Book Arts & Social Justice Exhibition Debuts in Boston

Courtesy of Bromer Booksellers & Gallery

“La jaula de oro” (“The golden cage”) limited edition silkscreen print by Salvador Jiménez-Flores, currently on exhibit in Boston.

Yesterday, Bromer Booksellers & Gallery in Boston premiered a special exhibition titled Pressing Issues: Voices for Justice in the Book Arts. Curated by Meredith Santaus, the exhibition features 100+ artists’ books, prints, and original art spanning more than 100 years that deal with activism, identity, and protest.

Last year, just after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, Santaus said Bromer staffers began to consider how they, as book and art dealers, might acknowledge and engage with what was going on. “We felt the need to respond in some way that felt meaningful and sincere.” As they took stock, literally and figuratively, they were humbled by what they found — i.e., not nearly enough books and visual art by people of color, or material specifically devoted to social justice issues. To remedy that, they scoured virtual book fairs, followed online auctions, and reached out directly to artists to find items that both fit their specialties, were unique, and had something to say about justice.

Courtesy of Bromer Booksellers & Gallery

Blocks Off the Block made at San Quentin State Prison in California.

The result, almost a year later, is an ambitious exhibition that seeks to be as inclusive as possible, highlighting work that speaks to the experience of being an immigrant, a person of color, Native American, Latinx, LGBTQ, or incarcerated, as in the case of an artist’s book called Blocks Off the Block, made by prisoners in the arts program at San Quentin State Prison in California.

Artists represented include Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., Roger Shimomura, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, Rockwell Kent, and Sue Coe; printers include Kelmscott Press, Moving Parts Press, Women’s Studio Workshop, and Ediciones Vigía. Bromer believes the collection and exhibition to be “among the first of its kind in the bookselling community,” according to a press statement, and “deeply overdue.”

A printed catalogue is available. For more information, visit