C/O—Marking Time
A Decade (+) of Bookmaking


Back in 2005, before Content Object (C/O) was even a thought, I designed my first ever art catalog for Glenn Philipp’s Marking Time exhibition at LACE. Albeit a small staple-bound book, its title turned out to be hugely prophetic to the development of my own practice. From centennials to surveys, to retrospectives, to exhibition catalogs, I have been marking time in a wild fabric of artists' and activists’ practices woven together in the most unexpected ways.

Now on August 27, 2022, C/O has its own timestamp to celebrate: one whole decade!

It also happens to be my birthday (and Alice Coltrane’s, too…but that's just luck). On a hot afternoon in August 2012, I drove to the Valley to register C/O’s name. The circumstances of exactly why this needed to happen on this day are hazy, but I can say for certain it was not intentional. But now, in retrospect, I'm glad it played out the way it did. It is a testament to my desire to hold a practice that folds art, life, and the means needed for living all into one.

There are so many people to acknowledge that accompanied me along this journey and I am eternally indebted to all of you. To name just a few: Mark Allen, Anthony Elms, Naima Keith, Rebecca McGrew, and Jenny Watts were very early supporters at the inception of C/O. I believe that each of the books we did together compounded and exploded into what is now a roster of over 60 books (and counting). Design assistants Becca Lofchie, MJ Balvanera, Nikki Roach, and Sam Wagner added their unique flavors to each project they worked on, leaving a legacy of their talents. Without project managers Lisa Doran and David Evans Frantz this ship would have certainly sailed in another direction. And of course, my trusted co-pilot, Tony Manzella (Echelon) as well as printers, Verona Libri, Conti, and Permanent Printing have been key in bringing these books to life.

The full list of acknowledgments for the past ten years is truly a tome. Happy birthday C/O and all of you co-conspirators, co-mrades, co-llaborators, co-inhabitants! So happy to be at this party with you!

Much love,
Kimberly


Below (and above) are a couple of recent highlights, plus a selection of books from the archive


2022—


Tala Madani: Biscuits
Edited by Ali Subotnick and Rebecca Lowery; Opens at MOCA on September 8, 2022


2021—


Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour (Isaac Julien Studio); Yesterday we said tomorrow (Naima Keith and Diana Nawi, Prospect 5); and Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend (Rebecca McGrew, Benton Museum of Art and Ciara Ennis, Pitzer College Galleries)


2020—


To Bough and To Bend
Bridge Projects (alongside two other books in the series)


2019—


Nineteen Nineteen
Edited by James Glisson and Jennifer A. Watts; The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens


2018—


Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.
Edited by C. Ondine Chavoya and David Evans Frantz with Macarena Gómez-Barris; Part of Getty's PST LA/LA


2017—


Machine Project: The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request)
Edited by Mark Allen and Rachel Seligman; Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College


2016—


Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense
Edited by Caroline A. Jones, David Mather, and Rebecca Uchill; Center for Art, Science, & Technology and MIT Press


2015—


Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial
Edited by Andrea Lipps and Ellen Lupton; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Museum of Design

2014—


Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989
Edited by Naima J. Keith; Studio Museum in Harlem


2013—


The Shadows Took Shape
Edited by Naima J. Keith and Zoe Whitley; Studio Museum in Harlem


2012—


Venice’s Beach Biannual 2012
A collaboration by Lisa Anne Auerbach, Robby Herbst, and Kimberly Varella; Hammer Museum



Image credits: Selected books designed by Content Object from 2012–22. Book photography by Ian Byers-Gamber. Courtesy Content Object.