Organized by Betty Bright and Jeff Rathermel
The practice of letterpress printing incorporates craft standards and the books haptic character, along with art world strategies, materials and content. With Fine & Dirty, the curators will assemble work that represents the best in letterpress books today, created by established and emerging artists. In so doing we hope to explore the forces that are reshaping the meanings of craft in letterpress printing in the twenty-first century, and that may shed light on the larger craft world’s relationship to art and to life. The exhibition will also investigate other influences on current letterpress work. These include DIY (Do It Yourself) and its playful organizational spin-off for letterpress, ILLSA (Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts); Asian influences such as wabi sabi; international influences such as, from the UK, Ken Campbell’s improvisatory approach and Ron King’s theatrical presentations, and, from Germany, a heightened focus on design and on a wide use of papers seen in work by Viktoria Schpers and other Germans, and in work by Barbara Tetenbaum.
Support for 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.