Democratic Multiples

“Democratic multiples” are inexpensive artists’ books sold cheaply or even given away to as many people as possible.  Typically democratic multiples convey a social or political message.  The artist wants to get the word out with low production costs and self-distribution, by-passing the art gallery.

This is very much a 1960s “power to the people” phenomenon and a bit subversive.  But in a practical sense it wasn’t really democratic.  How many people could such a book reach?  And an artist can hardly make a living with democratic multiples.

Today, with the possibilities of the internet and print-on-demand, democratic multiples may need to be reinvented.

Luan Nel
Cape Town: Mark Coetzee Fine Art Cabinet, 1997
Daniel Halter
Cape Town, South Africa, 2006