In the Fall of 2022, Printed Matter / St Marks presented we web keepers, a window exhibition by artist, activist, educator, storyteller, and curator Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo. This newsprint publication of the same name is a translation and continuation of that project; it opens with a new essay by Ayana Zaire Cotton.
In addition to a large-scale window painting, the exhibition included a series of works on paper added to a window, one by one, over the course of eight weeks. The works were double sided with painted text facing the street (including contributions from Lukaza and others noted in the bibliography below) and with various patterns facing into the bookstore. This slow accumulation of paper mimicked the ethos and life cycle of bulletin boards, themselves public sites wherein people exchange messages, share demands, ask for help, broadcast their stories. Printed Matter staff put up the works at random, creating a knot of unsequenced text that looked out onto the East Village, with phrases discernible but the entire passage obscured.
This publication untangles that knot. Here, Lukaza’s paintings are presented in their original order: unfurled, sentential, and sprawled across newsprint like the morning paper. Extending the functions of the bulletin board, a newspaper is a tool to disperse stories quickly and widely within communities.