Clarissa Sligh: Witnessing Through Artist’s Books

page spread from Reading Dick and Jane with Me by Clarissa Sligh
Reading Dick and Jane With Me by Clarissa Sligh, published by Visual Studies Workshop in 1989.

The Center for Book arts is pleased to present the solo project Witnessing Through Artist’s Books by Clarissa Sligh.

Clarissa Sligh engages with the book format to document, deconstruct and redress the structural oppression witnessed throughout her lifetime. Sourcing from U.S. history and her lived experiences growing up in the Jim Crow South, Sligh’s artist’s books utilize text and photography to explore and interrogate the human condition under our normative societal roles and structures. She collages poetry and prose, photographs and drawings, journal excerpts and visual textures to evoke simultaneous intimacy as both spectator and spectacle.

This exhibition will be on view at 28 w 27 street, NYC from October 3 through December 14, 2019. Sligh will be presenting an artist’s talk at the Center on November 7 at 6:30pm. Please RSVP as space for this lecture is filling up.

My hands holding The White Man’s Bible by Clarissa Sligh, 2016.

Clarissa Sligh is a visual and conceptual artist, lecturer, and essayist based in Asheville, North Carolina. For over 40 years, Sligh has used photography and text with other media to explore cultural, personal and political concepts of memory, history, and place: themes that have roots in her own experiences. When she was 15 years old she became the lead plaintiff in the 1955 school desegregation case in Virginia (Clarissa Thompson et. al. vs. Arlington County School Board). Recent projects based on “transforming hate” (2008–present) include installations and artist books. Sligh has received awards including an International Center of Photography Annual Infinity Award, Anonymous Was a Woman (2001), and National Endowment for the Arts (1988). She has been a New York Foundation Fellow in Artists’ Books (2005) and in Photography (2000 and 1988). Sligh’s works are in public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.