New imprint at UIC looks to the past to share future artistic ideas

Something Other Press

Hannah Higgins and Chris Reeves’ contributions to the launch of “Something Other Press.” Photo: Ricardo Garcia

The School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago will begin publishing a “micro-imprint” committed to encouraging students and faculty to share their writings on art, poetry and other creative endeavors in a free-form style that encourages “re-publication” of ideas.

UIC’s “Something Other Press,” is inspired by the independent spirit of Dick Higgins whose small imprint, “Something Else Press,” was based in New York City between 1964 and 1974. During that time, the imprint published newsletters and early books by many artistic leaders including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Ray Johnson, Claes Oldenburg and Alison Knowles.

Hannah Higgins

Hannah Higgins has studied the Fluxus movement.
(Photo: Jenny Fontaine)

The original imprint brought important unavailable texts by Gertrude Stein, Hans Richter and Marcel Duchamp back into print. In the first newsletter, Higgins coined the term, “Intermedia,” to describe emerging art forms between existing media and art/life media, according to Hannah Higgins, UIC professor of art history and daughter of Higgins and Knowles.

Both Dick Higgins, who died in 1998, and Knowles, his wife, are considered pillars of the Fluxus movement, according to Hannah Higgins, who has authored several books on the art movement. The movement prized the unequivocal dissemination of art to the masses and believed that everyone – both trained and untrained– should produce art.

Hannah Higgins, who has been at UIC since 1994, said “Something Other Press” will serve to encourage students and faculty at UIC to publish in the same fashion that her father used his press, to both share one’s own ideas and circulate the work of others.

UIC’s imprint, which will be student managed with faculty guidance and mentorship, will openly encourage re-publication by anyone in an effort to air ideas and spark dialogue through small-scale independent publishing.

The aim is to annually release publications representing the depth of its community, with works authored by current students, faculty, and alumni. The Dick Higgins Fund at UIC exists to carry forth these ideas and approaches by supporting projects, events, and initiatives that promote interdisciplinary approaches, art accessibility, and extending the dialogue around contemporary art making and understanding in a way that connects to public life.

This year’s contributions will feature work of Hannah Higgins as well as from Chris Reeves, a current doctoral candidate, and Tamara Valdez, a current MFA student.

The first publication will be released on Nov. 8, coinciding with an open house that evening from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Art and Exhibition Hall, 400 S. Peoria St. “Something Other Press” will be at the Chicago Art Book Fair from Nov. 16-18, at the Chicago Athletic Association building, 12 S. Michigan Ave.

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