News | May 29, 2013

Minnesota Center for Book Arts Announces Finalists for The MCBA Prize 2013

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce the five finalists for this year's MCBA Prize — the first honor to recognize book art from across the field and around the world.

For the 2013 competition, a three-member jury reviewed 192 submissions from 158 artists representing 22 nations around the world, and narrowed the field to five finalists. These five works will be judged at MCBA during Book Art Biennial 2013 (, a two-day academic symposium on contemporary practice in the book arts. The winner will be announced at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, July 27. The five finalists each receive a $500 cash award, plus travel stipend to attend Book Art Biennial and The MCBA Prize Gala; the winner receives an additional $2,000 cash award.

Finalists for The MCBA Prize 2013 (in alphabetical order):

  • Amy Borezo, Labor/Movement (seven workers)
  • Inge Bruggeman, the infinite between us
  • Aaron Cohick, What You Will
  • Clifton Meador, A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature
  • Barbara Tetenbaum and Julie Chen, Glimpse

The jury also awarded three Special Recognitions of Merit:

  • Maureen Cummins, Accounting
  • Marlene MacCallum, Glaze: Reveal and Veiled
  • Heidi Neilson, Atlas Dream Sequence

The MCBA Prize 2013 jury consists of: 

  • Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England;
  • Sandra Kroupa, Curator of Book Arts and Rare Books at the University of Washington Libraries; 
  • Buzz Spector, book, installation and mixed media artist, and Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

All eight named works (five finalists, three merit) will be on display at MCBA from July 19 through August 4, 2013. An online gallery of all entries for The MCBA Prize 2013 will be available beginning in early June at The MCBA Prize website ( Photos of finalist and merit works are available immediately, upon request.

The winner will be announced live at The MCBA Prize Gala on Saturday, July 27. Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live music while you take in the five finalists' work and mingle with artists and special guests. Then attend the evening's program and witness the presentation of The MCBA Prize. Stay and celebrate with champagne and a dessert buffet following the ceremony. This event has sold out every year since the inaugural award was presented. Gala tickets ($50/$100 VIP) are available online at, or by calling The Shop at MCBA at 612-215-2520.

The MCBA Prize is presented in conjunction with Book Art Biennial 2013 (July 25-28), a series of events, exhibitions and workshops that explore contemporary practice in the book arts. This year's Biennial programming explores in depth the common threads between book art and film. Historically as well as in contemporary practice, artists blur and perforate the boundaries between these two disciplines, both of which are time-based and grounded in sequential visual communication. From examinations of contemporary innovations in visual narrative to the influence of classic filmmaking on mid-century book design, the 2013 Symposium will continue a tradition of stimulating critical thinking and dialogue.  To learn more or to register, visit

Finalist details:

Amy Borezo (Orange, MA)

Labor/Movement (seven workers)  (2012)

Letterpress (hand-set metal and wood type), photopolymer plate printing, folios sewn onto concertina structure

Labor/Movement (seven workers) depicts movement visually in book form, while calling attention to the complexity of everyday human activity, specifically physical labor. The book tracks the motions of seven workers over a brief period of time with lines that change in length, width and color. These movements were captured using a bird’s-eye-view stock video of construction workers on a building site. These abstract reductions of the movements of workers are inspired by the work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth who developed time and motion studies in the early 20th century to improve worker efficiency and productivity. Their work broke down any job into a series of discreet movements that could be repeated by anyone, obviating the need for specialized and skilled laborers. While these studies improved working conditions for some, they also began an insidious process of dehumanizing labor. The imagery is paired with ‘Lecture on Moving,’ a text by Yvonne Rainer, an avant-garde dancer and filmmaker whose dance work often highlights everyday movements. In the text, Rainer leads a group through an exercise designed to make the participants more aware of their physical presence in the world and call attention to the basic dignity of the human body. The book pages are sewn onto the folds of a concertina, which allows for the book to open like a traditional codex or be performed by the viewer/reader in many different ways.


Inge Bruggeman (Portland, OR)

the infinite between us  (2011)

Letterpress, drypoint, silkscreen, monotype, pochoir, cut-outs

the infinite between us was conceived as a residency project for the Atelier Vis-à-Vis in Marseille, France. It is inspired by the voyage around the world by the French sea-explorer Jean-François Galaup de Lapérouse. Although inspired by this fantastic exploratory sea voyage that ended in shipwreck after several years at sea, this book instead explores the aura around exploring the unknown. This project maps the spaces between the known and the unknown, between language and knowledge, and between the visual and the textual. The book is an active space for people and concepts to reside in, and to move around in. It is not a stagnant place, but one that is in constant flux and re-evaluation. As our culture shifts the book shifts with it, or perhaps the book itself leads us in unexpected directions. Not only is the object shifting, the act of reading itself is shifting. Letter, word, image, page, structure -- these elements can combine in such a plethora of enigmatic and evocative ways. I am also interested in the activated spaces that surround the book -- the connections and circuits that link us as people to this object that has the potential to be a multi-media, multi-sensory and interdisciplinary experience.


Aaron Cohick (Colorado, CO)

What You Will  (2011)

Letterpress from photopolymer plates 

What You Will is a collaboration between the NewLights Press and the poet, printer & book scholar Kyle Schlesinger. The design and structure of the book are a direct response to Kyle’s poems -- tall, narrow stacks of short lines that rhythmically build into modular “language-objects.” The book takes that principle of modularity, of rhythmic building, and extends it through the repetitive, temporal structure of the codex. The poems themselves are placed inside a black frame, the width of which is determined by the longest line on that page. To the left of each black column, the poem is printed in reverse (visually mirrored) in a transparent gray. Once a poem is printed in gray, it repeats on every page, and the text from each successive page is printed on top of all of the previous layers. Every previously read poem is always present, both in the vision & memory of the reader. The layering continues until the mid-point of the book (determined by the sequence of poems -- it is not the literal halfway mark in the physical book), where the book in its entirety is printed in white on the black paper that forms the covers & spine of the double-signature pamphlet stitch. After that point, the layering moves in reverse -- one layer of gray text is removed with each turn of the page.


Clifton Meador (Chicago, IL)

A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature (2012)

Archival inkjet, offset litho, letterpress, laser-cut birch plywood

A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature is a set of five leporello books, each presenting a sequence of woodland images from Vinalhaven Island in Maine. The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who -- even though he sounds convinced -- is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience; for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a text that defeats reading.


Barbara Tetenbaum (Portland, OR) and Julie Chen (Berkeley, CA)

Glimpse (2011)

Letterpress, hand binding

This project examines the idea of personal history and how we form a sense of our own story. Prominent events may stand out as the nameable moments, yet it is the space between these events that life, in fact, is lived. To show this, we used a kind of photo album style book. Chen designed and wrote the text that appears on the envelopes; Tetenbaum illustrated and wrote the texts on the cards inside each envelope.


Jurors’ Special Recognitions of Merit:

Maureen Cummins (High Falls, NY)

Accounting (2012)

Silkscreen and letterpress


Marlene MacCallum (Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada)

Glaze: Reveal and Veiled (2013)

Digital inkjet printing, hand-sewn quarter-bound codex in a dos-à-dos structure with wrapper


Heidi Neilson (Long Island City, NY)

Atlas Dream Sequence (2011)

Inkjet printed, letterpress text, drumleaf case bound by hand


Juror bios:


Sarah Bodman

Sarah Bodman is Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England, where she runs projects investigating and promoting contemporary book arts. She is also Programme Leader for the MA program in Multi-disciplinary Printmaking at the Bower Ashton campus. Bodman is the author of Creating Artists' Books, and serves as editor of the Artist's Book Yearbook, a biennial reference publication on contemporary book arts, and The Blue Notebook, a journal for artists' books. She also lectures nationally and internationally, and coordinates the Artists' Books Partnership-exhibition Programme to increase global awareness and appreciation for the book arts field.

Bodman's own artists' books are included in many international collections such as Tate Britain, the British Library and the V & A Museum, All Saints Library and Winchester School of Art, UK; Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection, Yale Centre for British Art, MOMA, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Mills College and Rhode Island School of Design USA; Museum van het Boek and AKI (ArtEz) The Netherlands; Biblioteca Casanatense, Italy; Southern Cross University, Lismore and Institute of the Arts, Canberra, Australia.


Sandra Kroupa

Sandra Kroupa is Curator of Book Arts and Rare Books at the University of Washington Libraries. Kroupa's career in Special Collections spans 44 years, working with book arts the entire time. Her experience in the field includes a bookbinding apprenticeship, experience with creating handmade paper and letterpress printing on her own C & P and Vandercook letterpresses, and instructing dozens of classes each quarter on aspects of book arts. Kroupa also lectures and writes on book arts topics. Her newest "toy" is an 1880s Reliance iron hand press that she uses to demonstrate early printing techniques in History of the Book classes. In her curatorial role, she oversees collections including 19th Century American Literature, 16th-21st Century Authors, historical Children's Books, Costume and Textile History, History of Science, and Travel Literature, as well as a Book Arts Collection numbering over 21,000 items.


Buzz Spector

Buzz Spector is an artist and critical writer whose artwork has been shown in such museums and galleries as the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA. Spector's work makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and object, and is concerned with relationships between public history, individual memory, and perception. He has been working in the format of artists' books and editions since the mid-1970s.

Spector was a co-founder of WhiteWalls, a magazine of writings by artists, in Chicago in 1978, and served as the publication's editor until 1987. Since then he has written extensively on topics in contemporary art and culture, and has contributed reviews and essays to a number of publications, including American Craft, Artforum, Art Issues, Art on Paper, Exposure, and New Art Examiner. He is the author of The Book Maker's Desire: Critical Essays on Topics in Contemporary Art and Artists' Books (Umbrella Editions, 1995), and numerous exhibition catalogue essays, including Conrad Bakker: untitled mail order catalogue (Creative Capital, Inc., 2002) and Dieter Roth (University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1999).

Spector's most recent recognition is the 2013 Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association, for his decades of engaged teaching, writing, artmaking and advocating for students. He has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2005), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (1991), and three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Awards (1982, 1985, and 1991). He is Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to non-traditional artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts. To learn more, visit our website at


Minnesota Center for Book Arts at Open Book

1011 Washington Ave S, First Floor 

Minneapolis MN 55415
Phone 612.215.2520 

Fax 612.215.2545