Book Arts Toward Liberation

At the Center for Book Arts, we believe that the book arts are a medium of expression and a tool for disseminating information. As makers, arts workers, educators, and New York City Residents, we encounter the book arts on a daily basis, whether we’re sheltering in place or riding the subway. Print and material culture is woven into this city, and we rely on it to navigate, from signage, to pamphlets, to transit maps. Book arts are also an everyday tool for political engagement, whether it’s a poster you’ve made for a protest, a zine you’ve printed with your friends, or putting words on a page. Book arts are and can be anything involving text and image, and the relationships between hand and object, a way of citing forms, techniques, and traditions that extend beyond our present time and place.

For us at the Center, it is constant work: the way we define community, the way we show up and hold each other accountable, and the ways we aim to leverage book arts as a tool for action. We’ve witnessed the systemic injustice against Black people in this city, and across the country, and we cannot operate neutrally. Through our residency programs, literary programs, and exhibitions, we hope to provide a space where Black artists can feel safe and empowered to make, learn, curate, and produce. We are committing to providing resources for Black artists and the work made toward liberation, where book arts are a source of possibility for political change.

Apply to be a Book Artist-In-Residence by July 6th!

We’re happy to announce that applications for the 2020-21 Book Artist-in-Residence are now open! The Book Artist-in-Residence awards 3-4 residencies to artists who have demonstrated a commitment to the book arts as a key component of their artistic practice. The purpose of this residency is to fortify the practice of early career artists in the book arts, to provide access to professional equipment, opportunities and space to work, and to strengthen and diversify the community of book artists working within the New York area. The residency includes a year long tuition waiver and 24/7 access to printing and binding studios. There is no fee to apply!

The Center for Book Arts is thrilled to present the winners of the 2020 Chapbook Contest judged by Raquel Salas Rivera

The Center for Book Arts Chapbook Contest awards the winning manuscript with the publication of a beautifully designed, letterpress-printed, limited-edition chapbook printed and bound by artists at the Center for Book Arts. The edition is limited to 100 signed and numbered copies, which will be offered for sale through the Center. The winning poet will also receive a cash award, as well as an exclusive opportunity for a week-long stay at the Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, New York for their Wintertide Rustic Retreat. The runners up are awarded with a limited edition broadside print of a poem from their manuscript.

Winner: Katerina Isabel Ramos-Jordán

Starting Monday, March 16th, the Center has decided to suspend all upcoming in-person events (lectures & classes) through the end of June as well as our Summer Exhibitions, which will be postponed to next year in an effort to support the City’s request that we ensure social distancing and decrease public density. Please understand that this was not an easy decision for us to make; we can extend full refunds to those who have signed up for a cancelled class.

The Center for Book Arts promotes active explorations of artistic practices related to the book as an art object.

Exhibitions On View

“I open my eyes and see myself under a tree laden with fruit that I cannot name.”

Hadieh Shafie (2019)

I open my eyes and see myself under a tree laden with fruit that I cannot name” is an exhibition entitled after a line in Sinan Antoon’s latest novel, The Book of Collateral Damage, featured alongside Hadieh Shafie and Zarina, whose works are deeply embedded within narrative mediums.

Warren Lehrer: Books, Animation, Performance, Collaboration

Warren Lehrer (2019
January 17 –
March 28, 2020

This exhibition explores Warren Lehrer’s approach to visualizing poetry and prose in multi-branched projects through books, typography, animation, performance, and collaboration.The centerpiece is Lehrer’s newest book/project, Five Oceans in a Teaspoon, a collaboration with poet/investigative journalist Dennis J Bernstein (Paper Crown Press, 2019). In addition to copies of the Five Oceans in a Teaspoon book, the exhibit includes 27 prints of individual poems and a reel of a dozen animations. The exhibit also features some of Lehrer’s previous books… 

The Private Life of Rag Dolls

Faride Mereb
January 17 –
March 28, 2020

The Private life of Rag Dolls is based on the book, Once Upon a Rag Doll, by Aquiles Nazoa (1920-1976), one of Venezuela’s most prominent writers, humorists, and journalists. The exhibition will feature artist Faride Mereb’s research findings and photographs made during a visit to the author’s family in Caracas, as well as photographs of the original dolls and reinterpretations of the original characters…

Remembering Walter Hamady: Selections from The Perishable Press

©Dana Weise
January 17 –
March 28, 2020

Remembering Walter Hamady: Selections from the Perishable Press celebrates the life and career of Walter Hamady. As a pioneer of bookbinding, printmaking and collage, Hamady created the Perishable Press as a space for experimentation and innovation in the field of book arts. By collaborating with other poets, writers and artists, Hamady brought others into the realm of bookmaking, expanding the reach of the medium…

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