Publish and be Damned was a highly loved semi-self-organised art book fair and other projects that ran in an anarchic, but not anarchist manner. It was influential in the current upsurge of interest in artist publications and book fairs .
Established as a one-off project by Emily Pethick and Kit Hammonds as part of Emily's 18-month stint as curator-in-residence at Cubitt Gallery in London, PABD included a library of self-published and independent artist's magazines, journals and other forms of publishing practice. The installation was designed by Pablo Leon de la Barra.
Alongside the exhibition and its events, PABD included a one-day book fair for artists from the UK and Europe. Held in the St James Church Crypt it was more of a social event than a trade-fair, and proved so popular with the artists participating it continued to run year on year. In 2006 and 2007 the fair was organised in London by Sarah McCrory and Joe Scotland. And in subsequent years Kit Hammonds ran the London fair with Kate Phillimore and Louise O'Hare. the final two fairs were hosted by the ICA, London.
Meanwhile the 'public library' toured number of venues internationally frequently redesigned by: Can Altay, Matthew Darbyshire and Kit Hammonds.
Publish and be Damned also participated staged further exhibitions, events and publication projects. These included the fair and conference 'Nordic Models', Index : The Swedish Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stockholm; a project space as part of the Subvision Festival, Hamburg et al.
In 2014 Publish and be Damned was killed off. With an initial aim to open up a space for artist publishers to meet and, thereby, distribute their work, the resulting explosion of popularity of art book fairs international seemed to leave it somewhat redundant. 10 years is a good innings.
There are various publications that feature essays on Publish and be Damned that reflect on its foundation and history in more depth including:
'The Uncanny life and Death of Publish and be Damned' in NO-ISBN, Berhard Cella (ed).