Private Eye to Gal-dem: Somerset House explores “progressive” print magazines

Print! Tearing It Up is a new exhibition opening in June that will delve into the art of the independent magazine, looking at print publications from the last 100 years.

Courtesy of Somerset House

Somerset House is set to host an exhibition that will explore independent, print magazines – from political satire Private Eye through to Gal-dem, a publication for women of colour.

“Progressive” magazines on diversity and gender

Print! Tearing It Up will feature British magazines produced between the early 20th century and today, particularly those that were seen to be “progressive”, controversial or tackling social issues, says the gallery.

Magazines will span lifestyle, leisure, design, architecture, news, politics, ethnicity and culture, and gender and sexuality.

The show has been curated by writer Paul Gorman, who recently compiled a book on 1980s cult magazine The Face alongside Claire Catterall, senior curator at Somerset House. Graphic designer Scott King, who recently put together an exhibition creating a fictional post-Brexit Britain, will complete the signage and graphics.

Private Eye, The Gentlewoman, Gal-dem

Titles that will be featured include literary magazine Blast and political satire Private Eye; “slow journalism” quarterly publication Delayed Gratification, which looks to go into news and current affairs in-depth; magazines intended for ethnic minority audiences such as Gal-dem and Burnt Roti; alternative women’s magazines and feminist titles such as Spare Rib and The Gentlewoman; and cultural titles focused on design, architecture, film and food, such as Blueprint, Little White Lies and The Gourmand.

The exhibition aims to provide visitors with insight into how independent magazines are made and disseminated, from “concept to design to print to distribution”, says Somerset House.

Series of events

It will offer context on the titles, editors, designers and writers involved in creating and developing the magazines, and will have a selection of print magazines available for visitors to touch and read.

There will be a series of events accompanying Print! Tearing It Up, including a panel talk led by The Story of the Face writer Gorman, and activities run by an all-female line-up of “activists”. It will run at the same time as Process! Festival, which has been co-curated by artist collective One of My Kind (OOMK), which will engage designers, artists and publishers in creative workshops.


Print! Tearing It Up runs 8 June – 22 August 2018 at the Terrace Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. Entry is free. For more information, head here. Look out for a review of the exhibition on Design Week next month.

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