Gagosian, the influential art gallery, is launching a new publishing imprint, Picture Books, in December. The imprint, conceived by author Emma Cline, will publish a series of fiction books by leading literary authors alongside contributions by celebrated contemporary artists.
Each of the books in the series will pair an author with an artist for a single book, with the artist “given carte blanche to create an image that is in conversation with the writer’s story.” The image will be included with the book in the form of a printed poster. Peter Mendelsund, the author, book designer, and creative director of the Atlantic, will design all the covers for the books, which will be released in limited hardcover editions.
Picture Books will launch with two books: Ottessa Moshfegh’s My New Novel (2021), matched with an artwork by Issy Wood; and Percival Everett’s Grand Canyon, Inc. (2021), accompanied by a Richard Prince artwork. Authors Mary Gaitskill and Elif Batuman are among those tapped to contribute to the series in the future, and the imprint hopes to publish 3-4 books per year going forward. Gagosian will distribute the books itself; they will be available for purchase at the gallery's online Gagosian Shop, its physical location on Madison Avenue in New York, and at “select bookstores.”
“Picture Books creates a space for a new kind of dialogue between art and fiction,” Cline said in a statement. “While writers often engage with art and artists in the form of a catalogue essay or a critical review, there was no equivalent platform for artists to respond to a work of fiction. Gagosian was the ideal partner in bringing this project to life: the gallery has a strong appreciation for the echoes and illuminations that result from conversations between different mediums and between artists. Peter Mendelsund was another natural fit: across his fiction, nonfiction, and visual work, Peter is always thinking deeply about the interplay between words and images. It’s exciting to create the opportunity for that interplay in the form of these beautiful objects.”
The imprint is only the latest print effort at Gagosian, which began publishing in 1985 and now publishes between 25-40 books a year; its backlist, the gallery said, comprises nearly 600 books, including catalogs raisonnés, artist monographs, scholarly exhibition catalogs, and limited-edition artist’s books. Gagosian Quarterly, its print and online magazine, was launched in 2017.