Events | October 13, 2010

Book Artist Werner Pfeiffer at Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. (Oct. 12, 2010) - Cornell University Library is hosting an exhibition of provocative work by artist Werner Pfeiffer, who is celebrated for his insightful examination of the role of physical books in the modern age.

Pfeiffer will open the exhibition with a lecture and demonstration, “Reexamining the Book: Making Book-Objects and Artist Books,” on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. in Olin Library’s Libe Café on the Cornell campus. A reception will follow from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections’ Hirshland Gallery, Level 2B, Carl A. Kroch Library.

Born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1937, Pfeiffer has lived in the United States since 1969. His books, collages, drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures have been shown internationally in nearly 200 group and solo exhibitions.

During the lecture, Pfeiffer will discuss his work, the censorship of books, and how the electronic environment has influenced the resurgence of the handmade book. He will also recreate one of his most well-known pieces, which he created to honor the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The six-foot-tall, three-dimensional book “Out of the Sky” contains a sculptural component of seven woodcut segments in an urn, and Pfeiffer assembles it during his talk.

“Pfeiffer uses a mix of media to challenge us to think about books in new ways, as art forms as well as communication tools,” said Anne R. Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian.  “His work asks people to consider books as artifacts, especially in the age of digital advancement, and his ideas can serve as a springboard to the discussion of the role of the book in contemporary society.”

Both the exhibition and opening reception are made possible through the Stephen E. and Evalyn Edwards Milman Exhibition Fund, a recent gift to the Library. This is the first library exhibition fully funded solely through the Milman family’s generous endowment. The traveling exhibition, which is jointly sponsored by Cornell’s Department of Art, will run through February 2011. Previously, it appeared at Smith College, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto.

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