Rent Check Series 0001: Theft is Rent / Josh MacPhee

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We couldn’t be happier than to have the opportunity to start off the Beyond Repair “Rent Check” series with the amazing designer, archivist, curator, activist, radical historian, artist… Josh MacPhee.

We’ve known Josh for ages and are fortunate to call him a friend. But, just as with so many others, we have also found great inspiration in his work, be it the People’s History Poster Series, Just Seeds Artists’ Cooperative, or, in the last few years, the astounding work of Interference Archive. In so many ways Josh inaugurating this series makes perfect sense.


With Josh we have printed the 0001 Beyond Repair Rent Check. A five color Riso print, which we handled at the shop, Josh’s edition has a nifty little watermark stating “Theft is Rent”.


The Beyond Repair “Rent Check” series is capitalism in action; Take something, alter it, change its use-value.

In this case, we ask a new artist to use the check we provide to the Midtown Global Market each month as inspiration and the starting point for a new illustration or design.

We print an edition of 30 at $30 a piece. A completely sold out edition means we’ve got our rent and our liability insurance covered for that month.

But, unlike most capitalists, the outcome of that profit does much more than line our pockets. Once we’ve got our rent covered any revenue through the sales of books, or print services, commissions, or grants can immediately start flowing out into the neighborhood. When we don’t have to worry about rent we can begin to dream up and support so much more. We can fund a micro-grant series, our neighborhood publication residency program, afford to bring in inspiring individuals to enliven and complicate our on-going conversations with a fresh perspective from the exterior, and let’s be real, actually get paid for the work that’s being done here.

We think this is a smart thing to do. Move along great art, as a means of funding more great art within the 9th Ward.