Shelf Shelf is a Chicago-based publishing imprint and collaborative design practice founded by Lucas Reif and Austin White.


ss-008: ON / Rules
ss-007: Daniel Champion Drawings
ss-006: Disruptor Issue Six
ss-005: Rooms 1–6
ss-004: A Book that is a Bag
ss-003: ON / Being Read
ss-002: Poetics of the Ordinary
ss-001: Disruptor Issue Five

Contango Issue Two: Sanctions
ON / The Art of Failure
Disruptor Issue Four
Contango Issue One: Auctoritas
Disruptor Issue Three
The Designer as a Creator of Content
Disruptor Issue Two
Disruptor Issue One

ON / The Art of Failure May 2018

$8.00 USD Sold out

36 pages, staple-bound, 2-color Risograph, 8 x 10 inches, first edition of 50 copies

In The Queer Art of Failure, Halberstam describes failure as being against the heteronormative measure of success; he suggests the queer body harnesses or holds failure in its being. Failure is productive yet against production. Harnessing a failure isn't a clear and simple deceit, but it does suggest a secretive knowing. This is where ON / The Art of Failure came into conception, as an idea and as a publication.

For this first edition of ON, Chicago editor and publisher Gabrielle Welsh explores how the ways of harnessing or re-purposing a range of failures—shitty experiences, art pieces that got terrible critique, works of theory that took five or more times to read through, or living outside the normative—are unique and personal to different people. Welsh gathers six artists whose pieces deal with failure in some right: Vivian Brockman, Caroline Cash, Hannah Cusimano, Max Hart, Tyler Kensek, and Ola Wilk-Branas. Designed by Mia Hopkins and printed by Gabrielle Welsh.