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MAIN GALLERY: Americans Looking In
The Americans, by Robert Frank, was a highly influential book in post-war American photography. The photographs were notable for their distanced view of both high and low strata of American society and the book as a whole created a complicated portrait of the period, interpreted as skeptical of contemporary values and evocative of ubiquitous loneliness.
Both curators of this exhibition have reflected on what it means to be “American.” Having multicultural backgrounds and being raised in the States has given them both moments of confusion and frustration, and has led them to wonder what this country has to do with personal identity. When forming this exhibition, the curators presented themselves, artists, editors, leaders and everyday-people with the question – “What is American culture today, and what does an American look like?”
They ask the viewer to consider the question with them starting through the eyes of the artists in this exhibition, leading to self reflection upon exiting the space.
Curated by Emilie Ahern & Sherri Littlefield.
STUDIO GALLERIES: Morcos Key Makes/Reads
The Center for Book Arts 2020 Faculty Fellows are Wael Morcos and Jon Key.
In 2018, they launched Morcos Key, an award winning Brooklyn-based graphic design studio with a hybrid practice operating between social impact, pedagogy, and creative form. The studio collaborates with arts & cultural institutions, non-profits, and commercial enterprises in North America and the Middle East.
Their investment in queer and diasporic identities has guided them in developing a process rooted in community-building within multicultural contexts. To facilitate understanding while avoiding oversimplification, they leverage design choices as guideposts between the injustices of the past and a more equitable future. With a strong emphasis on language and letter design, Morcos Key translates clients’ stories and missions into visual identity, print, and digital systems. Much of the work produced by the studio is premised on the interplay of text, language, heritage, and function.
Morcos Key Makes/Reads takes viewers through a selection of print materials designed by Wael Morcos and Jon Key: branding stories, type treatments, collaborations, commissions, and personal projects. These books are displayed alongside selections from their personal library, demonstrating the conceptual and aesthetic influence on the duo’s design process and creative practice.
As part of their fellowship, Wael Morcos and Jon Key will lead an online Artist Talk and Master Class, and have an exclusive interview published in the brochure available onsite at the exhibition.
FOYER GALLERY: Construction Site, Viviane Rombaldi Seppey
Construction Site investigates the challenges faced by migrants settling in a new land, using the stories of Viviane Rombaldi Seppey’s grandfather to trace narratives of migration. At the turn of the 20th century, aged fifteen, her grandfather left Italy on foot to find work in Switzerland, working on construction sites along the way.
Construction Site encompasses a paper-based installations and artist’s books, featuring work based on migratory experience, using the concept of home construction as the point of departure for this collection of work.