On the occasion of a major exhibition of the work of the Ivorian artist FrÃ©dÃ©ric Bruly BouabrÃ© presented today at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, we think of Nexus Press, which published the first book on the art of Bouabre, knowledge of the worldin 1998.
In the early 1970s, frustrated with Atlanta’s conservative art scene, photographer John McWilliams and five of his former Georgia State University students – Jim Frazer, Jack Front, Deirdre Murphy, Bill Brown and Michael Reagan – founded Nexus , an artist-run showcase. gallery financed by membership fees. In 1977, with the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, he also launched the now legendary Nexus Press, dedicated to producing artists’ books and run by another McWilliams alumnus, Michael Goodman.
Nexus Press has published monographs of work by photographers such as PH Polk (1980) and publications by artists such as Marvin Rhodes Bear witness! Vietnam veterans in photographs and interviews (1985) and Clarissa Sligh Voyage(r): a tourist map of Japan (2000) on her travels to that country as an African-American woman.
Continually expanding the definition of what constitutes a “book”, Nexus has worked with artists to create publications in the form of flip books, accordion folds, cards, pop-ups and scrolls. A book was a musical score (to play the book was to destroy it); others were printed on T-shirts and individual cigarettes from a pack of Basic Lights.
Prior to its closure in 2003, Nexus produced over 150 publications notable for their use of new offset printing techniques and current topics.