Print Paradox

Black-and-white xeroxed collages given away for free, or highly-curated, glossy magazine–style publications, or anything in between.

Kathleen Hanna with Billy Karren, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox. Bikini Kill, no. 2, 1991. Collection Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons/Photo courtesy David Vu

  • Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines, organized by Branden W. Joseph and Drew Sawyer with Marcelo Gabriel Yáñez and Imani Williford, was on view at the Brooklyn Musuem from November 17, 2023, to March 31, 2024.

The first zine I ever bought was Secret Bully #1, in 2014. It was mine for the low price of three dollars, plus shipping and handling, via Etsy. It’s an intricate and richly designed pamphlet with a rust-red cover, filled with creative nonfiction essays about nostalgia and New York. Secret Bully is the work of the writer and musician Cynthia Schemmer; I had started listening to her band Radiator Hospital in the depths of a postcollege winter depression and then, down in an internet rabbit hole, found the listing for her zine. I was intrigued and had three bucks to spare; I clicked “purchase.” I remember the day it arrived. I sat on the steps of my apartment in Brookline, Massachusetts, reading it feverishly and feeling like a window had opened onto a new world—one where another East Coast woman, half a generation older than…

Login or create an account to read three free articles and receive our newsletter.

from $5/month