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photograph by Michael O'Neal

Given the supremacy of the digital world, it seems counterintuitive that an endeavor like The Thing Quarterly, an "object-based publication" that sends items designed by contributors including artists David Shrigley and Tauba Auerbach to subscribers, would flourish. The opposite was the case. Produced by San Francisco-based visual artists Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan, the first "issue," a window shade by Miranda July, was originally slated for a run of 50 -- but they received thousands of requests. "We accidentally stumbled upon something people were looking for," Herschend says. 

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photographs courtesy of The Thing Quarterly.

This something was, the duo speculate, a democratization of art collecting. For $240, The Thing Quarterly subscribers receive pieces by four different artists throughout the year whose work they'd never be able to afford in a gallery; and the artists themselves, whose collectors are increasingly pooled from the rareified world (at least financially) of slick Russian oligarchs and hoodie-wearing Silicon Valley billionaires, are able to reach a wider audience. "It literally enables artists to create something that goes into people's hands," Herschend says of the pieces.

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photograph by Michael O'Neal

Contributors have included not only visual artists such as Auerbach (who produced a wall clock) and Trisha Donnelly (a secret), but also publishing superstar Dave Eggers (a shower curtain), actor James Franco (a table mirror) and writer Jonathan Lethem (a pair of clear eyeglasses).

Next up is iconic West Coast artist John Baldessari, who designed a set of pillowcases. (Both Herschend and Rogan plan on sleeping on theirs.) "We get so excited about every issue," Rogan says. In an e-commerce-everything consumer world where almost anything is available through the click of a mouse, there's something to be said about that. 

For subscriptions to the thing quarterly visit thethingquarterly.com 


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