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

On view at the Center for Book Arts Monday through Saturday, 11am till 5pm, January 17 through March 28, 2020.

Draw / Cut / Rotate 17, Hadieh Shafie (2019)

Storytelling is a central component of societal development across centuries and cultures. Whether used as a tool to recall history, preserve identity, or to transmit morals, it is a means for understanding and sharing human experiences. Oral traditions and the written word are perhaps the most obvious modes of communication associated with storytelling, however visual artists have equally engaged with it throughout history, and continue to do so today.
Curated by Lila Nazemian, “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. Through the use of paper, printing methods and orality, each artist produces works that function as allegories for sharing stories of home and of their lived experiences.
During the course of the exhibition, public programs such as artist talks between Shafie, Antoon and Nazemian will take place, in addition to poetry recitations accompanied by live music from Iran, Iraq and South Asia.

Opening Reception: Jan 16, 6:30pm
Artist Talk with Hadieh Shafie and Sinan Antoon: Jan 30, 6:30pm
Master Class with Hadieh Shafie: Feb 1 & 2, 11-5pm
Live Music Performance: March 6, 6:30pm

Warren Lehrer: Books, Animation, Performance, Collaboration

On view at the Center for Book Arts Foyer Gallery: January 17 through March 28, 2020.

Warren Lehrer: Books, Animation, Performance, Collaboration 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 and animations/films/performances that branch from them, including: Globalization: Preventing the Sameness of the World andclips from 1001 Voices: Symphony for a New America—offshoots of Crossing the BLVD (W.W. Norton) co-authored with Judith Sloan; and animations and films used in Lehrer’s performances of his illuminated novel A LIFE IN BOOKS: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley (Goff Books). Lehrer and Bernstein’s first book/play FRENCH FRIES (1984, VSW), and other solo and collaborative bookworks provide further context.

Opening Reception: Jan 16, 6:30pm
Artist Presentation: March 26, 6:30pm

Warren Lehrer is a writer, designer and book artist known as a “pioneer of visual literature and design authorship.” His books and multimedia projects capture the shape of thought and reunite oral and pictorial traditions of storytelling in books, animations and performance. Awards include: The Brendan Gill Prize, IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Award, Innovative Use of Archives Award, International Book Award for Best New Fiction, three AIGA Book Awards, Media That Matters Award, grants and fellowships from NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, QCA, Rockefeller, Ford, Greenwall Foundations. He is a 2016 Honoree of the Center for Book Arts and a 2019 Ladislv Sutnar Prize laureate. His work is in many collections including MoMA, Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, Tate Gallery. A frequent lecturer and performer, Lehrer is the Leff Distinguished Professor at SUNY Purchase, a founding faculty member of SVA’s Designer As Author MFA program, and co-founder of EarSay, a non-profit arts organization in Queens, NY.

https://www.artandobject.com/news/when-word-and-image-are-one-warren-lehrers-visual-literature

The Private Life of Rag Dolls

On view at the Center for Book Arts Print Shop Gallery: January 17 through March 28, 2020.

Faride Mereb is a Venezuelan artist, designer, researcher, and founder of publishing house Letra Muerta. Established in 2014, Letra Muerta focuses on archival books, Latin American literature and vindicating the value of the printed book. With The Private Life of Rag Dolls, she is presenting the publisher’s 8th publication. 

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. A new English version will be featured, which uses new fonts, format, and photographs, printed and produced by Javier Aizpurua, the same master printer who worked on the first edition of the book. 

“At that time, the capital of Venezuela was the place where you could find the stagnation of the State, the European ways of the Belle Epoque and some features of the American culture recently brought in by the exploitation of oil.” The time elapsed between the first publication of this book and the present reissue shows the consequences of the policies undertaken that ruined a rich State, which is vividly represented by these dolls, their inner rags, and the Venezuelan population.

Faride Mereb es una artista, venezolana, diseñadora, investigadora, y fundadora de Ediciones Letra Muerta. Iniciando en 2014, Letra Muerta se enfoca en libros de archivo, literatura Latino Americana y la reivindicación del valor del libro impreso. Vida privada de las muñecas de trapo es el octavo título presentado bajo el sello editorial. 

Este libro fue publicado por primera vez en 1975 por Aquiles Nazoa (1920-1976), autor, humorista y periodista venezolano muy prominente, cuyo trabajo cruza las fronteras entre los diferentes géneros literarios. Vida privada de las muñecas de trapo es un híbrido entre historias cortas e imágenes de las muñecas que fueron hechas por Ariadna, una mujer de El Guarataro, un vecindario humilde donde vivía el autor y su familia. Estas imágenes se intercalan con fotos de archivo tomadas por Godofredo Romero en aquella época. Esta nueva edición, presenta una selección minuciosa de fotos digitalizadas al visitar la casa del autor en Caracas, que además de incluir los personajes originales, también plantea nuevas interpretaciones. El libro ha sido traducido al inglés, una edición revisada que usa nuevas fuentes, formato y fotos, pero con la constante de la producción e impresión a cargo de Javier Aizpurua, el mismo maestro impresor que llevó a cabo el proyecto en los años 70.

“En ese tiempo, la capital venezolana era un lugar que buscaba combinar el sopor del latifundio, los modos parisinos de la Belle Époque y los trazos todavía incipientes de la cultura norteamericana introducida por la explotación petrolera”. El inciso entre la primera edición y esta, evidencia las consecuencias del deterioro de un país llevado a las ruinas, siendo representado en las mismas muñecas, sus vestidos, y sobre todo en la población venezolana. 

Opening Reception: Jan 16, 6:30pm
Story Time & Fun: A Party for Kids!: Feb 6, 12pm
The Production of The Private Life of Rag Dolls: Feb 20, 6:30pm

Remembering Walter Hamady: Selections from The Perishable Press

On view in the Bindery Studio Gallery Monday through Saturday, 11am till 5pm, January 16 through March 28, 2020.

Born in 1940 in Flint, Michigan, Walter Hamady was a book artist, educator, publisher, and poet known for his tactile and witty approach to bookmaking and collage. As the founder of the influential Perishable Press Limited and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Hamady was a leader in the field for decades. He acquired a love for printed materials early in his childhood, citing his mother’s extensive book and magazine collection as an original inspiration. He received his BFA from Wayne State University (1964) and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1966). In 1964, while working towards his MFA, Hamady launched the Perishable Press. Through the press, he published 131 volumes, including works of his own and those of many contemporaries. He joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1966, and he became an influential voice in the art department until his retirement in 1996.Hamady received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for his work at Perishable Press (1976, 1978, and 1980) and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fund in 1969. His work has been collected by institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the New York Public Library.

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. In this exhibition, we present a survey of his work over the span of four decades and numerous collaborations, with poets like Robert Creeley, Rosmarie Waldrop, George Oppen, and others.

Opening Reception: Jan 16, 6:30pm
Experimental Collage Masterclass with Book Artist-in-Residence, Linda Zeb Hang: Feb 22, 12pm
Lecture on Walter Hamady with Ruth Lingen: March 12, 6:30pm

Touch-Untouch

On view at the Center for Book Arts Main Gallery April 17 through June 27.

Throughout history, there have been many discourses on the relationship between the senses of touch and sight, the eye and hand. The fields of art, psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science have all shed light on how these senses influence human understanding and perception of their bodies, objects, and the environment around them. In light of these fields of inquiry, researcher Mark Paterson has argued that “within an academic climate that celebrates visual cultures, and the popular media’s infatuation with visuality, touch remains largely neglected, forgotten” (The Senses of Touch 2007, 1).

Curated by Maryam Ghoreishi, Touch-Untouch not only investigates the sense of sight, but also of touch. Through the artworks of Amina Ahmed, Bahman Mohammadi, Masoumeh Mohtadi, and Shirin Salehi, each of these senses— either acting alone or working together— reminds the visitor of the vital role of discovery and understanding that sight and touch play together in determining tactile sensations. Visitors’ interactions with each artwork imply the concept of mystery via confrontations with unfamiliar objects or situations. While some works are covered and may only be touched, some can only be viewed, not touched: each concealing a different approach, resulting in the process of discovery. Touch-Untouch is also designed with a reading section containing multiple books in English, Farsi, and Spanish, with a sculpture by Ramyar Vala.

These books have been used either by the artists in the exhibition as conceptual sources or by the curator in her research, thus revealing the research and construction process. In accompaniment to the exhibition, a master class and a workshop/seminar by Shirin Salehi will explore the relationship between the concepts of silence and mystery, as well as a book-making workshop by Amina Ahmed in which she will bind all of the slips of paper class’s collective experience of her work into a book.

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 16
Master Class by Shirin Salehi: Friday-Sunday, April 24-April 26
Artist Talk with Shirin Salehi, moderated by Maryam Ghoreishi: Thursday, April 23 6:30pm
Interactive Artist Talk with Amina Ahmed: Thursday, June 25, 6:30pm

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Program 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.

Summer Reading

On view at the Center for Book Arts Main Gallery July 17 through September 26 .

Opening in July—the high season of leisure reading and scholastic book challenges—The Center for Book Arts presents Summer Reading, an exhibition of works by contemporary artists who take creative approaches to the book, text, and language. The book, in this exhibition, is complemented or subverted, with artists investigating the tradition of artist’s books as an artistic structure, storytelling in visual art, the narrative possibilities of language, the communicative potential of storylines, and the object-ness of material in circulation.

In including prints, sculptures, and works on paper that explore the design and aesthetics of language, this exhibition celebrates the relationship between reading and making. Summer Reading extends beyond the gallery walls to include featured reading lists culled by the artist participants and associated lending lists for all ages, developed with our local partner libraries.

Curated by Ann Tarantino and Lindsey Landfried.

Opening Reception: July 16, 6:30pm

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Program 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.

New Book Art: Work from the 2019 Artists in Residence

On view at the Center for Book Arts Foyer and Studio Galleries April 17 through June 27.

The 2019 Scholars and Worksace Residents will be exhibiting work produced over the course of their one year residency at the Center for Book Arts.


2019 Scholarship for Advanced Studies in the Book Arts Residents:
Slavko Djuric
Keith Graham
Christina Martinelli
Jennifer Grimyser


2019 Workspace Residents:
Adama Delphine Fawundu
Jihyun Hong
Kathleen Ma
Laura Nova
Kevin Umana

Opening Reception: April 16, 6:30pm
Scholar Residents Artist Talk: May 7, 6:30pm
Workspace Residents Artist Talk: May 28, 6:30pm

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Program 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.

Americans Looking In

On view at the Center for Book Arts Main Gallery October 9 through December 12.

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 and Sherri Littlefield

Opening Reception: October 8, 6:30pm

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Program 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.

Walt Whitman’s Words: Inspiring Artists Today

On view at the Center for Book Arts Monday through Saturday, 11am till 5pm, October 3 through December 14, 2019.

Portraits of Walt Whitman by Barbara Henry

2019 is the 200th birthday year of Walt Whitman (1819-1892), who is known today as one of the most influential poets of the nineteenth century. In addition to his work as a poet, Whitman is also remembered as a book designer and printer, essayist and journalist. Calling himself “the Bard of Democracy”, Whitman broke the mold in his prolific writings – calling for equality, inclusivity and a more humanist world for all to live in.

Installation view of Walt Whitman’s Words: Inspiring Artists Today at the Center for Book Arts through December 14, 2019. ©Center for Book Arts 2019

The Center for Book Arts is marking this bi-centennial by looking at how Whitman’s writings have influenced contemporary artists working in the book arts. The exhibition follows several themes Whitman focused on in his writings, providing the connective tissue that links these works together. Geography, history, identity and immigration are a few themes that emerge from the works of art on view. Whitman’s fascination with Ancient Egypt, photography as a branding tool, and his notion of the world as he imagined it are all evident in the art on view. These diverse objects range from books, drawings, photographs, sketches, broadsides and a scroll.

Installation view of Walt Whitman’s Words: Inspiring Artists Today at the Center for Book Arts through December 14, 2019. ©Center for Book Arts 2019

Artists Included: Isabel Baraona, Vanessa Cruz, Sasha Chavchavadze, Allen Crawford, Marianne Dages, Devon Damonte, Brian Dettmer, Teresa Drilling, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Evelyn Eller, Sophie Koko Gate, Anne Gilman, Donald Glaister, Sam Gordon, Sheila Goloborotko, Joan C. Gratz, Barbara Henry, Bridget Henry, Meg Hitchcock, Timothy Hull and Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Sam Ita, Saskia Jetten, Stefan Killen, Richard Kostelanetz, Kathy Kuehn, Karen Kunc, Lisa LaBracio, Sophia Le Fraga, Angela Lorenz, Russell Maret, Barry McCallion, Deanna Morse, Mark McMurray, Susan Newmark, Ilse Schreiber-Noll, Leisa ReFalo, Brian Selznick, Clarissa Sligh, Peter Spagnuolo, Elisabeth Tonnard, Walt Whitman, Rutherford Witthus, Marilyn Zornado

Join us for one of these related events:
+ Oct 24Roundtable Discussion with Susan Newmark, Anne Gilman, Sasha Chavchavadze, and curator Deirdre Lawrence @ 6:30pm
+ Nov 4Free Letterpress Workshop with instructor Roni Gross @ 6:30pm
+ Dec 12Photography Discussion with Marianne Dages, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Stefan Killen, and curator Deirdre Lawrence @ 6:30pm

The Traveling Artist: Journals by Lydia Rubio

Wooden box with the word Journey stenciled on it
Miami Geneva (external view of box) by Lydia Rubio, 2000

The Center for Book Arts presents The Traveling Artist: Journals by Lydia Rubio.

This exhibition features artistic documentation of artist Lydia Rubio’s travel narratives across linguistic and geographic landscapes. The works record the artist’s experiences across a variation of calligraphic, drawing and poetic compositions. This exhibition includes multiple series of work including The Genius Loci Book, The Journal of a Trip to the Island, and Travel Journals. Travel Journals are a result of an early appreciation for words and calligraphy.

Her first journal, on view in this exhibition, was about the artist’s return to her homeland of Cuba after nearly 4 decades. Join us to hear Lydia Rubio talk about her life and work on December 5, 2019 at the Center for Book Arts. The exhibition opens on Thursday, October 3 and runs through December 14, 2019.

Miami Geneva, Terre Rouge (one of fourteen drawings) by Lydia Rubio, 2000