Bookworks by Tom Phillips

A verse translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy by Tom Phillips with images and commentary.

Richard Minsky, curator, said of the exhibit: “Tom Phillips’ bookworks bridge the boundary between Book Arts and Artists’ Books. This exhibition takes us from original manuscripts to small editions in which metaphor is supported by image, structure, and surface, to popularly available books.

Leaving it to the reviews to focus on the text and image, I think it important to observe the sociology, finance, and commitment that these works embody. We are aware that a massive undertaking like Dante’s Inferno involves choreographing papermakers, typesetters, printers in several media, and binders. In addition the banker, collector, museum, and gallery are essential to the process, and the timing of all their entrances is critical. When the responsibility as publisher is assumed by the artist who is creating the text and images, as in Phillips’ case, all these elements are involved in the Art.

The view of Time is paramount. A project of this scope cannot be undertaken by those whose psyche demands instant gratification and a fast product. What we see here is the result of a philosophy which values the manifestation of a vision no matter what the obstacles.”

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ visual arts programming is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Exhibition Checklist:

Tom  Phillips

12 (out of the 15) Notebooks
on the translation, on the images and on the notes towards the images

A Dante Diary
(1983) Mixed meda on paper, variously inscribed
63 sheets

Dante in his Study
(1978) Oil on canvas
collection of the artist: one of two versions executed in the same year

Dante in his Study with Episodes from the Inferno
(1978) Oil on canvas (polyptych)
private collection, England

  • Dante’s Inferno(1982) A set of 9 screenprints
  • a. Dante in his studyb. Dark Wood (Una Selva Oscura)c. Levels of Allegory (Veltro)d. Virgil in his Studye. A Folly for Wisdomf. Wood of the Suicidesg. Geryon (The Monster of Fraud)h. Flying Man (Ape of Nature)i. Schismatics

Dante’s Inferno
(1983) 2 variant/de lux bindings, executed by Pella Erskine-Tulloch

Dante’s Inferno
(1983) Limited edition book in standard de luxe binding (available to order), executed by Pella Erkine-Tulloch

Dante’s Inferno
(1983) Limited edition book in two buckroom case boxes
standard edition of 100 copies, crom the complete edition totaling 185 copies.

Dante’s Inferno
(1983) Limited edition book, with archive material
one of two Archive Copies, numbered A II

Drawing (Golden Section) for Dante in his Study
(1978) Pencil
private collection

Drawing for open book page in Dante in his Study
(1978) Pencil

Exhibition Views

Tom Phillips
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