Openings & Closings – The Richard Kostelanetz Bookstore, Kunstverein, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

July 2 – October 1, 2011

Richard Kostelanetz (born 1940, New York) is an American writer, artist, critic, and editor of the avant-garde. He is infamous for his prolific and often biting prose. In his short fictions (some only 2 words long) and visual poetry, RK employs a radically formalist approach consisting of arrangements of words on a page using such devices as linking language and sequence, punning, alliteration, parallelism, constructivism, and minimalism. His literary work challenges the reader in unconventional ways and is often printed in limited editions at small presses. Kostelanetz’s nonfiction work The End of Intelligent Writing: Literary Politics in America (1974) charged the New York literary and publishing establishment with inhibiting the publishing and promotion of works by innovative younger authors. Among his other works are Recyclings: A Literary Autobiography (1974, 1984), Politics in the African-American Novel (1991), Published Encomia, 1967-91 (1991), On Innovative Art(ist)s (1992) and A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (1999, 2001). In 1970 Kostelanetz co-founded and directed the innovative annual aptly called Assembling; thirteen editions of “otherwise unpublishable” art and literature, including the Complete Assembling were produced between 1970 and 1982. Now scarce, Kunstverein will have the complete set of Assembling 1 through 13 on view. Also available will be the many recordings and audiocassettes issued on RK’s own label, as well as critically acclaimed edited works on B.B. King, Merce Cunningham, John Cage and Gertrude Stein.

For reasons closely connected to Kostelanetz’s practice we feel it is consistent that Kunstverein becomes a Bookstore dedicated to the artist – as a more viable alternative to a straight forward retrospective. The Richard Kostelanetz Bookstore will host and sell all of RK’s publications (over 80 titles). As well, rare artifacts, editions and smaller artworks will be on view in the secret backroom. Richard Kostelanetz’s role since the late 60s has been one of instigator, assembler, editor, artist and journalist. This multi-relational practice is not only historically significant, it is unquestionably inspirational and exemplary for the present.

Openings & Closings – The Richard Kostelanetz Bookstore is conceived in dialogue with Hyo Kwon and Goda Budvytyte.