Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

A squat retail building in New Orleans’ Marigny neighborhood sits empty. Delta Countertops & Cabinets, its last tenants, are long gone, and the storefront is tagged with graffiti, including baby blue cursive spelling out “Sauce!” A glossy poster, roughly two-feet-high by four-feet-wide, hangs off center on the metal siding. The poster features a cheery illustration that might portend new development — housing, perhaps, or a revived commercial strip to replace the down-on-its-luck building? Closer inspection of the colorful rendering reveals a new future for the rundown structure. In the illustration the building is transformed into an ersatz mobile grocery. It’s raised high in the air and mounted on the back of a pickup; there’s a cascade of jumbo shrimp tumbling out of it. Airborne bananas and giant carrot-shaped street benches add to a festive composition. In the upper right hand corner is a logo and the enigmatic words: The Hypothetical Development Organization.

The poster is fiction.

But it is also a commentary on the need for grocery stores in underserved communities. Conceived by graphic designer/urban planner Candy Chang, and entitled Mobile Cornucopia, it is a piece in the new collective art project, The Hypothetical Development Organization (H.D.O.). Read More …

“In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Now books are written by the public and read by nobody.”—Oscar Wilde

The popularity of the aphorism, a short, memorable, often pithy statement, goes hand in hand with the invention of printing. Throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, aphorisms and maxims were published globally in thick, bound collections. Although print remains precarious in a digital age, the aphoristic statement lives on.

For the Book Launch Cabaret at Storefront for Art and Architecture to celebrate Studio-X’s release, The Studio-X NY Guide to Liberating New Forms of Conversation (GSAPP Books, 2010), edited by Gavin Browning, Mimi Zeiger presented Maximum Maxim MMX a zine maximized with maxims germane to architecture and publishing.

Traveling the world as part of Archizines.

Fans of Pin-Up, the gold-covered New York-based publication that mixes architecture and bondage at will, will be pleased to note that it comes out of a long line of magazines, available via the mail but not necessarily naughty. Mimi Zeiger is a self-described “old zinester,” who printed the first issue of her zine about architecture, loudpaper, as a graduate student at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. It was her graduate thesis, and she printed it on paper from de-commissioned maps and put a picture of Elvis on top. More recently, Zeiger added an online component,  her blog; now she is re-visiting zine history with A Few Zines, an exhibition that opens tonight at Columbia’s Studio X.

Upon its publication in 1996, loud paper joined Lackluster, Infiltration, Dodge City Journal, and Monorail as alternatives to trade and academic journals by mixing architecture and pop culture and cultivating a social aspect. To hear Zeiger tell it, publishing architecture zines was part of a vital network of sub-cultures. Zeiger’s was her interest in the Indie music scene: “You couldn’t miss it,” she says, “I was more of arty kid than a punk rock kid. You found your way through sub-cultures.” She compares the types of connections to a Facebook network today, as a community where acquaintances for whom it was relatively easy to reach out. It also brought advertisers together with writers; “Ads were part of the editorial” says Zeiger, describing ads for Dischord Records laid out alongside MIT Press. People have stayed involved, opening magazines of significant distribution like Dwell and American Craft.