Dexter Sinister is the compound name of David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey. Reinfurt graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1993, Yale University in 1999, and went on to form ‘O-R-G’, a design studio in New York City. Bailey graduated from the University of Reading in 1994, the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem in 2000, and co-founded the arts journal ‘Dot Dot Dot’ the same year. Reinfurt currently teaches at Columbia University and Rhode Island School of Design. Bailey is currently involved in diverse projects at Parsons School of Design (NYC) and Pasadena Art Centre (LA).
Dexter Sinister is a design and publishing collaboration, combining the characteristically distinct identities of designer, producer, publisher, and distributor. They propose a heteroclite counterpart to the dominant one-size-fits-all, Fordist assembly-line style of print production and distribution. Dexter Sinister recently established a workshop in the basement at 38 Ludlow Street, on the Lower East Side in New York City. The workshop is intended to model a ‘Just-In-Time’ economy of print production, running counter to the contemporary realities of large-scale publishing. This involves avoiding waste by working on-demand, utilizing local cheap machinery, considering alternate distribution strategies, and collapsing distinctions of editing, design, production and distribution into one efficient activity.
The name and form of Dexter Sinister refer to a heraldic device, or the announcement of something to come: a plain shield with a single diagonal line running from the top right corner to the bottom left edge – in Latin, ‘dexter’ and ‘sinister’, respectively. ‘Dexter’ is to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the arms, to the left of that of the viewer. The dexter side is considered the side of greatest honour.
In an interview in April 2010 Reinfurt en Bailey elaborate on the name:
Reinfurt: ‘Dexter Sinister’, which also comes from that same coded language of heraldry – ‘dexter’ meaning ‘right’ and ‘sinister’ meaning ‘left’ – however, also like quite a lovely thing, which comes back in other work, is that both the left and right refer to the eye of the viewer. No, rather, not the eye of the viewer, but to the person holding the shield. To their left or right. It’s a bit like stage left and stage right. It’s just like that. And so, if it runs from the top left all the way to the bottom right, that’s ‘sinister’.’
Bailey: ‘So it’s always mirrored, basically.’
‘Dexter and sinister’, Wikipedia, retrieved 2 October 2013
‘Interview with David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey, Co-Founders, Dexter Sinister’, interviewer Bartholomew Ryan, Monday, April 19, 2010, Art Spaces Archives Project, retrieved 13 October 2013
‘Whitney Biennial 2008: about the artist’, Whitney, retrieved 13 October 2013
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