Imperfect Archiving/Archiving as Practice

Imperfect Archiving/Archiving as Practice is a reading room by GenderFail Archive. This reading room encourages slowing down to digest and re-imagining how archives can be shared in public spaces. With the resurgence of small press publishing and artist publishing practices, it is important to define and expand the possibilities of the archive.

GenderFail Archive Project reading rooms are a counterpoint to unimaginative and noncritical reading rooms that appear at institutions, galleries, and other art-focused spaces. The main goal of the GenderFail Archive Project is to connect people to zines, art books, and artist books that GenderFail founder Be Oakley has collected over many years. The GenderFail Archive highlights contemporary publishing from the perspective of a contemporary artist publisher.

Imperfect Archiving/Archiving as Practice shows its full collection of over 1,000 art books, artist books, and zines for the first time. GenderFail will also be showing GenderFail Archive Project Bookcases, which are collaborative sculptures made with artists that reimagine how books can be displayed in reading room installations. The GenderFail Archive Project has installed reading rooms within various institutions such as MoMA PS1, The International Center of Photography, The Studio Museum of Harlem, EFA Project Space, and many others.

About the Artist

Started in 2015, GenderFail is an imperfect programming and publishing platform that highlights intersectional queer subjectivity. Their projects look at various forms of failure – from personal, public, and political perspectives – as a boundless form of creative potential. GenderFail is fueled by the messiness of collaboration, education, and community to push our goals of failing forward. They have been a part of projects, programming, and exhibitions including The Studio Museum in Harlem (Radical Reading Room, 2019), Williams College Museum of Art (Queer Zines, 2019), MoMA PS1 (Past and Future Fictions, 2018), The International Center of Photography (Queering the Collection, 2018), among many others. Their publications can be found in the library collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Center for Book Arts, Tate Museum Zine Library, among others.

Exhibition Views

Imperfect Archiving, Archiving as Practice (2021) Be Oakley
Imperfect Archiving, Archiving as Practice (2021) Be Oakley
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