White Fungus is an experimental arts publication that was first published in 2004 as a zine-y piece of political propaganda-lite. It was made to protest the construction of a highway slated to cut directly through the Wellington, New Zealand arts district, a project that the community had resisted for forty years. The first issue was, as the publication’s website states, “produced quickly on a photocopier, wrapped in Christmas paper and hurled anonymously through the entrances of local businesses.” Several years later, the publication has maintained its transgressive roots. Based in Taiwan since 2009, White Fungus is dedicated to promoting artists and works that contend critically with issues like capitalism, corporate (ir)responsibility and political action. The publication in particular favours artists working in unconventional mediums, such as performance art and sound design, a preference that sets White Fungus apart from more old-school art-world publications fixated on painting. The magazine was founded by a pair of brothers, Ron (the editor in chief) and Mark Hanson (the art director), and boasts a team of eight or so, plus a rotating cast of writers. The most recent issue of White Fungus (their 15th -- the magazine is published annually) features a compelling essay about performance artist and dancer Whitney Vangrin, a discussion about the weaponization of televised news in the Cold War era, a conversation with electronic music producer Jeff Mills, and much more. Apart from their cover (which is always the same design, in varying colours), White Fungus’ design is consistently inconsistent -- with font variations, seemingly randomly-chosen full-bleed coloured pages interspersed with monochromatic sections and occasionally coloured edges, and text placed creatively on the page. This is not a bad thing, however. Their design serves as a kind of aesthetic relic of their anarchic, DIY beginnings. The SVA Library Periodicals Collection is home to 13 out of the 15 issues.

Cover of White Fungus Magazine. Abstract blue, gray, and black design in the center, and a white background.