September 19, 2014

The Center for Book Arts Colloquium at MoMA: Collecting Artist Books


The Center for Book Arts, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this October, presents a colloquium in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art Library entitled The Collecting of Artist Books Saturday, October 11 from 10am to 5pm. The day-long event, featuring 21 distinguished voices in the field of book arts, is offered in conjunction with the Center's major fall exhibition, Behind the Personal Library: Collectors Creating the Canon, which opens the same day. Following the colloquium, an opening reception and "Birthday Bash" will take place at the Center, located at 28 W. 27th St., Third Floor, New York, NY.

The colloquium is divided into four panels—"Disseminating Ideas through Artist Books," "The Artist Book: Meaning through Structure & Form," "The Artist Book as a Vehicle of Social Commentary" and "Letterpress Today and Its Relevancy for Artmaking"—which take the form of roundtable discussions intended to foster meaningful dialogue about the practice of collecting artist books, both for content and form. Panel participants represent a diversity of distinguished voices in the field of book arts: collectors, art historians, art dealers, gallerists, curators, librarians, artists, and publishers.

Panels are moderated by experts from four educational institutions. David Platzker, Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA; Molly Schwartzburg, Librarian and Curator at the University of Virginia; Tony White, Librarian and Curator at the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art (MICA) and Katherine Ruffin, Book Arts Program Director at Wellesley College, will facilitate discussion amongst the panelists.

Notable panelists include Richard Minsky, artist and Founder of the Center for Book Arts; Mark Dimunation who, as Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, oversees the largest collection of rare books in North America; Ruth Rogers, Curator of Special Collections at Wellesley College, who teaches and administers a rare books collection of over 40,000 items.

Also of note are prominent collectors from around the world. Marvin Sackner's Florida-based Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry is the world's largest private collection of its kind, with 60,000 items; Philip Aarons' prolific rare book collection in New York includes artists' books, catalogues and zines with an emphasis on conceptual art; Jack Ginsberg's unparalleled collection of artists' books in South Africa draws visitors from around the world; Martha Wilson is an artist, collector and Founding Director of Franklin Furnace in Brooklyn, NY; Mary Austin is a California-based collector and Co-Founder of the San Francisco Center for the Book. Additional participating collectors are Monica Oppen, based in Sydney, Australia, Robert Ruben, based in New York, and Duke Collier, based in Massachusetts.

An array of artists and curators are also represented among the panelists. Art historian, writer and former rare-book dealer Barbara Moore's Fluxus Collection is one of the most important groups of Fluxus materials in North America; Marshall Weber is an artist and Co-founder/Directing Curator of Booklyn Artist Alliance in Brooklyn, NY; Robin Price is a Connecticut-based printer and publisher; Russell Maret is a type designer and printer working in New York City and also Vice-Chair of the Fine Press Book Association; Maddy Rosenberg is Executive Director of the NYC gallery Central Booking; Ann Kalmbach is an artist and Executive Director/Co-founder of the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.

The event is organized by Center for Book Arts Executive Director Alexander Campos, who will give the colloquium's opening remarks.

When: October 11, 2014, 10am-5pm 

Where: The Museum of Modern Art

The Celeste Bartos Auditorium

Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education & Research Building

4 West 54th Street

Subway: B/D/F/M to 47-50 St Rockefeller Center, or E/M to 5th Ave/53 St
Admission: Free. Reservations required by calling the Center at 212-481-0295


10am: Welcoming Remarks

Alexander Campos, Executive Director & Curator, Center for Book Arts


Panel 1: Disseminating Ideas through Artist Books

Moderator: David Platzker, Curator, Prints and Illustrated Books, MoMA
Philip Aarons, Collector (NY)
Richard Minsky, Founder, Center for Book Arts; Artist
Maddy Rosenberg, Executive Director, Central Booking; Artist & Curator
Marvin Sackner, Collector, Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry (FL)

11:30-11:45am: Break


Panel 2: The Artist Book: Meaning through Structure & Form

Moderator: Molly Schwartzburg, Librarian/Curator, University of Virginia 

Mary Austin, Collector (CA)
Jack Ginsberg, Collector (South Africa)
Anne Kalmbach, Co-Founder, Women's Studio Workshop
Ruth Rogers, Curator of Special Collections, Wellesley College

1:00-2:15pm: Break for Lunch


Panel 3: The Artist Book as a Vehicle of Social Commentary

Moderator: Tony White, Librarian/Curator, Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art
Barbara Moore, Art Historian & Former Rare Book Dealer (NY)
Monica Oppen, Collector (Australia)
Robert Ruben, Collector (NY)
Marshall Weber, Directing Curator of Booklyn Artist Alliance; Artist
Martha Wilson, Collector & Founder, Franklin Furnace

3:30-3:45pm: Break


Panel 4: Letterpress Today and Its Relevancy for Artmaking

Moderator: Katherine Ruffin, Book Arts Program Director, Wellesley College
Duke Collier, Collector (MA)
Robin Price, Publisher & Artist (CT)
Russell Maret, Artist (NY)
Mark Dimunation, Chief, Rare Books & Special Collections, Library of Congress

The Center for Book Arts Celebrates 40 Years

The Center for Book Arts' 40th Anniversary festivities begin Friday, October 10 with a private VIP event: an exhibition preview and champagne toast at the Center followed by a luxurious dining experience at SD26. A limited number of seats are available at $400 per guest. To purchase tickets, please call the Center at 212.481.0295.

Celebratory events continue all day Saturday, October 11. The colloquium at MoMA (10am-5pm) will be followed by a "Birthday Bash" and opening reception for the correlating exhibition Behind the Personal Art Library: Collectors Creating the Canon at the Center for Book Arts from 6-9pm. Saturday's events are free and open to the general public; colloquium seating is limited and reservations are required to ensure a seat. RSVP for each panel by calling the Center at 212-481-0295. Additional special events will take place throughout the Center's 40th Anniversary season from October 2014 to September 2015.

Additional special events will take place throughout the Center's 40th Anniversary season from October 2014 to September 2015.

About the Exhibition Behind the Personal Art Library

The Center for Book Arts' main fall exhibition, Behind the Personal Art Library: Collectors Creating the Canon, considers the influence of thirteen private collectors on the critical dialogue in the field of book arts. It features democratic multiples to fine artist books, and fine book sculptures to limited edition artist books. The exhibition encompasses the full field of book arts and derivative objects. Collections featured include: Philip Aarons (NY), Mary Austin (CA), Duke Collier (MA), Jack Ginsberg (South Africa), Arthur Jaffe (FL), Monica Oppen (Australia), Barbara Pascal (CA), Robert Ruben (NY), Marvin & Ruth Sackner (FL), Julia Vermes (Switzerland), Frank Williams (MA), Martha Wilson (NY), and Tony Zwicker (CT).

Behind the Personal Art Library: Collectors Creating the Canon is on view October 11-December 20 2014, Monday through Friday, 11 am to 6pm; Saturdays 10 am to 5pm, with an opening reception Saturday, October 11 from 6 to 9pm. Admission to the Center's galleries is free and open to the public.

About the Center for Book Arts

The Center for Book Arts is committed to exploring and cultivating contemporary aesthetic interpretations of the book as an art object, while invigorating traditional artistic practices of the art of the book. Founded in 1974, it was the first not-for-profit organization of its kind in the nation, and it has since become a model for others around the world. The Center seeks to facilitate communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary art and literature through exhibitions, classes, public programming, literary presentations, opportunities for artists and writers, publications and collecting. As American Craft magazine noted, "Dropping in on the bustling Center for Book to experience the special pleasure of viewing an intrinsically intimate art form in a venue where it is taught and made."

Image: From the collection of Julia Vermes (Switzerland).