Sometimes, overwhelmed by passion or rage, I remember and repeat like a mantra the protest image with the slogan “Art Workers Won’t Kiss Ass” that accompanied the lecture of publisher James Hoff in 2019 at the CAC Reading Room. The photo captures a moment from one of the protests organized by the New York group of artists and activists “The Art Workers’ Coalition” (AWC) in 1969-1970, in which, among others, the Lithuanian artist Kęstutis Zapkus (Kes Zapkus), who was then actively involved in the activities of the AWC, and who also was a close friend of author and art critic Lucy R. Lippard, could have participated. Lippard recounts how, after storming into the Trustees’ Christmas Dinner at the Met, Zapkus unleashed a handful of cockroaches on their festive dinner table. Testimonies of this group’s protests and other documentary materials have been collected and published in Art Workers’ Coalition. Documents 1 (1969 / 2008) and Art Workers’ Coalition. Open Hearing (1969 / 2008), which made it to the CAC Reading Room in 2009 as part of one of the first recommended collections by the project space “castillo/corrales.” And here they are, available to readers for almost fifteen years now.

As you may have already guessed, this crossword-worthy collection of stories, both scattered and sparsely stitched, partially describes how juicy and ever-expanding the limits of their possibilities are the spaces of libraries, in this case – reading rooms dedicated to art publishing. In these spaces we meet familiar faces and characters that only exist in texts and images, and, thanks to persistent bibliophiles who work there and curious readers who share their knowledge, the shelves are filled not only with works that shape discourse trends but also with the strangest printed objects, which wait patiently for the gaze of passers-by for days. While working together with my colleagues in the CAC reading room and passionately seeking new books for you, I would mentally invite familiar and imaginary art librarians, founders of community reading rooms, book-collecting publishers, authors, and other bibliophiles to join me. “Pro bibliofilo akinius – apie meną ir spaudą” [“Through bibliophile’s glasses: on art and press”] (ŠMC / CAC interviu, 2009, No. 13-14), a text by Linara Dovydaitytė which announced the establishment of the CAC Reading Room, was always lurking in the background, and in which, despite the refreshing and seemingly catastrophic transformations of the world, we also find an undeniably timeless remark: “Bibliophilic moods also circulate in the world of contemporary art.”

“Books Lie Open: A Librarian Get-Together” is a marathon of lectures, presentations, and entertainment designed to get to know not only the collections of art publications accumulated in various parts of the world and the principles of their compilation as well as the communities formed around these spaces but also often overlooked art workers: librarians, the founders of art bookstores and reading spaces, who persistently strive to make the knowledge of art and art history accessible and the ensuing discoveries intoxicating.

 

Programme:

May 22, Wednesday at Išgirsti* (Darbininkų St. 8, Vilnius)

17:30 — Viktorija Kolbešnikova and Augustas Čičelis from išgirsti (Vilnius)

Augustas and Viktorija from išgirsti will conduct a short guided tour through queer archives and libraries. They will talk about the meanings of queer archiving and queering the archives.

išgirsti is a space for queer social and cultural action. Their activities encompass queer culture, archiving, and psychosocial welfare. išgirsti creates safe spaces for cultural and social initiatives where the community can express themselves and find their voice to speak to the society at large.

The organisation transformed in 2014, launching the Vilnius Queer Festival Kreivės. In 2020, they started a queer magazine, launched the Lithuanian queer archive, and opened a physical venue for cultural-social activities in Vilnius, Naujininkai, hosting queer exhibitions, events, and psychological support. Since 2023, the išgirsti space includes a library and reading room.

Augustas Čičelis and Viktorija Kolbešnikova are curators of the išgirsti queer archive and organisers of the Vilnius Queer Festival Kreivės as well as the queer project space in Vilnius. Both are active participants in the queer and feminist movements, have a background in gender studies, and base their practice in the broader fields of social justice, support, self-education and self-organising. www.isgirsti.lt

* There is a limited capacity at Išgirsti so please register here.

 

May 23, Thursday at CAC Reading Room (Aušros Vartų St. 5 / Pasažo Ln., Vilnius)

17:30 — Lieven Lahaye and Ott Metusala from Catalog (Amsterdam, Brussels, Tallinn)

Catalog is a serial publication about cataloging, written by Lieven Lahaye and designed by Ott Metusala, published intermittently since 2016 from Amsterdam, Brussels, and Tallinn. Catalog has no fixed format, they’ve taken the form of postcards, exhibition handouts, paper airplanes, paper hats, newspapers, bumper stickers…  Issues of Catalog have been published in support of exhibitions and events at institutions, artist-run spaces and bookshops; such as Kunstverein Amsterdam, Brno Biennial, Chert Lüdde Books, Colorama, Hopscotch, *rile, San Serriffe, Tallinn City Gallery, and VBKÖ.

The act of ‘cataloging’ here is related to the organisation and activation of information. In particular, Catalog is dedicated to the value of ephemeral information – printed matter, notes, sketches and secondary literature, but also furniture and objects, produced by amateurs. It is information, created as part of a process, that is destined for a short existence but can continue to be meaningful beyond that. The presentation in Vilnius will focus on recent issues of Catalog. www.cataloging.xyz

 

19:00 — Nina Akhvlediani from Kona Books (Tbilisi)

On the occasion of the CAC Reading Room get-together in Vilnius, the independent publisher and curator Nina Akhvlediani will present SERI(a) 3: Along the Lines.

Published by Kona Books, SERI(a) 3: Along the Lines is a new issue of the publication series, produced in collaboration with the State Silk Museum in Tbilisi.

SERI(a) is an extension of the museum, whose main purpose is to research and preserve the material and immaterial legacies of its predecessor, the Caucasian Sericulture Station. Guest curators edit and release this publication irregularly continuing the museum’s publishing efforts, while it remains under reconstruction.

The presentation will be accompanied by a reading of Tim Ingold’s essay Lines, Threads and Traces (2020). Ingold’s text served as the main inspiration for the framework of the third issue of SERI(a).

Nina Akhvlediani is an independent curator and publisher. She co-founded Kona Books, a Tbilisi-based publishing house and co-directs Posta da Kona bookshop. Akhvlediani leads an independent archive practice Dineba and since 2023 has been on the advisory board of the Design Institute in Tbilisi. www.konabooks.ge

 

Nina Akhvlediani on behalf of Nino Sekhniashvili from Posta Press (Tbilisi)

At CAC Reading Room in Vilnius, we will present a selection of bilingual editions by a Tbilisi-based publisher Posta Press.

Posta is a platform specialised in art publications, founded by Gallery Nectar and DesignTbilisi in 2015. Along with editorial work, the platform unites diverse publication projects and runs Posta da Kona in collaboration with Kona Books in Tbilisi. Posta da Kona also functions as a space for book launches, readings, screenings and exhibitions.

Nino Sekhniashvili is an artist and was the founder of Gallery Nectar (2013–2020) in Tbilisi. She was an initiator of Performance Days – a festival of performance art that took place annually between 2015 and 2018. Sekhniashvili works as an independent curator and publisher at Posta Press. www.postapress.ge

 

May 24, Friday at CAC Reading Room (Aušros Vartų St. 5 / Pasažo Ln., Vilnius)

17:30 — Hlib Velyhorskyi from Biblioteka (London)

For his talk titled ‘On Library Practice’ Hlib Velyhorskyi will share research on different conceptual foundations of libraries navigating questions of collection making, human experience and architecture and dwell on questions of the social and non-codified uses of library spaces.

Hlib Velyhorskyi is a London-based artist and architect, who is the founder and director of Biblioteka.

Biblioteka is an independent reference library of artists’ publications and books on art, architecture, sound, visual cultures, and design. It runs a regular programme of events encompassing collaborative and interdisciplinary practices playing with the possibilities of public programming within the library space. The project is currently based at the Architectural Association after moving from its previous location in Peckham, London. www.biblioteka.website

 

19:00 — Addison Richley and Clarice De Veyra from des pair books (Los Angeles)

Literary movements throughout time often take the form of an acronym for their group name, such as Dada and Oulipo. For des pair’s presentation, we have come up with what our own movement would be called in this same style. We’ll be sharing what inspires us, what we’re drawn to, and how our bookstore came to be.

des pair books was founded as a small press in New York by Addison Richley and Clarice De Veyra. In 2021 Addison opened des pair’s first store in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and a second location inside Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in West Hollywood. Today des pair is a shop, gallery, small press, and a place for conversation and ideas. www.despairbooks.com

 

The exact times and dates of each presentation will be announced shortly, stay focused!

The talks will be held in English and are free to attend.

This event is partly funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.