Last week’s Zine Swap Party was fantastic. I blame the deviled eggs. It’s kind of surprising that a room full of zines and a room full of booknerds didn’t end up entirely anti-social (ie everybody in their own corner reading new mini comics), but it was perfect. Conversation flowed from “the old days” to “that time Dame Darcy was on tv”.
Plenty of people brought books to trade, and I’m hoping that they each went home with some good scores. My goal was to get rid of a ton of books, but I ended up with more zines than I started with… It was sort of like ending up with a bunch of 7 layer bean dips after a party. When the evening was done, Matt Wobensmith and myself got down to trading and talking. Matt’s view of zines as a modern folk art sort of bowled me over. I never thought of them that way. I knew that someday, someone would start collecting these obscure music zines, but I never really imagined them being collected as an art form. Matt says that as the economy is slowing down, museums are looking at zine collections with a keen eye. After all, they could spend $40,000-100,000 on an emerging artist, or spend less than $10,000 on an entire zine collection.
I have a hard time thinking that a museum would be willing to buy any piece of art that they couldn’t display. After all, there’s too much art within the pages of a zine to allow it to be hung from a wall, and the zines are too fragile to just leave out for the public. Right?
For me, zine culture was a fun way to watch ideas physically travel. Following zines was like watching an internet meme catch on in slow motion. Nothing embodied this quite like the Riot Grrrl movement. It all must have started with one or two zines out of Olympia, then slowly spread throughout the US. I’m not just talking about the Riot Grrrl movement spreading, but the idea itself as a meme.
As I said, the swap was a ton of fun, so Matt and I are planning another that will be held at his shop (Goteblud on Valencia). This swap is tentatively scheduled on August 26th, but please check back on this site for confirmation. Thanks to all that came.