BY Vanessa Peterson in Opinion | 07 JUN 24

Editor's Picks: A Boom in Independent Publishing

Highlights include a new art book fair at London's Cromwell Place and a collaboration between MACK and film studio A24 

BY Vanessa Peterson in Opinion | 07 JUN 24

Frieze Editor’s Picks is a fortnightly column in which a frieze editor shares their recommendations for what to watch, read and listen to.

Inventory Art Book Fair

London has been spoilt for choice in recent months when it comes to programming celebrating printed matter and artists’ publishing practices. I recently visited the Offprint book fair at Tate Modern. Thought vast and sometimes sprawling, the fair left me feeling optimistic about the power of print, with a renewed desire to own physical objects as well as to engage in critical conversations about the politics of publishing. Now, another art book fair opens for the first time on Friday to continue these important conversations, and most importantly, to support and spotlight independent publishers across the city and beyond. Taking place at Cromwell Place until Sunday 9 June, highlights include performances which draw connections between the written word, sound and moving image, as well as panel discussions, talks and book launches. With an exciting list of small publishers, I hope this edition of Inventory Art Book Fair is the first of many to come.

inventory art book fair poster
Inventory Art Book Fair, 2024. Courtesy: Cromwell Place 


When it comes to long-running publishing projects, one of my favourites for its depth of scholarship and attention to detail in terms of design is MACK, who have commissioned and published some of my favourite books this year. Founded in 2010, the publisher has recently expanded its remit to publish critical essays and texts in a new series, ‘DISCOURSES’, which includes work from critics, such as Philippa Snow’s Trophy Lives: On the Celebrity as Art Object (2024) and Pleasure Gardens: Blackouts and the Logic of Crisis in Kashmir (2024), as well as frieze contributors Skye Arundhati Thomas and Izabella Scott. Meanwhile, MACK's photo-book publishing list continues to go from strength to strength, with recent releases including Teju Cole’s Pharmakon (2024), a beautiful interplay between the word and image, with Cole’s images of architecture and landscapes interspersed with short stories in a similar vein to Luigi Ghirri. In an exciting year for the publisher, an upcoming collaboration will see them partner with film studio A24 in a new endeavour to publish screenplays by the likes of Greta Gerwig and Barry Jenkins. Other recent highlights include Anchor in the Landscape (2024), Adam Broomberg's photographic collaboration with Rafael Gonzalez depicting olive trees, a totemic presence in Palestinian culture from which 100,000 Palestinian families draw sustenance, and Lindokuhle Sobekwa's I carry Her photo with Me (2024), a moving meditation on the disappearance of the artist's sister and the troubling legacies of violence and Apartheid in South Africa.


a24 screenplay collection books
A24 Screenplay Collection, 2024. Courtesy: MACK

Bricks from the Kiln

The final independent publisher I’d like to celebrate here is Bricks from the Kiln (BFTK), another organization producing beautifully designed and intelligent publications sitting squarely in the intersection between art and literature. Contributors to their anthologies include poet and writer Rachael Allen, critic Jennifer Hodgson and artist and musician Paul Purgas, with each anthology broaching experimental themes such as disappearance - the last issue was entitled: Tentative – Incomplete – Inconsistent: A Catalogue of the Disappeared, Destroyed, Lost or Otherwise Inaccessible. An ongoing collaboration with Turner Prize-winning artist Helen Marten, who contributed to a recent issue of BFTK, has given life to a new project called Broken Villas (2024) which I picked up at this year’s Offprint. Described as a ‘response to three “physical” photographs’, I’m very much looking forward to spending time with the work, published in collaboration with co-editors Harriet Moore and Matthew Stuart. BFTK continue to make books which encourage readers to dig deeper, and to spend time unravelling the intricate threads woven by the writers and editors.

bricks from the kiln book cover
Bricks from the Kiln 6, 2023. Courtesy: Bricks from the Kiln

Inventory Art Book Fair takes place at Cromwell Place, London, from 7–9 June 2024 

Main image: A24 Screenplay Collection, 2024. Courtesy: MACK

Vanessa Peterson is associate editor of frieze. She lives in London, UK.