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Nicolas Gottlund publishes artist and photo books. His studio is the stuff of daydreams, in a lofted barn filled with old letterpresses, tucked away in the woods outside Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The city’s great and all, but come on…

Ultimately, though, what matters is the quality of the books he prints, not the degree to which we might envy his everyday life. Collaborating closely with artists and photographers like Peter Sutherland, Ed Panar, and Sam Falls, Gottlund makes simple, clean, and quite beautiful publications, often encased in lusciously colored, letterpress-printed cloth cover. His books are direct extensions of his artists’ visions, absent the extraneous detail or gimmicky design that can easily overwhelm art books. Publications like Panar’s Same Difference, Matt Papich and Joe Williams’ Repurpose, and a recent collaboration with Falls are clearly works in and of themselves, but they also beg to be engaged with, looked over, and contemplated. The production quality of each book complements and heightens its content, an equality of form and function all too often absent from mainstream art publishing.

As the crowds at the New York Art Book Fair (where I first encountered Gottlund’s publications) prove, print is still very much a vibrant medium. People refuse to relinquish their attachment to the tactile and the textural. And as the publishing behemoths of yesteryear struggle under the weight of myopic business practices and unwieldy bureaucracy (see Jason Epstein’s recent piece in the New York Review of Books), a small, mobile, and vibrant industry has sprung up beneath their feet. Independent publishing houses are thriving in every corner: fiction, with Europa and New Directions; non-fiction, with Verso, among others; and especially in the arts, with Nieves, Hassla, Morel, and, of course, Gottlund Verlag.

Photography, top to bottom: from Ed Panar’s Same Difference; Ali Bosworth’s Kyklades; and Peter Sutherland’s Even in the End

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  1. here & now › ADVENTURES IN PHOTOGRAPHY: HENRY ROY on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 20:44

    [...] (if highly overpriced, but I just couldn’t help purchasing it anyway…) book  Spirit at Gottlund Verlag just made me even more excited about the surely imminent spring, for Roy always manages to capture [...]