If you are a student of the book and paper arts, a practicing book and paper artist, an instructor in the book and paper arts, or a librarian/curator of book arts collections, the College Book Art Association (CBAA) is an organization that you will want to be a part of. Since its founding in 2008, this growing organization has had two annual meetings at the University of Arizona in Phoenix and the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland and two large conferences at the University of Iowa and Indiana University. Another large conference is slated for next January in the San Francisco Bay Area and in 2013, the annual meeting will be held at Yale.
CBAA’s mission is to support and promote academic book arts education by fostering the development of its practice, teaching, scholarship, and criticism. Conferences such as the recent one held at Indiana University January 13 – 16 attest to the growing interest in the book arts in a variety of academic institutions.
At this year’s conference there were 48 sessions to choose from, numerous behind the scenes tours of rare book and museum collections as well as campus studios. Hands-on workshops in intaglio, letterpress, collograph and paper dyeing were also included.
A juried members’ exhibition of artists’ books was held in the University gallery, highlighting the broad spectrum of contemporary work in the book and paper arts.
Here is just a sampling of some of the session topics: Book Studies and the Liberal Arts; Embodying Bookness: Reading as Material Act; Ways of Knowing: Book Arts Across the Curriculum; Codex as Canvas: the Artist Altered Book; The Library in Art[‘s Crosshairs]; Scrapbooks of John Ruskin: Stranger than Fiction; Dé-Coll/Age: Bulletin Aktueller Ideen; Work from Home: Gaylord Shanilec’s Pastoral Wunderkammern; Vander-Mation: Letterpress Printing, Calligraphy and Animation; Cross-Media Iterations of a Single Text; Rice Boy Sleeps: Artists’ Books Meet the Web; Collaboration as Impetus; Book Installation Book; The Dot and the Line; The Persistence of Hand-Making: Sustaining the Book within the Academic Arena; Asa Beneviste and the Trigram Press; Margin Arts: Haiku and Artists’ Books in the West; Poetry Made Visible: Tom Phillips and Dante Alighieri; Librarians and Pedagogy; Contemporary Bookmaking in the Middle East/North Africa; From Palm Leaf to Book; Views of Los Angeles: Ed Ruscha’s Book Works; Updating the Artists’ Publication- 1960 to 2010; The Book in Public. For abstracts of these and more, see the CBAA website under conferences.
One of the many highlights of the conference was keynote speaker Ann Hamilton. Showing still and moving images of her work, Ms. Hamilton gave us a generous taste of the depth and integrity of her public art projects, many of which involve language, the voice, and reading. Memorable quotes from her presentation: “Reading stills the mind…it is sensory without leaving a mark on you” “My voice is in my hand” “Making is an act of finding” She talked at length about her project at the Venice Biennale, installations at the Seattle Public Library, the felted floor tiles in the Brown University Humanities Center, the kinetic installation at the Guggenheim in New York and the most recent cork floor installation at the Ohio State Library. Her walking meditation boat in Laos is a piece that goes on and has another life of its own. The double helix tower in Geyserville, CA has also been used for numerous performances since it was built. And her Stylus installation at the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis invites anyone to participate. During her presentation she called in to the project and the audience sent a real-time spoken message which instantly became part of the piece.
posted by Laurie Whitehill Chong