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Monday, September 16, 2013

BurnAway publishes a book, editor leaves

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In August, local arts blog BurnAway branched into print with its first book, titled Interior. A thin, pretty object encased in pink cellophane, the book is a nice (though slight) glance at some artists and projects in Atlanta, with an eye toward unusual exhibition spaces and studios. "Atlanta's art community is very decentralized and the landscape rather horizontal," the introduction tells us. Interior isn't exactly riveting or provocative stuff, but it's a fine snapshot of that description.

The work included is mostly being republished in print for the first time: a few interviews that ran in BurnAway earlier in the year, a couple of short critical pieces that originally appeared on the Louisiana arts blog Pelican Bomb, a portfolio of photographs by Jody Fausett, as well as a few odds and ends.

The approach here is mostly casual and conversational. A few pages are tagged with brief musings on books; they appear like random ideas on scraps of blue painter's tape. Amy Mackie writes insightfully about the late John Otte's last curatorial project, Zen Dixie, in a house in Cabbagetown. Radcliffe Bailey chats amiably with Lilly Lampe about the studio he built.

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As a whole, this doesn't add up to something comprehensive or particularly in-depth about art in Atlanta, nor does it seem to have those intentions. Noplaceness, a collection of critical essays from 2011, remains the most recent attempt in book form of that sort of commentary.

Rather, this is more of a stylized binding of a blog. In that way, it seems to propose an interesting revision of subscription model: instead of paying to be able to read the publication, paying to have an object culled from the publication. Loyal readers of BurnAway might think of the book's expense, $30, in that light.

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One might be tempted to say that this book suggests what to expect from Rachel Reese, who joined BurnAway as Senior Editor in January and quickly became Editor of the blog. Her approach to art publication, especially in the odd and fun issues she creates under the moniker Possible Press, is apparent in Interior. Unfortunately, she's already left the blog for a position as communications director at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. BurnAway is currently looking for a new editor.

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