The Year of The Zine: Autre's Picks For the Top Ten Zines of 2015

2015 is when the zine went mainstream. Some of our fave artists dabbled in the fine craftsmanship of the stapled chapbook that many people think dates back to the early days of punk, but it actually can be dated all the way back to 1776 when Thomas Paine published his famous pamphlet, Common Sense, which rifled enough feathers for thirteen colonies to declare war and independence from the British. Fancy that. However, the modern zine, which is shorthand for fanzine – not magazine as many believe – was a photocopied, hastily stapled together collection of appropriated imagery and art school angst. In 2015, the zine has held true to its DIY Xerox aesthetic, with a few surprising contributions – and of course some obvious contributors from the likes of one of our favorite photographers working today, Sandy Kim, and from one of our favorite new Los Angeles queer-cult collective, Gurt. Here are ten of our favorite zines that came out in 2015, so far.  

Sandy Kim LA XXX

When we interviewed Sandy Kim in May, we described her pictures as a “neon-hued punk diary of her life.” Her most recent project LA XXX, calls the artist a “Busy Petite Exotic Korean Treasure” at the bottom of the newsprint-style zine. The artist’s background in shooting for the band Girls alongside post-sex portraits of her boyfriend lends its gritty feel to her new photos. Published by SFAQ[Projects], the 20 pages cover everything from penises made out of pills to nude self portraits. The limited run of 250 copies can be purchased on the SFAQ[Projects] website or you can check out more images from the run on her Instagram.

Jonathan Leder A Study in Fetishisms Vol. 2

Jonathan Leder’s second volume of A Study In Fetishisms dives into the American captivation with blondes, and their various accompanying reputations. Curated by Amy Hood, the 64-page zine explores the timeless idea of if “blondes really have more fun” in text, and through Leder’s film photography. Featuring blondes with a girl-next door as well as early Playboy look, the zine can be purchased through Imperial Publishing.

Chloë Sevigny No Time For Love

No Time For Love is almost like finding and reading Chloë Sevigny’s diary that a child with a sticker collection was in possession of before you. The zine is a compilation of photos of Sevigny’s past loves, both platonic and romantic. To preserve their identities (for the most part), Sevigny placed stickers over their faces. In addition, she also included clippings from 90s tabloids about her which provides an intimate and at the same time outsider feeling to the zine. The 28-page zine can be purchased through Innen Zines, in Euros of course.

Tom Sachs Satan Ceramics

Shhh, this zine actually came out in 2014, but we had to include it in this list, because it's so good. The artist collective Satan Ceramics is composed of artists Tom Sachs, Pat McCarthy, JJ PEET,  and Mary Frey. The sculptors use a variety of different mediums including clay in their symbolic works. As a result of their weekly art gatherings, Satan Ceramics, the 64 page black and white zine, is comprised of images of their show at Salon 94 and can be purchased on Tom Sachs’s website. Ranging from images of Tom Sachs’s Cyclops, a porcelain and bamboo stereo to Pat McCarthy’s tonal reductions fired on porcelain, the zine will make you wish you had gone, or feel smug about going to their installation at Salon 94.

Brad Elterman No Dogs On Beach

Brad Elterman’s archive of photos is a gold mine. Lucky for you, he’s put the best of them into a zine in his new publishing venture No Dogs On Beach. The iconic rock’n’roll and pop culture photographer started his career as a 16-year-old photographing Bob Dylan in concert and escalated to taking photos of names such as David Bowie and Michael Jackson backstage. After taking a hiatus from photography, he’s back to capturing images of today’s biggest influencers, and just put out his 80-page zine No Dogs On Beach which can be purchased on Smoke-room’s website.

The Fifth Goal 1998-2003: Transcendental Graffiti Zine (aka Freight Train Graffiti Zine)

Although The Fifth Goal 1998-2003: Transcendental Graffiti Zine is a book, the eight zines that the book is composed of speak to the true nature of what a zine was at its original conception years ago. The black and white, photocopy, cut and paste construction of the late Blake Donner’s work documents freight train graffiti art from 1998 to 2003. In The Fifth Goal, one can see the development of Donner’s passion for the unique art form through the way his zines shift in content ranging from spiritual questions to interviews of graffiti artists to drawings of train workers. The 436-page book has been created as a tribute to Donner by his friends and will be released at Printed Matter’s 2016 LA Art Book Fair on January 29th through February 2nd. It can also be purchased here

Deanna Templeton They Should Never Touch the Ground

Deanna Templeton and her skateboarder husband Ed Templeton have been described as “the godparents of zine culture,” it’s easy to understand why once you look at their work. Deanna Templeton’s history in street photography has led her to publish numerous works, her most recent zine being They Should Never Touch the Ground. Published by Deadbeat Club Press, Deanna got inspiration for the images from a trip to Europe where she noticed a lot of people sporting American flags. They Should Never Touch the Ground examines the different ways that the American flag is used and portrayed in society today in the U.S.A. and can be purchased on Deadbeat Club’s website.

James Concannon Machismo

“MACHISMO is a collection of self shot/self starring unedited “dick pics” taken around the country with an iPhone” reads the back of James Concannon’s new zine. Open the pages, and you’ll find Concannon’s interpretation of the 21st century sexual revolution driven by technology and vanity. Taken all over the United States, with different backgrounds, and at different points in masturbation, it gives the dick pics relatable, real life feeling. The artist launched MACHISMO at a gay bar, and the limited edition run of 40 copies was printed by Girlfriend Gallery. It's currently sold out, but you can try here

GURT the Zine – Issue 2: Gurtrasia

This little zine hails from the land of Los Angeles from of a collective of queer rebels who know how to party and how to put together an incredible zine. Last week saw the release of issue two of Gurt, aptly named Gurtrasia, at Bad Reputation and then the after party at Bar Marmont on the sunset strip. Issue two is described as such: "The Gurts have created a whole new world for all of #US to thrive in, but is it really any different from the Gurt they left behind?" Who knows, we say. Issue two includes work by the likes of Dan Savage, Marcel Alcala Christopher Argodale Brendan Cameron and more. You can find Gurt here.  

Sarah Piantadosi Milk Jagger

Through her new zine Milk Jagger, Sarah Piantadosi, a well known fashion photographer, breaks out of the limiting editorial photography world. There’s a dichotomy between the beautiful and the sleazy in the images, which is echoed between the contrast of the black and white images and their bright tie-dye like border. The pictures in the zine are based off the “Milk Jagger” immoral cop alter-ego of Michael B. Wallace, a musician. Her photos from Milk Jagger are also being exhibited at Doomed Gallery in London starting October 27th. You will be able to find a copy of the zine there. 

Text by Madeline Guyette and Oliver Maxwell Kupper. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE