Interview with Antenne Books
18 apr 2014 by Myrto Katsimicha
art:i:curate interviews Antenne Books, a distributor of independent art publishers established in London in 2010, to learn more about the independent art publishing sector and asked them to give out their Top 5 picks of this month. art:i:curate hosted Antenne Books in its latest exhibition Restate featuring a selection of independent art publications in its reading corner.
MK: Tell us about Antenne Books? When did it all start?
AB: Antenne Books was founded by Marius Hansen around 3 years ago as a platform for independent publishers. The main aim was to provide a wider reach for publishers making really interesting books, but in smaller numbers, who were often discouraged by the larger distributors working with art books.
MK: How does the submission process work in terms of selecting the publications you decide to distribute?
AB: We welcome submissions. It's always nice to see books in print rather than PDFs so that we can get a sense of print quality, scale, paper stock, etc. The selection process relies a little on personal taste and also on what we think will sell, but mainly on the understanding of the sentiment of the publication; something with a unique standpoint, engaging, well-considered content and beautifully produced. There are publishers that we have built up a great relationship with over the years and have come to trust and understand their judgement. This makes it easy to just take on everything that they put out.
MK: In 2012, you initiated Antenne Publishing as an extension of Antenne Books, in order to work directly with artists to produce books, multiples and editions. Have you recognized a certain lack in the art publishing sector?
AB: Not at all. We see amazing independent books all the time. Antenne Publishing was just a way to be involved in the more creative side. It wasn't filling a gap, more a means of contributing to all the great books available.
MK: In the digital era in which we are living lots of publishing houses are confronted with debts that force them to closure. The emergence of Internet, that has introduced various channels of data distribution such as websites, blogs, etc., has changed the way we access information and more specifically our engagement with books. Has the art publishing sector been affected and if so what is the key element that will sustain artistic production in terms of publications?
AB: There seemed to be a scare a few years ago about the 'death of print' as digital was becoming the norm. I think we've learned that there is nothing to worry about and digital and print can exist together, and help each other. It's interesting to watch it evolve. Independent art publishing continues to grow.
The book is a totally different medium to online, and impossible to recreate in digital form. I think that independent publishing has thrived because of it. There are clear benefits to both so now it's about artists/publishers exploiting the different qualities of web and print. The tactile nature of the book can be endlessly explored.
For us being a young company, we've witnessed growth rather than loss. Companies working in art publishing over the last thirty years might be able to shed more light on how things have changed but for us, it seems to be mainly positive.
MK: Tell us about the experience of working directly with artists?
AB: Working directly with artists is the main appeal of the job. Hearing someone talk passionately about a project they are making into book form is a real joy. It's really important to have personal contact with the publishers when selling the books on to retailers. If you don't understand the intention of the publication then it's near impossible to convince someone else to buy it. (sorry if this answer is vague, we don't really work directly with 'artists' mainly with publishers)
MK: Your Top 5 picks of this month.
All Images Courtesy of Antenne Books