Aubert's new book on the legendary Detroit Printing Co-op

Junking the capitalist carcass with Danielle Aubert's new book on the legendary Detroit Printing Co-op

If you recognize this cover for the first English-language edition of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, you're probably going to want a copy of The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing, Danielle Aubert's enlightening new book on the DIY leftist Motor City printing cooperative founded by Fredy Perlman in 1969. Originally active under the name Revolutionary Printing Co-operative, the endeavor was formed to provide typesetting and printing "without censorship or pressure," to provide "a means of subsistence for individuals who refuse to accept the bureaucratic organization of a capitalist enterprise," and "to make available a small stock of means of production to a restless population's growing needs for self-expression." Aubert quotes one of the group's founding statements: "The printing coop is not its own goal. Attempting to survive within the capitalist carcass, its activity is restricted by the laws of capitalist commodity production. But survival within capitalism is not its aim (nor is this activity an efficient way to survive within capitalism). Its aim is to contribute to the junking of the capitalist carcass, and thus of itself as an activity which survived within it." continue to blog


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