Minsky’s Special Edition in Patented Book Box Heads to Paris
Book artist and publisher Richard Minsky, long a friend and contributor to FB&C, has just announced his latest project: Catalin Valentin’s Lamb by photographer Rosalind Fox Solomon, printed in an edition of fifteen. The book tells the story behind Fox Solomon’s iconic photo of a woman nursing a lamb, as told by the artist’s journal entries and five additional images from her archive relating to the narrative. A print of “Catalin Valentin’s Lamb, Callejón de Conchucos, Ancash, Peru” appears on the book's cover, preserved for permanent display with seven coats of hand-rubbed lacquer applied in the Minsky studio.
What makes this edition so unique, however, is the new form of presentation. The book comes in a pop-up display box that Minsky invented during the pandemic and patented last year.
This is the first time Minsky has used his patented book box for an edition. He came up with the idea in response to the simple needs of librarians, curators, and collectors to display books aesthetically. He took the design a step further than the typical display stand. With a flick of the wrist, his structure doubles as permanent housing for the book, in an archival-grade binder’s board and book cloth box (or whatever a client wishes—Minsky has constructed boxes out of several materials, including walnut with brass hinges).
“As soon as I invented it, I put it up on Instagram … and got great feedback,” he said. “That day, I patented it.” He spent months working on the patent documentation and did the drawings himself. “If I can’t do a patent drawing, I’m not an artist!” Licensing the design to a manufacturer has proven to be complicated and time-consuming, but Minsky is considering offering small-scale licenses to artists to make them themselves.
Around the same time, he and Fox Solomon, who is in her nineties, got in touch and began talking about publishing this book, a project they had started to work on twenty years ago and then abandoned. “Everything I do is monumental, long-term projects,” Minsky said. “I’m not afraid of them.”
Fox Solomon’s photo had first been published—and caused a stir—in the Utne Reader in 1988. Known for portraits that examine relationships, rites, and survival, her work has been exhibited internationally for decades and can be found in the collection of more than fifty museums.
Further details and videos that show how the pop-up mechanism works are available on Minsky’s website.