Bernadette Mayer / Vito Acconci: 0 To 9


“Bernadette Mayer is one of the most acclaimed poets of the ‘New York School’ of poetry. Her avant garde and exquisitely rendered final pieces are a result of adventurous journal keeping and writing experiments, some of which will be evident September 13 when the Walker and Rain Taxi Review of Books co-present Bernadette Mayer along with poets Jennifer Karmin and Philip Good, an evening of collaborative literary mayhem. Mayer’s life as a literary artist has been well pronounced in the world of visual art. In the late 1960s, she — along with artist Vito Acconci — edited the groundbreaking mimeographed magazine 0 to 9, which brought together the era’s leading figures of experimental poetry and conceptual art. Featured artists included Sol LeWitt, Adrian Piper, Dan Graham, and Robert Smithson; writers ranged from Ted Berrigan and Clark Coolidge, to Hannah Weiner and Dick Higgins. Though 0 to 9 is now longer in active print, the majority of the magazine’s archives are now available as a book: 0 to 9: The Complete Magazine (Ugly Duckling Presse). In celebration of the upcoming performance, we’re publishing Mayer’s introduction to that volume, ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors,’ in which she recounts how she and Acconci taught themselves, through 0 to 9, ‘how to make art that had no boundaries.’ Vito and I created 0 To 9 as an environment for our own work, which did not seem to exist anywhere else. We based the name of the magazine after Jasper Johns’ work 0 Through 9. The publishing of 0 To 9 also bypassed the sagas of trying to get work, including one’s first book, published by an established press. We found a mimeograph machine in my boyfriend Ed Bowes’ father’s office in New Jersey. We had to buy paper, stencils and ink from the A.B. Dick company. For each issue we drove there with the typed stencils when the office closed at 5pm, and by the time they reopened at 8 am, we would have an issue of 0 To 9 run off and collated. Friends would help us, including my sister Rosemary Mayer. It was an accidentally ecologically sound thing to do. …”
WALKER
Look inside ‘0-9,’ the radically experimental magazine that broke all the rules of language
from a secret location
0 to 9, nos. 1–6 plus Street Works supplement to no. 6. 1967–1969.


STORY | Bernadette Mayer

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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