Expensive Brochures (11 cents)

Printing is not cheap, so I am always amazed when very expensive looking brochures are printed and distributed for free (generally in connection with some exhibitions), knowing that most people who take one home wouldn’t buy one and probably will never really look at it.

For example, when we were at Ben Gurion University of the Negev last month, there was an art exhibit entitled “Souvenirs: Repressed Historical and Personal Memory in the Works of Israeli and Polish Artists”. As an exhibit, it did not do too much for me. And it is not a large exhibit, encompassing 24 pieces. The free catalog is 8 1/2 by 12 inches, about 100 pages, in full color, on high quality stock. Each work of art is photographed. A biography of each artist and description of each piece is included. It is in three languages, Hebrew, Polish and English. But who is going to look at it?

And today, I went to the museum space of the Inter-American Development Bank, where they now have an exhibit on the planned restoration of the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. The exhibit displays the history of grand opera in Argentina, shows the architectural history of the building and details about the restoration plan. It is a very attractive exhibit, but you have to admit that the prospective audience for this sort of detail on this particular project is somewhat limited.

The brochure is as good as Ben Gurion’s. It is about the same size (maybe an inch shorter), has 84 pages, is beautifully illustrated, and in Spanish and English. I brought a copy home, but how many people will closely look at this exhibit?

I am just curious as to the choices that go into making these brochures. And also, what happens to them? Are they sent to libraries, to museums, to architects, to other universities? Or all they stored, and then destroyed?