Art Book Publishing in Canada Takes a Hit

What’s the future of Canadian art catalogues in the wake of Black Dog Publishing’s recent bankruptcy? Art books on display in the Art Gallery of Ontario shop in January 2018. Printed matter accompanying an exhibition or illuminating an artist’s practice still defines the machinery of the art world. With digital archives seeming increasingly unstable, paper continues to play a vital role in contributing to the record of how art is remembered and indeed made. But, in 2018, book publishing in particular is not getting any easier—particularly the publication of big, scholarly, well-designed and well-printed monographs. In light of the recent bankruptcy of a publisher whose demise has left no less than eight Canadian art galleries in legal and financial limbo, one might even ask: are art books worth publishing any more in Canada? The publisher in question is Black Dog; they were actually UK-based. But in recent years—thanks to its promises of low printing costs and high access to European distribution—Black Dog had become known in Canada for actively seeking out, and then publishing, art books for such major institutions as the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montreal, the Dunlop Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of […]

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