In the mix of the enormous bounty of offerings filling Minnesota Street Project during this weekend’s San Francisco Art Book Fair, one book, one show and one panel discussion deserve special mention.
Steven Leiber Catalogs, published by Inventory Press and RITE Editions (founded by Robin Wright and Steven Leiber in 2009) showcases the 52 catalogs Leiber produced as part of his work as a dealer of late-20th-century “avant-art and its ephemera.”
Leiber passed away in 2012, and RITE Editions has continued to put out editions (both tomes and objects) at the rate of about two or three a year. The latest is essentially a catalog of catalogs, documenting each of Leiber’s often-meta way of presenting the material he was selling. One of his dealer catalogs is a red binder fashioned after the documenta 5 catalog; another is a cardboard box offering up publications that also took the form of boxes; yet another resembles an old library card catalog system, an inventory of artists’ books.
And if images on the page aren’t enough for you, David Senior (the publication’s editor and SFMOMA’s head of library and archives) curates an exhibition at Bass & Reiner Gallery, on view through July 27, presenting both Leiber’s catalogs and some of the source materials that inspired their winking formats.
The cherry on top is a panel discussion moderated by Senior on Saturday, July 20 at 3pm, during which friends, colleagues and a former Lieber employee discuss the dealer and his catalogs. In the swell of energy around new art books and the crush of book fair crowds, the programming around Steven Leiber Catalogs provides a moment to look back on a local legend who celebrated artists’ ideas and their material output, inspiring others to both enjoy and think seriously about all that was yet to come. —Sarah Hotchkiss