Online Exhibit: Affinities: Artists in the Libraries

11/20/2020 7:33 AM | Anonymous

Visit the online exhibit of artists’ books co-sponsored by Artists Book House and the Caxton Club.

What seems like a long time ago now, we had hoped to have a real live show of artists’ books.

The Caxton Club, which is 125 years old this very year, celebrates artists’ books every November. The Caxton Club has given more than $100,000 in grant money to book artists since 2002. This year we had hoped to bring together artists whose work we have supported, as well as the work of artists we admire, in a show in Chicago. Artists Book House, which isn’t even yet 125 weeks old wanted to join us in this celebration. But we all know what happened next.

So. Here we are. Like so much of the world, meeting up online. In this case it hasn’t been entirely a bad thing. We’ve been able to connect with artists whose work we didn’t know as well as with those we have long admired. We hope you, too, enjoy seeing their work.

The Caxton Club’s November 18th, 2020 Panel Discussion — “Artists’ Books, The Institutional Perspective” — featured Anne Everhaugen of the Smithsonian Library, Ruth Rogers of Wellesley College, and Jill Gage, Curator of the Wing Collection at the Newberry Library.

In this companion show, we see what these curators look for in their collections. Anne Evenhaugen sees artists’ books as a part of the Smithsonian’s mandate to tell “the American story through art,” and the artists’ books there are a part of the art that “infuses all parts of the Smithsonian Institutions.” Ruth Rogers builds the Wellesley Collection to show that “artists’ books are not separate from earlier forms of the book, but relatives in a long evolutionary line. A conversation across centuries on the page.” Jill Gage hopes that “people ten, twenty, fifty years ahead to be able to look back at the Wing Collection and see the high points of American fine press, book arts, and printing.”

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