Anti-profit: Independent Publishing in London | Publishing Against the Grain


20 Cents Magazine, Volume 1, No. 6, February 1967 (detail). Edited by Robin Carey Askew.

Anti-profit: Independent Publishing in London

Curated by Ruth Skinner
September 14 – October 26, 2019
Opening reception: Thursday, September 26th, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

In the summer of 1969, the editors of 20 Cents Magazine, an independent art publication from London, Ontario, used the term “anti-profit” to describe both their endeavour and the perpetual challenge of their work.

“Low-budget” is a familiar adjective within artist-run culture—a constant limiting factor, strategy, difficulty, or emancipatory qualifier (depending on the day). Anti-profit: Independent Publishing in London explores the histories of independent arts and literary publishing by considering how and why small art presses wrangled with this seemingly perpetual precarity.

Curated by Western University PhD candidate Ruth Skinner from the McIntosh Gallery Curatorial Study Centre Collection, this exhibition will complement the international selection of similar material featured in Publishing Against the Grain.


Exhausted Geographies, publication image, 2017. Courtesy of Exhausted Geographies.

Publishing Against the Grain

Presented by Independent Curators International (ICI)
September 14 – October 26, 2019
Opening reception: Thursday, September 26th, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

McIntosh Gallery and Independent Curators International (ICI) are pleased to announce the presentation of Publishing Against the Grain, which examines the current state of publishing and art criticism as it exists in small journals, experimental publications, websites, and radio, as well as other innovative forms. It is organized around projects that connect theoretical, social, political, and aesthetic questions with a focus on community, whether understood in relation to a particular place, or defined by identity or diaspora.

Visitors will have a rare opportunity to engage in a variety of conversations from across the world. In the context of today’s corporatization and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.

Publishing Against the Grain provides space for reading, thinking, and conversing, in which slowing down can become a form of intellectual resistance. It encourages discursive public participation, self-reflective investigation, and invites visitors to discover new perspectives while connecting differing and analogous spheres of contemporary art.

In bringing these international projects together, Publishing Against the Grain reveals how their material and discursive activities respond to intersecting subjects such as contemporary aesthetics, diaspora, sex and gender, gentrification, race, language, and art history.

A selection of key publications was drawn from ICI’s international network of collaborators. These curators, artists, and scholars involved in independent publishing are represented in the exhibition through their own projects and those of others who have influenced their work and school of thought. The exhibition continues to grow, with new publications added at each venue. McIntosh Gallery will contribute three to the international tour.

This exhibition has been initiated by Independent Curators International (ICI)’s Alaina Claire Feldman, Becky Nahom, and Sanna Almajedi. With contributions by: Adjective / Art Against Art / Post Capitalism: A Guide to our Future, Telematic Embrace, The Transhumanist Reader / Bisagra / ramona / Chimurenga & Selections from the Chimurenga Library / Curatorial Dictionary / / East of Borneo / Artes Visuales / Exhausted Geographies / SCROLL / Fillip / Art-Language / Glänta / Bidayat / Makhzin / Souffles, Soufless-Anfas / Top Stories / Our Literal Speed / Collective Actions / Pages / Pumflet / Corrections and Clarifications / Counter-Signals / PISEAGRAMA / Urbânia / Raking Leaves / Aar Paar / SALT. / LIES / Start Journal / Uganda Press Photo Award / Stationary / Blackbird / Lenny Kwok / Tráfico Visual / Félix Suaz / White Fungus / Life Is A Rip Off

The exhibition was made possible with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum. The McIntosh Gallery presentation has been organized by James Patten and is supported by The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council and Western University.

Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, training opportunities, research initiatives, and publications for curators and audiences around the world. Established in 1975, ICI is headquartered in New York, but active around the world. ICI’s programs are presented and often developed in partnership with art spaces across the globe, encouraging new infrastructures for art practice internationally, and inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art.

Related Programming on Saturday, September 14, 2019:

Doors Open London: Untold Stories of the Forest City
Presented in partnership with the London Heritage Council
Extended gallery hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Collage Zine Workshop:
Make your own artist book! Cut and paste images and text from a wide assortment of art magazines to make a unique handmade “zine”. You will be given a blank booklet to start with and all the materials and guidance you need. Refreshments provided. Drop in anytime between 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Exhibition Tours:
Join us for guided tours of Publishing Against the Grain and Anti-profit: Independent Publishing in London at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

For more information about McIntosh Gallery programming contact Abby Vincent, Communications and Outreach Coordinator,, 519.661.2111 ext. 87576

McIntosh Gallery
1151 Richmond Street N.,
London, ON, N6A 3K7
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: @McIntoshGallery

McIntosh Gallery offers free admission to all exhibitions
Monday to Friday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Saturday: 12 PM – 4 PM
We regret that McIntosh Gallery is not accessible.