In recent years, the art world publishing scene has rapidly grown with major galleries offering their own publishing operation. While shops that specialized in art books have closed, galleries and the books they’ve created have flourished. David Zwirner Galleries was one of such galleries and since the founding of David Zwirner Books (DZB) in 2014, the gallery’s publishing operation has been the go-to publishing house for a plethora of artists and artists’ estates. Initially only publishing five books per year, in the gallery’s short history of publishing it has already expanded to around 30 volumes each year. DZB offers books by a number of artists including Anni and Josef Albers, Kerry James Marshall, Jeff Koons, Bridget Riley, and Charles White. Soon, though, books published by DZB may be more readily available.
On January 29th, DZB announced that it was partnering up with publishing powerhouse Simon & Schuster. Their partnership will make DZB the first gallery with mainstream distribution in North America. DZB books may begin popping up in various places from airports and Target stores across the continent but their contract with Simon & Schuster will also allow for DZB books to be categorized on Amazon offering higher visibility and probably more sales.
Prior to the partnership, DZB worked with D.A.P. to distribute their books in North America. In an interview with ARTnews, Lucas Zwirner, editorial director of DZB said ‘I think [D.A.P.] helped us expand to the limits of what you can do as an art publisher.’ ‘Everything we do is still tethered to visual art, but to go out there, and to go to a novelist and say, “Hey, I’d like to publish your novel,” I need to know that I can sell enough books for it to be worth it for that novelist,’ Zwirner continued.
In a statement, vice president and general manager of Simon & Schuster Michael Perlman said ‘David Zwirner Books has redefined what a gallery publisher can be and is now responsible for many of the most exciting and dynamic art books in the industry. We have been impressed by David Zwirner Books’s editorial focus, the quality and range of its titles, and its traction both within the art world and beyond. We are eager to bring their impressive titles to readers across the U.S.’
‘At one point, galleries were just a place where you sold art, and now it’s a place where you publish books, it’s a place where you publish podcasts, it’s a place where you produce video content, it’s a place where you have an online presence,’ Zwirner said. ‘We’re really thinking about: What kind of gallery do we want to be in the future?’
The union will hopefully usher in a new phase of growth for DZB and it seems the aim idea is to become a global stronghold in the publishing world as opposed to ‘just another gallery printing books.’