The Detroit Printing Co-Op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing
By Danielle Aubert
A timely exploration of political organizing, publishing, design, and distribution in 1970s Detroit
In 1969, shortly after moving to Detroit with wife and partner Lorraine Nybakken, Fredy Perlman and a group of kindred spirits purchased a printing press from a Chicago dealer, transported it, in parts, back to Detroit in their cars and the Detroit Printing Co-op was born.
Operating between 1969 and 1980 out of southwest Detroit, the Co-op was the site for the printing of the first English translation of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle and journals like Radical America, produced by the Students for a Democratic Society; books such as The Political Thought of James Forman printed by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; and the occasional broadsheet, such as Judy Campbell’s stirring indictment, “Open letter from ‘white bitch’ to the black youths who beat up on me and my friend.”
Fredy Perlman was not a printer or a designer by training but was deeply engaged in the ideas, issues, processes, and materiality of printing. While at the Detroit Printing Co-op, he radically rethought the possibilities of print by experimenting with overprinting, collage techniques, different kinds of papers and so on. Behind the calls to action and class consciousness written in his publications, there was an innate sense of the politics of design, experimentation, and pride of craft.
Building on research conducted by Danielle Aubert, a Detroit-based designer, educator and writer, The Politics of the Joy of Printing explores the history, output, and legacy of the Perlmans and the Co-op in an illustrated testament to the power of printing, publishing, design, and distribution.
Edited by Eugenia Bell
Designed by Danielle Aubert
Published by Inventory Press, 2019
Softcover, 240 pages, 100 color images, 20 b&w images, 6.5 × 9 inches