Published August 2, 2016.
Making Sense of the Senses, the Center for Book Arts’ annual artist members’ exhibition, demonstrates the vitality and variety to be found in the art of the book. A dizzying platform for experimentation in visual narrative, the discipline of artist books can be described as a multimedia form whose end result is an object, Whether it takes the form of a book-like object, a video presentation, an installation, or a sculpture executed in paper, metal or toast—that’s right, toasted sourdough bread—is up to the artist.
This exhibition presents artists’ books and related works that employ one or more of the senses: hearing, smell, sight, taste, and touch. Divided roughly into five sections, one for each sense, the show includes a flip book by Antonio Guerra accompanied by a cigarette and cigarette box, located in the Smell section, but which could have been easily installed in the Taste section. Bukhari’s Magic Tea Cups are in Taste but could have been placed in Sight, since the text appears only when hot water is added to the cups.
In the Sound section, master engrave George A. Walker’s Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook, in celebration of the singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday, is written in a xylography of wood engravings that is accessible to readers of any language. Thomas Parker Williams’s The Free Circle: Improvisations on the Circle of Fifths illustrates the relationships of all of the major and relative minor scales in even-tempered music on six circular panels, with two additional circular folders containing a music CD and a video DVD. Julie Chen’s Bon Bon Mots takes the form of several confection-like book structures, including a phrasebook of social graces and a calendar recording each day’s guilt and worries. The texts mix sadness and sweetness in equal proportions, housed in an old-fashioned “candy box.”
Artists included: Aravind Adyanthaya, Ioulia Akhmadeeva, Rosaire Appel, Anita Gangi Balkun, Wardah Naeem Bukhari, Sophie Calle, Josely Carvalho, Julie Chen, Donald Daedalus, Aurora De Armendi, Sue Donym and Marie Guise, Ximena Perez Grobet, Antonio Guerra, Angela Lorenz, Sean Meehan, Susan Martin Maffei, Jule Claudia Mahn, Shervone Neckles, John Risseeuw, Paolo Salvagione, Scripps College Press, Zoë Sheehan-Saldaña, Ellen Sheffield, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Irwin Susskind, Barbara Tetenbaum, George A. Walker, Thomas Parker Williams, Tammy Wofsey, and Dasha Ziborova.
Making Sense of the Senses continues at the Center for Book Arts through September 24th. On Wednesday, August 3rd, the Center hosts an Artist Roundtable Discussion with Josely Carvalho, Ximena Perez Grobet, Susan Maffei, Robbin Ami Silverberg, and Thomas Parker Williams at 6:30 pm; a reception for the artists follows. 28 West 27th Street, third floor, NY, NY. Info: http://centerforbookarts.org/events/category/special-events/talks-lectures/