Visual Studies Workshop Press ~ New York                          Share this page:
(Tate Shaw, Director)

VSW: "Fueled by his own expansive ideas about photography—as a tool of social commentary and contemporary experimentation—VSW and the MFA program were founded in 1969 by Nathan Lyons. Just a few years after the founding of the school, Nathan’s partner Joan Lyons founded VSW Press to give artists a place to print their own artists’ books and produce the work they wanted to make—not what was dictated to them by the commercial pressures of publishers, galleries, and museums. That ethos lives today in VSW, which nearly five decades later continues to thrive as a laboratory for leadership and independent thinking."
Links to Works produced with other artists  

There May Still Be Time Left
Images from the Black Alchemy Series
By Aaron Turner
With essay by Daonne Huff
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2022. Edition of 250.

5.5 x 9”; 64 unnumbered pages. Printed digital offset. Includes “Interview Postscript” and index of images. Hardbound in velour with titles on spine.

VSW: "Part of The Black Alchemy series, ‘There May Still Be Time Left’ continues Turner’s examination of the present, Black artists, and Black American history through construction, abstraction, and projection. Included is ‘A Litany of Aesthetics (Composition in Black, White, and Grey)’ an epistolary essay by writer Daonne Huff, who writes to Turner: ‘I look at your work and I think about the importance of the archive. Not just the official ones that are deemed worthy of protection and conservation by institutions as a testament, as an acknowledgment of a deserving and worthy public history, or as a deserving and worthy public life, but also the personal ones, the family ones, the private ones not intended or prepared for public consumption, review or affirmation.’”

Black Alchemy by Aaron Turner is a series of installations and other media in which “the monolithic historical narrative within Art History, and tis recognition bias of notable black artists until later in their careers or death.” Turner said in talking about one Black Alchemy installation that “my role as the artist is to reveal what is hidden, in collaboration with history, through the photographic archive.

Aaron R. Turner, bio: “Aaron Turner is a photographer and educator currently based in Arkansas. He uses photography as a transformative process to understand the ideas of home and resilience in two main areas of the U.S., the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas. Aaron also uses the 4x5 view camera to create still-life studies on identity, history, blackness as material, and abstraction. Aaron received his M.A. from Ohio University and an M.F.A from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.”

There May Still Be Time Left book
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Measuring Time
By Ephraim Asili
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2021. Edition of 500.

8.5 x 11, 12 gatefolds and 1 double gatefold, hidden wire-o binding, includes a 7" vinyl record and comes in a die-cut slip-case.

VSW: "Part of the FAB (Film Art Book) imprint for VSW Press, ‘Measuring Time’ by Ephraim Asili represents a transitional period between the filmmaker's touring and screenings on the festival circuit for ‘The Diaspora Suite’ and the completion of his first feature film, ‘The Inheritance’. While at the BlackStar film festival in his hometown of Philadelphia, Asili began making Polaroid portraits of his community and his interest in photographing expanded soon after. Research elements that play a central role in ‘The Inheritance’ also factor in this notebook. Included is a 7 inch vinyl record Addendum of the artist's Hip Hop inspired audio journal recordings. A uniquely poetic work in its own right, this book and record document the expansive cosmos around Asili's critically important films.

"Ephraim Asili is an African-American artist, filmmaker, D.J., and traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world. Asili resides in Hudson, NY and is a professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College."

Measuring Time book
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navigating the Virtual and Physical Divide

By Hannah Smith Allen
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2020. Edition of 125.

11.5 x 13.5 inches closed; 11.5 x 175 inches open. Folded book of collage and map photography. In a hand screen printed, die-cut slip case.

VSW: "After the 2016 US presidential election, Hannah Smith Allen began visiting Google Earth to study the wall that separates California from Mexico. She noticed that glitches in the mapping software allow users to slip through the wall into another country's territory. Immediately, she began to video record her Google Earth travels. The digital aberrations of the collapsing wall inspired her to make three physical trips to the US Southern border. This accordion fold book/sculptural form is made from the over 500 photographs the artist made along the physical border as well as extracted video stills from Google Earth. A text weaves through nearly 200 inch wide piece making for ‘Physical and Virtual Index of Numbers, Codes, and Crossings (in no particular order)’. ”

Artist Statement and Biography: “For the past decade, Hannah Smith Allen’s artwork has focused on ideas of history and nationhood. Whether she photographs a Revolutionary War site, examines the U.S./Mexico border, or contemplates how photography mediates her understanding of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, Allen examines how images of conflict and contested lands shape the American psyche and history.

“Allen is an Associate Professor of Photography and Digital Media at Adelphi University and holds degrees from the School of Visual Arts and Rhode Island School of Design.”

Borderlands book
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By Nick Marshall
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2016. Edition of 100.

8.5 x11"; 37 pages. Multiple paper stocks. Single post bound in corner with plastic covers.

VSW: "This book is the next step in the evolution of Nick Marshall’s _e_scapes project that he has been working on since 2012. Based on a series of prints, paintings, and sketches depicting color in landscape, Nick found inspiration in paint manufacturer’s use of nature and time to assign names to their colors. During his residency at VSW, he sequenced a book based on the photo images and paint swatches. This iteration takes the reader through a day that starts at Dawn’s Early Light C57-1 and eventually fades into a Peaceful Night 590F-7.

"_e_scapes is full of subtle wit, allusions to illusions, and humorous commentary on our relationship with escape. Marshall’s work meditates on intangible meeting places: of the horizon, and on the tension between transcendence and authenticity versus fabricated experience. The artist says he is interested in the romantic perspectives we have of the sea, and where that illusion falls short—how we strip away its transcendent quality and engage with it in a fabricated, temporal way, through 'vacations' or by painting the walls of a space with particular idyllically named hues.

"This work has emerged from Marshall’s interest in vernacular photographs as objects, but also from a fascination that arose from the duties associated with his current position as manager of exhibitions and programming at George Eastman Museum. The artist spends his days planning and constructing ephemeral settings in support of photography exhibitions, choosing paint colors, and preparing walls for exhibitions. Through this work, Marshall gained an unlikely fascination with the mundane absurdity in the naming of paints. 'They’re all given names, like Crisp Morning Air, which don’t necessarily describe a color,' he says. The stacks of paint swatch books in his office began to reveal a prevalence of colors with names that described air and water. 'Both are very fluid, and ephemeral, and to try to pick a specific color to represent the sky in Utah . . . there’s just kind of a level of absurdity to it.'"

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Ladies First
By Keith Smith
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2016.
Edition of 100.

43 x 24 x 7 cm closed; 34 leaves. Single sheet accordion fold. Printed in Rochester by Merlin Color. Boxed. Signed by the artist on the title page.

Ladies Frist are reproductions of formal portraits of female subjects altered by the addition of superimposed male images.

VSW: "Ladies First continues Smith's playful exploration of art history and gender as the female subjects of formal 18th and 19th century portraits take younger, wax-chested male lovers or transition into men with accompanying commentary for the portraits. The bottom border contains a running text regarding the process of Ladies First."

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Works with other artists
Drone / 1, 2, 3 by Francois Deschamps
Fake Snow Collection by Heidi Neilson
The Ground by Tate Shaw
Model Theory by Francois Deschamps


Visual Studies Workshop Press Out of Print Titles:

Essay by Martha Rosler
Images by Jason Lazarus
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2018.
Edition of 250.

Accordion: 8 x 10"closed; 8 x 100" extended vertical fold; 10 pages; text on one side; images on other. Book: 8.25 x 10"; 40 pages; saddle-stitched. Envelope: 10.8 x 13.6"; chipboard; screen-printed; title printed on flap.

VSW: "Since the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Jason Lazarus has been creating photograms. The photograms are hand-painted with photo developer and fixer on various types of fiber and resin coated papers. Each of the photograms has painted on it the phone number 202-456-1111. The phone number belongs to the White House.

"Lazarus lives with a physical condition, arthrogryposis, the same condition that afflicts the NY Times reporter, Serge F. Kovaleski, who the 45th President publicly mocked on November 25, 2015. Lazarus donates the original photogram prints to different non-profit arts organizations (Visual Studies Workshop included), for their respective fundraising efforts in this era of attempted mass disenfranchisement.

"202-456-1111 is a limited edition … that represents Lazarus’ photograms and includes and insightful essay by the eminent Martha Rosler who perfectly distills our time under 45. The limited edition of the book comes in a screen printed envelope and includes a monumental accordion piece with details of prints as well as a book that represents 35 of the photograms in full. Both bookworks include the Rosler essay.

"Jason Lazarus is an artist, curator, educator, and writer based in Florida. His work frequently deals with the politics of representation and is often an extension of the photography field. Lazarus has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and internationally including at SF MOMA, George Eastman Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

"Martha Rosler is an important artist, writer, and educator of the 20th and 21st Centuries. She is renowned for her work in photography, photomontage, video, performance, for her use of popular forms such as television and advertising, and for her critical work on subjects of feminism, war, and homelessness.”
(SOLD/Out of Print)

202-456-1111 book
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Dark Matter
By Granville Carroll
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2022. Edition of 150.

6 x 9"; 148 pages. Digital offset. Silver and black printing on black paper. Coil bound with screen printed soft matte covers.

VSW: "’Dark Matter’ by Granville Carroll is an artist’s book about darkness and light, the infinity of the cosmos and the divine, big bangs and subtle language. Themes relating to cosmic origins and thoughts on existence, life and death, are embedded in the writings and images. Comprised of heavy black paper with only silver and black printing, the reader of ‘Dark Matter’ must adjust to an aesthetic where light reaches into an already compelling and infinite-seeming blackness.

“’Dark Matter’ expands on Carroll’s themes of Afrofuturism, years of beautiful experiments with analog and digital photographic montage techniques, and poetry. This project extends from his greater work that ‘explores and expands ideas around racial blackness to encompass spatial blackness, temporal blackness, and spiritual blackness. Carroll highlights the imaginative qualities of the human mind through world building and storytelling to discover new futures and states of being.’”

Artist statement: “Granville Carroll is a visual artist, educator at Arizona State University, and Afrofuturist working with digital technology, poetry, and alternative processes to reshape the world. Carroll’s artwork explores photographic representation and vision to understand the process of existence and interpretation. Simultaneously, he explores and expands ideas around racial blackness to encompass spatial blackness, temporal blackness, and spiritual blackness. Carroll highlights the imaginative qualities of the human mind through world building and storytelling to discover new futures and states of being. At the core of his practice is the investigation into metaphysics and the ontology of self and the universe.

“Carroll earned a BFA in photography from Arizona State University in 2018 and an MFA in photography and related media from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2020.”
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Dark Matter book
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It Wasn't Little Rock
By Clarissa T. Sligh
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2005. Edition of 150.

8 x 11"; 74 pages. Printed on an Indigo Digital Press. Spiral bound in laminated covers.

Prospectus: "The Supreme Court's historic ruling, in the 1954 case of Brown vs. Board of Education, that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools by race was unconstitutional, provided a judicial framework for school desegregation that was tested community by community – often school by school. It Wasn't Little Rock is a telling of stories about Ethel Mozelle Thompson, the daughter of a sharecropper from North Carolina, who entered her children, including Clarissa Sligh, in school desegregation lawsuits that placed them in white schools. But the story line doesn't end there. It is written in the voices of those children, a grandchild, and great-grandchild. Family snapshots, news clippings, letters, and excerpts from legal documents and interviews are intertwined in a personal story of struggle, anger, pride – and the revelation of a family tragedy that led Ethel, a quiet, reserved, 'colored' woman to her activism."

Clarissa Sligh: "In this book, the artist sought to understand what motivated her mother, a quiet, reserved, seemingly passive but determined 'colored' woman who grew up in the South, to offer up her children as plaintiffs in the Arlington school class action suits. It is a personal struggle, anger, pride and the revelation of a family tragedy that led Ethel to her activism."
(SOLD / Out of Print)


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Pleasure Beach
a book in three parts

By Syl Labrot
New York City: [Eclipse], 1976. First edition of 1200.

10.5 x 15.75"; 84 pages. Text in Monotype Bembo, Garamond, Linotype Weiss, Italic, and Arrighi (often photographically manipulated). Offset printed. Quarter cloth bound. Smyth sewn with flat black headband, square back binding, and illustrated dust jacket. With color photo-montage artwork throughout.

A three-part personal meditation on the nature of color photography.

VSW: "Pleasure Beach represents breakthroughs both in conception and production. Its design is symphonic, incorporating numerous themes and movements of color, layered images, and texts. It was printed under Labrot's careful super-vision from fine-line negatives made using techniques which he developed specifically for the offset production of this book."

Light Work Collection: "Syl Labrot's recent photographically-derived offset work is a significant departure from the traditional single image. Pleasure Beach, a lavish extension of the photographic book, is a remarkably dramatic exploration into his own history and imagination. Its foundations [are] Labrot's long-standing concern with the color photographic print as a space quite separate from both the reality reproduced by the camera and the graphic forces of the print, the print transcends its parts, yet is deeply linked to them. Working with offset allowed him to reconstruct and redefine his own evidence, much as if he were his own archaeologist.

"Syl Labrot was born in New Orleans in 1929 and died in 1977. He worked in many aspects of photography and printmaking including a collaboration with Walter Chappell and Nathan Lyons, that produced the book Under the Sun in 1960. His photographs, prints and paintings were widely exhibited and collected during his lifetime."

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Page last update: 02.05.2024


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