More Than Just the Last Half-Decade: 6 Decades




“I want to advocate for the artist’s book, which is a uniquely democratic, accessible, far-reaching medium—also a uniquely contemporary one,” says Jeremy Sanders, who plans to marshall that advocacy through his new bookstore, 6 Decades, opening tonight in Williamsburg. In collaboration with Sit + Read Furniture founder Kyle Garner, the two have turned Garner’s former showroom at 236 Grand Street into a “hybrid space” that will sell canonical art tomes from the likes of Warhol, Lewitt, and Dieter Roth—spanning the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s, or 6 Decades—alongside design, industrial, vernacular, mass production, and hand-crafted furniture pieces from Garner’s vault. “I had met Kyle originally through my brother-in-law,” recalls Sanders. “Then we reconnected through his girlfriend, an art dealer in San Francisco I’d been in touch with about an entirely different project. Once we started talking about how it might all work, we quickly saw that there was a natural affinity in our approaches to the material.”

Their serendipitous union seems to have worked its magic in the new space, where you can expect to find everything from the new 6 Decades’ reprint of Italian curator Germano Celant’s 1972 catalogue Book As Artwork 1960/1972, to a restored Eames for Herman Miller Shell chair, to ceramic mugs handmade by Holt Howard in 1962 playing off James Lee Byars’s pink-paged 100,000 Minutes, or the Big Sample of Byars, or ½ an Autobiography, or the First Paper of Philosophy, a masterwork consisting of voluminous mimeographed notes and declarations that accompanied his 1969 show at Antwerp’s Wide White Space. 
“It might seem counterintuitive, but artists’ books function not only through text and image, but through design, typography, size and shape,” adds Sanders. “They have a sculptural quality; they’re objects, and I think this context will be a perfect setting to see them.” And Sanders should know. Out of college, the art major cut his teeth in the business as a cataloguer at Ursus Books and would later become the director of Glenn Horowitz Booksellers in East Hampton. At Ursus, just months after he started, the now 38-year-old Sanders remembers one career-catalyzing experience. “I was handed a small box with a nearly complete set of [Ed] Ruscha’s books in it,” he says. “I should have finished cataloging a small box like that in an afternoon, but they were just so compelling to me… I think that box stayed on my desk for a week and a half.” 6 Decades will replicate that kind of experience for many others in years to come.