Book Fairs | March 12, 2013

Minsky Exhibition, 75 Dealers at Boston Book, Paper & Photo Expo

Bound to be provocative! 

Richard Minsky's Controversial “Bill of Rights” Exhibition Comes to the Boston Book, Paper & Photo Expo, May 4

Expo Also Features a Presentation on Tasha Tudor, and 75 Dealers of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Historic Documents & Ephemera 

Greater Boston’s largest exposition of rare books, manuscripts and vintage photos is the perfect setting for one of the most controversial and provocative exhibitions of our time!  When Richard Minsky married the time-honored skills of the bookbinder with pop art culture, the results were nothing short of spectacular.  He created a medium that was fresh and new—intriguing book art that not only combines craftsmanship with pointed commentary, but also reflects the artist’s own take on one of the most pressing issues of our time—the infringement of our rights!

Now his acclaimed  “Bill of Rights Exhibition”—a series of ten sculptural pieces, each devoted to one of the amendments—is coming to Boston, where it has found the ideal venue in the literary setting of the Boston Book, Paper & Photo Expo, May 4 at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass.  Sponsored by the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers and produced by Marvin Getman, founder of New England Antique Shows, the Boston Book, Paper & Photo Expo brings together 80 of the country’s finest dealers of rare books, manuscripts, ephemera and vintage photos.  Here, at this day-long celebration of the delights of book and paper collecting, is the complete exhibit that made headlines when it first debuted at the Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York City and later at Yale University. 

Showgoers will discover first-hand why Minsky has been hailed as one of today’s most innovative artists.  Using tabloid and news headlines, clippings and memorable images in book-bound form, Minsky has turned book art into a fine art form.  Minsky confesses to liking art that gives you a reality fix.  And, his Bill of Rights does just that!  

Each amendment is presented in both visual and verbal form.  For the First Amendment, granting freedoms of expression, the press, religion and assembly, a charred copy of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Rituals is encased in an arabesque windowed reliquary. For the Sixth, guaranteeing a speedy, public trial, a black leather glove dipped in red is affixed to a copy of Jeffery Toobin’s The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.

Minsky’s sense of humor is fluent in his work, especially in Amendment 8, Barring Cruel and Unusual Punishment, which displays a striped, rebound copy of Larry E. Sullivan’s book on Penology, Forlorn Hope: The Prison Reform Movement chained in to a small jail. “You can take it out for a little exercise”, said Minsky, “but then it must go back to its cell.” These carefully selected pieces are immersive, topical, and slightly ironic as Minksy nods toward the sometimes-faltering world in which we live with this progressive body of work. 

Minsky’s passion for book art began at the tender age of thirteen in Queens, NY, where he operated a letterpress print shop out of his home.  While attending Graduate School in Economics at Brown University, he was mentored by Daniel Gibson Knowlton, the University bookbinder, with whom he completed an independent study of hand bookbinding and repair. Later, while studying at the New School for Social Research, Minsky produced his first binding as a work of art.

His concept of “material as metaphor” blossomed, and in 1974 he established the non-profit Center For Book Arts, now at 28 West 27th Street in Manhattan -the first such organization in the United States and still the most influential.  Yale University and The Art Institute of Chicago are among the institutions that have acquired the Bill of Rights for their permanent rare books collections.  His work is also in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library, The White House, and Gracie Mansion. Minsky will give a presentation on his work at the Boston Book, Paper and Photo Expo.  It’s an event not to be missed.

Richard Mori on Tasha Tudor

Remember the fairy tales Mother read to us at bedtime, or the nursery rhymes she sang as we drifted off to sleep?  With the date of the Boston Book, Paper & Photo Expo falling on Saturday, the week before Mother’s Day, these wonderful reminders of our childhood will be available in both first and vintage editions -a perfect gift for Grandmothers who love reading to their grandchildren. 


One of the most celebrated illustrators of the twentieth century, who cherished family, tradition, and childhood enchantment is Tasha Tudor.    Book specialist, Richard Mori will give a presentation at the show on Tudor’s works, which include Little Women, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, and Mother Goose among many.  Born in Boston, Tasha lived in Connecticut and New Hampshire before settling in Marlboro, Vermont.  Her whimsical vision of rural New England has generated some of the most beloved fairy tales and images of her generation. 

Tudor once said she wish she’d been born in 1830, and evidently lived as if she had been.  Along with writing and illustrating, Tudor lived among heirloom antiques, spun flax into linen, and was an avid “heirloom crafter”, practicing candle dipping, weaving and soup making. Her illustrations have also appeared on Christmas cards, valentines, and advent calendars along the course of her eventful, seventy-year career. 

Tudor’s first story, Pumpkin Moonshine (1938), was gift for a young niece of her then husband, Thomas McCready.  Her work has received numerous awards and honors, including Caldecott Honors for Mother Goose, and the Regina Medal in 1971 for her contributions to children’s literature.   Don’t miss this special presentation, where Richard Mori will share his own experiences with the author and her family, revisit her works, and hold an appraisal of her books and art. 

Free Appraisals 

Want to know how much your favorite old book or paper item is worth?  Ken Gloss of the Brattle Book Shop will be on hand from 1-3pm to offer an estimate of value.  (Limit 2 items-free).  Show hours are Saturday May 4th, 9am-4pm.  Admission is $8 for adults (Under 18 and college I.D, free).  Shriner's Auditorium is located at 399 Fordham Rd, Wilmington, MA at exit 39 off I-93. For more information call 781-862-4039 or go to the website at