The San Francisco Bay Area is a hotbed of book arts with a long-standing tradition of French-style binding. Historically, binding in the Northeast US owes more to the English and Germans. I’m not going to discuss dates, patterns of immigration and migration, or happenstance. The research has been done and written about by actual binder-scholars. I refer you to the index to the journal of the Guild of Bookworkers. These days, in San Francisco, you can get excellent training in both French and English binding methods from the many binders who reside and teach in the area.
Hedi Kyle Wunderkabinett Of all of the book and paper structures invented by Hedi Kyle over her long and inspiring career, one very mysterious Hedi marvel has drawn much curiosity and several questions from artists: the Wudnerkabinett or...
Late afternoon before the long worn wooden benches in the Bodleian's Convocation Hall, Oren Margolis served his audience well, providing them with a richer appreciation of the "finest printed book of the entire Renaissance"* - the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - and of its publisher Aldus Manutius.
Drawing our attention to the more sculptural qualities of Venetian Renaissance printed books over the Florentine and to the evidence of the humanist agenda that drove Manutius, he led us to the page where Poliphilo (lover of all things, but in particular Polia, the ideal woman pursued to the end of the book) stands before a carving that foreshadows the Aldine Press device: a dolphin entwined around the shank of an anchor. The Aldine Press device was inspired by a similar image on an ancient Roman coin given by Pietro Bembo to Aldus, who wrongly associated it with Augustus and his proverb "Make haste slowly" and adopted both for his printing and publishing business.
Erasmus praised Aldus, saying that he was "building a library which knows no walls save those of the world itself". Five hundred years after Aldus's death, publishers continue to make haste slowly - at least in the eyes of most of their authors - and this has led many to try their hand at self-publishing over the internet. Now, the walls of that analog "world itself" have fallen. The Digital Public Library of the World beckons. But arriving there, will we - like Poliphilo in concluding his struggle to possess Polia - wake to find that it was all a dream?
*Alexander Lawson. The Anatomy of a Typeface. Jaffrey, NH: Godine, 1990.
"... how do all components, word meld into image, image size happen next to word size? How do I select hue, value and blank and filled areas? How does relationship and interaction and placement of each component happen? Balance is based on many things: sometimes the influence of the ground, i.e. the page, size, paper, book, either found or ready to be created with my own binding; each choice, alone or in combination with mark-making materials, adds and alters compositions, in variations, within a singular statement." Marilyn R. Rosenberg in conversation with Nancy Van Winckel
An instance of this work is in the Allan Chasanoff collection at the Yale University Art Museum, but it has been on loan at Artspace in New Haven, which has been good enough to post a video of the workings of "The Tower": https://artspacenh.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/1358/
"All the Prints I've Made this Year" (2011), above, was on display at The Riverside Gallery, Old Town Hall, Richmond, from 29 September 2014 through 14 February 2015 and displays Kiernan's mastery of the flag book form.
"This exhibition also marked the 30th anniversary of Book and Paper Arts at Texas Woman’s University. Established in 1983, the curriculum began with the assistance of a collaborative research grant awarded to Professors Susan kae Grant and Corky Stuckenbruck. University funds, along with faculty and community donations, enabled the purchase of equipment to build the program, which currently serves as a minor within the MFA in Visual Arts."
It's worth a look for the Daniel Kelm piece above and those by Macy Chadwick, Sarah Bryant, Aileen Bassis and Ken Campbell. Ruth Rogers guest-curated the show, which included among others Amaranth Borsuk, Steven Daiber, Johanna Drucker, Karen Hanmer, Susan E. King, Barbara Tetenbaum, Sam Winston and Rutherford Witthus. Enough to remind us that we have a vigorous new century of book art developing.
Carnivore Incarnate. Part one of the Bitten triptych; a work that uses the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ fable as a rough framework to explore werewolfism as a metaphor for female puberty. Like the lupine...
Robert Bolick's insight:
With a decade or more of the kitchy infection of vampirism, werewolfism, zombie-ism afflicting global culture, someone in the pictorial and sculptural arts has raised this closer to art of late: South African Kathleen Sawyer.
Inspired by Angela Carter's "The Company of Wolves", Sawyer has built her triptych of book art from three Moleskine sketchbooks displaying artistic craft that extends from ink drawing to collage and both sewn accordion-book and tunnel-book construction. She has labored in the vineyard as an intern at the New York Center for Book Arts. Here's hoping it or some gallery will repay the effort by importing and displaying this South African red for further exploration.
Arthur Jaffe and his wife Mata were a bulwark in support of book artists. The collection they donated to Florida Atlantic University in 1998 and continued to grow with purchases is extraordinary in its more than 6000 titles and ephemera and in its quality.
Robert Bolick's insight:
From the Jaffe Center site: "The Jaffe Center for Book Arts revolves around the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection: Books as Aesthetic Objects. ... The Jaffe Collection houses numerous smaller collections, including ... Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, a collection of broadsides printed by members of The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition--a group of international poets, writers, printers and artists creating literary broadsides in response to the March 2007 bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic bookselling district and intellectual center of Baghdad."
Through a selection of over 100 self-portraits by a wide-range of artists, including Anthony van Dyck, Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Sarah Lucas, JMW Turner, and Andy Warhol, “Self" attempts to re-evaluate self-portraiture in the 21st century from the angles of history, celebrity, collecting, gender, and mortality.
Robert Bolick's insight:
There's an exhibit on in Margate, Kent (on the east coast of England).
"On Margate sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing."
The Waste Land, Part III - Fire Sermon, T.S. Eliot
WILLIAMSTOWN >> In the fall of 1906, 42 binders and artisans founded the National Guild of Book Workers in New York to show their work in illuminating, printing and binding, calligraphy, papermaking, and design and leatherwork.
Robert Bolick's insight:
Geographies: New England Book Work opened March 3, 2014 at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library in Providence, Rhode Island. The exhibit has since toured to the Pope-Cheney Art Studio, Wishcamper Center, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME (June 16 – August 22, 2014), the Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT (September 8 – December 12, 2014) and now the Williams College Library, Williamstown, MA (January 12 – March 20, 2015). From there, it will move to Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, NH (April 6- August 21, 2015) and finish at the Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT (September 16 – October 9, 2015).
Artists involved include Cathy Adelman, Susan Bonthron, Marianna Brotherton, Patty Bruce, Bexx Caswell, Elizabeth Curran, Eric Drzewianowski, Penelope Hall, Karen Hanmer, Barbara Adams Hebard, Deborah Howe, Nancy Leavitt, Anne McLain, Nancy H. Nitzberg, John Nove, Jan Owen, Graham Patten, Todd Pattison, Lindsley Elisa Hand Rice, Sarah M. Smith, Pamela Spitzmueller, Julie B. Stackpole, Gerritt VanDerwerker, Laurie Whitehill Chong, Rutherford Witthus, and Stephanie Wolff.
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