Jeffrey Deitch’s prominence as an advocate for new and edgy art can be traced back to his very first curatorial venture, at age 23. The 1975 exhibition “Lives,” at the Fine Arts Building (NYC), captured a moment of art-world change when conceptual art was evolving away from didacticism and beginning to embrace real-life issues. Deitch explained it in his subtitle, “Artists Who Deal With Peoples’ Lives (Including Their Own) As The Subject And/Or The Medium Of Their Work.” Many years later, in an interview following his appointment as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, he would recall that the exhibition “laid the foundation for what I’ve been doing ever since.”
In the spirit of the 1970s, Deitch not only curated the exhibition, but also produced a do-it-yourself Xerox catalog. His insightful text was supplemented with uniquely designed pages, mostly created by the artists themselves: Laurie Anderson, Chris Burden, Colette, Gilbert & George, Ray Johnson, On Kawara, Adrian Piper, William Wegman, Roger Welch, Hannah Wilke, and many others. The publication—copied, collated, and stapled—was distributed to each of the artists and a few others. It’s not known exactly how many copies of this hand-made catalog were produced, but it is likely that there were fewer than 100. Few have ever surfaced for sale.
More information about the “Lives” exhibition, a full transcript of Deitch’s text, and the artists’ pages can be found at 98bowery.com. Collectors interested in owning an actual vintage copy of this rare publication can contact Gallery 98.