Cultural & Institutional

Printed Matter Renovation



Printed Matter Renovation
New York, NY

Client
Printed Matter
Photography
Azikiwe Mohammed

Printed Matter is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination, understanding, and appreciation of artists’ books. Part art gallery, part bookstore, and part community center, it was founded in 1976 by artist Sol Lewitt and Lucy Lippard, and is one of the world’s largest publicly available source for artists' books. At the heart of their mission is a longstanding open submission process, inviting artists and independent publishers to submit their books for sale at Printed Matter. They circulate over 32,000 publications annually on behalf of artists and small presses. Printed Matter is often one of the few distribution outlets for artist-made publications.

After the organization’s home in New York City suffered damage due to Superstorm Sandy, Printed Matter decided to move to a new, larger space in the city.

The new 3,900-square-foot space is located in the Historic Chelsea District. Previously a warehouse, the space needed to be designed to maintain the non-profit’s vast archive & allow for future growth of their publication collection. The new space also needed to provide for the organization’s educational services, as well as exhibitions of contemporary and historically significant artist’s books. Programming was to include artist talks, book launches and performances.


The new two-level space doubles their previous space, and provides more room for the display of books and reading areas, and for hosting events and exhibitions. The project features a new black metal staircase with a built-in book display that leads to a newly-created wrap-around second floor, which overlooks a double-height area that can also be used as a flexible gallery and event space. Bookcases on the upper floor are stacked one in front of the other to maximize overstock storage. In case of flooding (the building is in a flood zone) the lower bookcases were designed to be independent containers that can be easily moved to the 2nd floor. Floating displays were all put on casters to allow for easy relocation.

Printed Matter reopened in October 2015 and continues to be an important resource for the artist community worldwide.