Politics of Place

four monkey shaped books
Tammy Nguyen, Dana Ng in Danang City

From the mechanisms of colonialism, to intractable wars, displacement has become a catalyst to a contemporary discourse surrounding belonging, homeland and nationhood. The Politics of Place highlights artist books, mainly from Australia and North America, both new world territories that share parallel histories, to explore the longstanding issues centered in indigeneity, enslavement, conflict-caused immigration. These issues reflect the undercurrent of political motives and decisions often decentering and ignoring the voices of those displaced.

Artists include: Sue Anderson, Aileen Bassis, Julie Barratt, Doug Beube, Tia Blassingame, Teresa Carbone, Bonney Djuric, Jas Duke, Debra Earling Maggie, Claire Fouquet, Oga Freiberg, Colette Fu, Anne Gilman, Parra Girls, Adam Golfer, Lyall Harris, Gwen Harrison, Claudia Heinermann, Lily Hibberd, Ann Kalmbach, Tatana Kellner, Peter Koch Rutledge, Taller Lenateros, Jason Lujan, Peter Lyssiotis, Dominique Malaquais, Paul Mason, Clyde McGill, Vivienne Mehes, Gideon Mendel, Indre Michael Serpytyte, Tammy Nguyen, Iviva Olenick, Lefteris Olympios, Refugee Project Art, Patricia Silva, Patty Smith, Anne Twigg, Juana Valdes, Judy Watson, Sonya Winterberg, and Philip Zimmermann.

Monica Oppen works in the book arts, writing, printmaking and bookbinding. Her most recent major work Stabat Mater received a highly commended in the 59th Blake Prize for Religious and Spiritual Art. Over 20 years she has been collecting books by artists. As a way of promoting the genre she established the Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem, the library for the artist’s book. While studying printmaking at art school in Sydney in the 1980s Monica Oppen became interested putting her work into books. There was no formal book arts component in the course. Realising she liked to create series of prints and work with text and disliking the impact of framing on the visual texture of the printed surface she decided that books were the medium to explore. She learnt to bind with Daphne Lera, a traditionally trained hand binder from England, and began to collect the books of other artists. The motivation for collecting was to connect with other book works, so her own books were not alone on the shelf! A key artist whose work she collected initially was the work of Peter Lyssiotis. It was when a Sydney student wanting to see Peter’s work visited that she realised that sharing the books with others was as interesting as owning them. Since then she has continued collecting, has catalogued the collection and set up a website of the work. She continues to work as a printmaker and bookbinder.

Alexander Campos is an independent curator who has organized numerous exhibitions for The Center for Book Arts, WPU Galleries, Paterson University, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective and more. Campos has over 25 years of museum experience with positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. He has an MA from New York University in Arts Administration and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Art History and Romance Languages.

Related Events:

  • Opening Reception: January 18, 2019, 6:30 pm
  • Roundtable Discussion: January 25, 2019, 6:30 pm – featuring co-curators Monica Oppen and Alexander Campos and artists Julie Barratt, Clyde McGill, Ann Kalmbach, and Tatana Kellner
  • Roundtable Discussion: February 27, 2019, 6:30 pm – featuring curator Alexander Campos and artists Jason Lujan, Juana Valdes, and Tammy Nguyen

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 Views

Doug Beube
white leaf printed on brown paper
Tia Blassingame, Harvest: Holding & Trading
vertical columns of red and black book pages
Anne Gilman, War Ad Infinitum
book spread with the words "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or excile"
Tatana Kellner, Whereas, We Declare: Courage
book spread with image of a border wall
Tatana Kellner, Whereas, We Declare: Courage
brown accordion fold book
Robin Ami Silverberg, La Jicara
spread with women and the word machines
Peter Lysiotis, Industrial Woman
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