Artist & Author

Clearinghouse Publishers: “Official” cover

“Official” (2010), issue #5 of “Clearinghouse Publishers” with accompanying letter. Download the issue here

“Dear Subscriber:

We trust that November finds you richer, due to the special supplement “Bank Notes.” Though the pages of that wee coupon book didn’t have dotted lines, nevertheless they were meant for tearing out and using against the big banks that have all of our family jewels clamped shut in their vaults. Don’t hesitate to buy yourselves something nice, courtesy of Clearinghouse, and think nothing of forwarding, say, 2-5% of your haul to this publisher to defray the costs of our production.

About “Making Things Worse” let us say, with a mixture of regret and excitement, that it not only had its intended effect, but that it produced the first concrete response to these publications from any of our subscribers (kind electronic words notwithstanding).

Since a couple of our subscribers are unknown to us personally, we have gone out on a limb in including them in our mailings. One went so far as to dispatch the police to our offices, in order to ascertain our level of mental stability and to assess whether the contents of  “Making Things Worse” were directed at him personally. While we were mortified to have induced a fear for personal safety in any of our readers, we were nonetheless shocked and awed that there remains any power left in art at all. If only we had had the presence of mind to snap a photograph of the officer holding the issue!

The enclosed issue finds us returning to the realms of propriety, and explores the notion of artist as bureaucrat, as ad-man, as consultant, as worker and professional. (To this end, we have asked members of the private consulting firm Imperial Services to contribute to this issue.) Throughout the making of “Official”, the image stuck in the editorial mind was of artist as office worker, for better or worse. As individual toiling in obscurity on small works of no consequence which are brought to the public with great effort and to small effect. Clocking in and out, only without the paycheck.

And, again, the contents of this issue come back to our perception that great ideas flow uninterrupted into one cosmic ear and out the other. We asked our contributors to work backwards from the [tele-]visual presentation of ideas to the ideas themselves, as a way of engaging our readership in the mission of Clearinghouse, which is to incite collaboration, clear the mental cobwebs, and, with any luck, damage some private property.

“Official” was made almost entirely “on the clock.”
“Official” out-bureaucratizes bureaucrats everywhere.
“Official” accepts the fact that art is a business,
and by the way wants to ask you if you’ve thought about that raise.
“Official” is Xeroxing its ass on company time.
“Official” wants measurements stated to the fifth decimal place.
“Official” breeds sheep in wolves’ clothing.
“Official” wonders why humans spend more time typing up and filing ideas than executing them.

Dan Nelson, editor”

The artist book “Official” presented the notion of artist as bureaucrat, as ad-man, as consultant, as worker and professional. This issue marked the first public emergence since the late ’90s of my project “Imperial Services,” a private consulting firm, members of which contributed to the issue.