Before being confined by quarantine, Gallery 98 was fortunate to have acquired the library of the late art critic Edit deAk (1948-2017). Edit Deák was a rebellious artistic teenager living in communist Budapest, Hungary who engineered her escape in the trunk of a car and made her way to New York. Here she studied art at Columbia University, settled into a loft in pre-gentrified Soho, and reconfigured her last name to “deAk.”
Today deAk is best known for her work with ART-RITE, the DIY, newsprint magazine which she co-founded with Walter Robinson and Joshua Cohn in 1973. ART-RITE had an influence far beyond what one might expect given its small budget. Today, issues — the last appeared in 1978 — are collectors items that have recently been compiled into a 678-page ART-RITE book co-published by Printed Matter and Primary Information.
DeAk’s library provides a cross-section of art in the 1970s and 80s. Occasionally, an inscription connects her with a specific artist, writer or musician. A copy of the French book Alan Vega: 100,000 Watts of Fat City (1998) includes the inscription “Edit I will love you always,” a reminder that deAk was one of the earliest boosters of the influential musician and sculptor Alan Vega (aka Alan Suicide). Back in 1978, ART-RITE #13 was devoted exclusively to Vega, and Edit also collaborated with Walter Robinson and Paul Dougherty on a pioneering music video for Suicide’s apocalyptic song “Frankie Teardrop.”
Among the treasures in Edit deAk’s library are gallery catalogues for shows by Gerhard Richter, Dorothea Rockburne, Lee Krasner, Robert Longo, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Francisco Clemente, Sigmar Polke, Jörg Immendorf, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucci, Agnes Martin, May Stevens, and many others. Gallery 98 has begun posting some of these publications. Feel free to contact us if you have specific interests.