Preface: an Introduction to Artists' Books

March 28 – June 15, 2014 

Artists’ Books, simply put, are books created by artists. But once beyond that simple definition, things get trickier. Contemporary artists have taken the idea of books and carried them far beyond the traditional form of a spine, cover, inside pages and the written word.

Preface: an Introduction to Artists’ Books exhibition, opening to the public March 28 through June 15, 2014, will offer a small sampling of how contemporary artists are transforming books. The Anxiety Alphabet by Emily Martin looks like a regular book, but the artist has placed pins into the cover of the book to embody a sense of dread. The book narrative lists anxiety inducing activities for each letter of the alphabet. Nicole Eiland abandoned paper for part of her book, Ordinary Discovery. While some pages are photographs of fruit, other pages are the fruit themselves, pressed into a flat paper-like form, so the book has a wonderful scent as well as a beautiful visual appeal. Eiland’s goal was to bring attention to the unnoticed beauty in ordinary things. Amy Pirkle used a very unusual form for Smoke, a book that looks like a pack of cigarettes, to tell the story of her grandfather who died of lung cancer. She wrote memories of him on small scrolls of paper and placed them into the cigarette pack.

The works in this exhibition are drawn from the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library at the University of Alabama. This collection supports the university’s MFA Program in the Book Arts, one of the leading centers for book arts in the country.

In celebration of International Art Museum Day, join us May 18 at 3:00 p.m to learn more about artists' books with words from former Hunter Museum Chief Curator Ellen Simak and a special demonstration by book artists Hollie Berry and Juanita Tumelaire of The Open Press.  General admission required; $4.95 for children, $9.95 for adults.

 

Emily Martin, The Anxiety Alphabet, 1998, Naughty Dog Press. Alphabet book bound in contemporary interpretation of Coptic structure. Cover has needles and dressmakers’ pins. 10 of edition of 10, approx. 4 x 7 inches closed