The Printed Page
February 21 - April 5, 2014
The exhibition features a broad range of both wall-works and book works that utilize hand-printed elements in their production. The works in the exhibition were selected by juror's Jessy Randall and Aaron Cohick.
I’m the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College, and I sometimes teach a course called The History and Future of the Book. One of the questions we ask in that class, over and over, is: what is a book? Jurying the Abecedarian show made me ask that question in a new way. I didn’t have to think about how something would be useful in teaching, or whether it would fit on a bookshelf, or how I would preserve it long-term; I could simply respond to the work of art as a viewer and a reader. This turned out to be a lot of fun, especially because I co-juried with Aaron Cohick, Printer at the Press at Colorado College, and got to see how he thinks about books and book arts. Frequently, he pointed out something in a work that I wouldn’t have seen on my own, like inking or stamping techniques. I found something to appreciate in everything submitted to the exhibition and was sorry we couldn’t choose it all. The show we put together is, perhaps, a visual representation of the difficulty of defining bookness and the blurriness of the line between book and not a book.
Jessy & I had to consider the book-ness of the books and the broadside-ness of the broadsides (what makes a print a broadside?). We also had to take into account the printed-ness of their printing: how and why were these pieces printed? Does the printing play a critical role in determining the aesthetic and content of the piece? Ultimately our decisions about what to include covered a wide range of approaches to both form and content: from traditional “fine printing” to dirty “make-it-happen-printing,” text-based books & broadsides and image-based books & broadsides, book books and sculptural books, political books and personal books. Each of the selected pieces possesses a coherence as a whole, printed object, a complete and engaging work of art.