Night Gallery‘s Night Papers is a dream newspaper. It’s full of wonderful nonsense and pretty pictures, slightly comical advertising and many things that will make you laugh due to the intellectual silliness that is presented to you. It’s the kind of project that you encounter, get so excited by, and want to help out in any way you can (if you are deemed cool enough by the Night gods). Night Papers IV, the latest edition in the series of publications, adds more fuel to artistic fire. It’s an effort presented in such a specific, special way and would be impossible to translate into any other medium.
Night Papers is a little folded, 32-page periodical full of oddity. Made early this Summer, likely to help commemorate the Spring Made In Space show, the content ranges from meditations on/to Gumby to a restaurant review of down-the-street Dames N’ Games to playful poetry like Claire Kohne’s hysterical, technological Y2K, a quick five stanza sprint through various popular numeronyms. There are even New Yorker imitating comic strips. The only piece really tied to a specific time in the gallery is a Made In Space titled list by Peter Harkawik and Laura Owens. It discusses strange happenings in time and space, things like feces found in red pumps and the show Wipe Out.
There is something about this medium. There are a lot of zines and newspaper printed goods but this one for Night Papers, a very tactile and “scholarly” form, lends itself directly to being artistic and backhandedly scholarly. It’s undeniably fun, too. It wouldn’t work in any other way: it couldn’t be a blog, it couldn’t be a glossy magazine, it couldn’t be a tiny zine, it couldn’t be a poster. It has to be a newspaper. It’s also sharing terrific talents from Los Angeles in and around the Night circle that includes artist Anna Mayer writing poetry, photos/work by David Gilbert (who is easy to become obsessed with), a chair sketch by ZELLNERPLUS/Peter Zellner, and Night’s own gallerist Mieke Marple on Romantic poetry.
The Papers feel like a guilty pleasure. Again: it’s a dream newspaper. It’s full of artistically bent nonsense that both is and isn’t important. It seriously takes itself not-seriously and doesn’t seem steeped in being off putting in its artistry, AKA hung up on tools learned from an incestuous pedagogical atmosphere. There is a definite cool to the paper and its inclusion of both perfect advertising (LA Review of Books, Mandrake, For Your Art, KCHUNG) and hysterical advertising (LG Williams, “Purdue, Lilly, Pfizer“) makes you wonder if you are being Punk’d by this anti-newspaper-that-is-a-newspaper.
Reading it gets you excited. It made me want to write and push myself away from the hangups of trying to conform to whatever systems of thought I have placed on myself. It’s an exciting, far left of center relic that is very, very important to pick up. It represents a joyous, creative moment in Los Angeles history and will likely snowball into something much bigger than what it already is. The paper is free (We believe?) and can be picked up from Night Gallery, when you visit. They are currently closed for installation of upcoming group show CULM, opening August 24 and on view through September 1: we assume you can grab a paper then. You can also find Night Papers I and II here. A warning: reading the Papers online is in no way the same as thumbing through it. There is a magic in paper.