Kanadian UNDERGROUND PRESS publications ( Canada + Quebec = Kanadian )


My present curatorial practice is based both on the recent research I have conducted for several Vancouver artist-run centres (ARCs), and my own personal collection of little magazines, underground newspapers and fanzines that span from 1960 to the present day.

As an archival researcher examining several ARCs, my job has dealt with entering artist-run bibliographical data into the Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres’ (PAARC) online database at www.arcpost.ca/publications. Through this work, I’ve come to realize that there is considerable overlap between what is commonly referred to as early ‘artist-run culture’, and what is popularly known as the ‘underground press’ movement.

The Georgia Straight, for example, would often publish art and poetry produced by members of Canada’s first artist-run centre, Intermedia (1965-1971), alongside photography chronicling the counter cultural movements of the time. Furthermore, certain key pieces of underground print ephemera are often included in historical exhibits, such as “Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980”[1], without even being mentioned or dealt with appropriately in the catalogues of these same exhibitions. So, while American scholarship has recently addressed the history of the rise of the underground press movement, no Canadian attempt has been made to document it’s evolution since the 1970s, and certainly not while taking artist-run culture into account.[2] The recent articles I’ve written for Issue Magazine, which deconstruct the present curatorial tendency to create archival-style exhibits, are an extension of my curatorial research.

With the creation of this site, which catalogues part of my personal collection of underground press publications, my goal is to outline the links between these two coinciding movements; with a sister site, ARClog, outlining the publications I have annexed for various artist-run centres in the Vancouver area. By clicking on the images within these two websites, you are often redirected to collections-based institutions (artist-run centres, library collections, etc.) diffusing more information on the documents themselves.

If you would like to contact me concerning this research, or if you would like me to remove an image for which you retain copyrights, please send an email to:



[1] Mainmise Magazine, no. 42, December 1974; which appeared in the exhibit and that is mentioned online at http://ccca.concordia.ca/traffic/montreal_works.html, is omitted from the published edition of the catalogue. See Bonin, Vincent. “Language is Not Transparent: Translating Conceptual Art in Montréal” in Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980. G. Arnold & K. Henry eds. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery et al. 2011, pp. 38-53.

[2] See J. McMillian, Smoking Typewriters (2011) and A. Woodsworth, The ‘Alternative’ Press in Canada (1972).


With many thanks to editor Steve McKay, of ROSCO Magazine (Toronto: 1996-2004), for donating his file copies of the entire run of ROSCO in order to further the scope of this digital research endeavour.

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