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About Laura Graveline

Visual Arts Librarian, Dartmouth College

hueso

This small book is handset and letter press printed, bound with the traditional woven indigo skirt fabric of Mayan women in Guatemala. It is a book of poetry by Caly Domitila Kanek, an indigenous author, who wrote the dark and powerful poems about the internal war in Guatemala. When the book was published in 1996, few were ready to read about the war, especially from an indigenous woman’s perspective. Printed in Spanish, Cachikel, and English, the publisher Libros San Cristobal in Guatemala was brave to print this important, and beautiful book.

From the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, PQ7499.2.G214 H8 1996

The Armory Show was the first, and, ultimately, the only exhibition organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors.  Officially titled The International Exhibition of Modern Art, the exhibition started in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to the Copley Art Society in Boston.Armory Show  New York  1913  cover (3)

The show became perhaps the most important event in the history of American art.  American audiences who were accustomed to more realistic or sentimental art, were introduced to cutting edge European artists work, including Fauvists, Cubists, and Futurists.   Reviews of the exhibition accused the art of inciting everything from anarchy to insanity.  Works like Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, created a shock among viewers, and caused many American artists to question the boundaries of what art could be.  Many art historians consider the exhibition to have been the turning point that encouraged American artists to become more avant-garde.

The Art Special Collection holds a fine copy of the original catalog of the show, made more interesting by the discreet comments penciled by some of the American art entries by “Abbot”, the original owner of the catalog.  You can view the catalog, N6448.A74 A3 1913, as well as the Association's published response to the exhibition, For and Against: Views on the International Exhibition held in New York & Chicago, N5015.A8 A8 1913, in the Sherman Art Library.

grumpies

This wonderful little book is a one of a kind piece made by artist Aimee Lee.  She often works with fiber and handwoven paper, and a grumpy mood inspired both the design of the book, and the poem printed inside.  The pages the poem are printed on slips of handmade paper, and attached to pages knitted with yarn made from pine wood, and dyed with calligraphy ink.  The sewing of the handmade paper cover was left purposely raised and visible to contribute to the rough feel of the book and poem, an excerpt of which is printed below:

The morning deer venture out
And cheer you

As does the message from a friend:
She woke up grumpy, too

This book can be found in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, N7433.4 L44 G78 2010

Flexagon
A wonderful example of a flexagon, is found in Vermont artist Carolyn Shattuck’s The quilts of Gee’s Bend, V.2. To be more precise, this is a flexagon book, a movable structure made up of 6 tetrahedons. This creates a kinetic structure that allows the user to manipulate and display the book in multiple, unexpected ways.

This is the second book Carolyn Shattuck created, that was inspired by the beautiful and unusual patterns found in quilts created in the rural African American community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The unknown artists who created the original quilts developed unique designs that are exceptionally vibrant, and this handmade book, #8 in edition of 25, was designed by Shattuck as a tribute to the artists who designed the original quilts. It can be found in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, call #N7433.4 S417 G34 2011.

The American Art-Union was founded in 1844 in New York City, with the aim of promoting the fine arts through its publication, which was available as membership subscription, and eventually through its art gallery, which was free and open to everyone.

Inspired by European models, the membership subscription entitled members to receive the annals and transactions, including prints and engravings of famous works, as well as an opportunity to participate in an annual lottery for a painting by a well-known American artist.  

The original aim was to focus on art that had an American character or appeal, and images of the American landscape and country life predominated. The American Art-Union also endeavored to provide artwork that represented all of America without a regional bias.  As this was the era of abolition, a politically charged atmosphere reigned over all public spheres, and it seems as though their aim to be unbiased created a bias.  Eventually, the union became embroiled in anti-abolitionist politics and was accused of running an illegal lottery, which led to its downfall.

However, the union had inspired other American cities to develop their own art unions, and the free and open to the public art gallery changed the greater public perception of art for the masses.  Few scholarly monographs have been published on the American Art-Union until Perfectly American was published in 2011, presenting new scholarship on this important aspect of American art history.  This volume can be found in the Sherman Art Library, N6510 .P47 2011.book  

In addition, an original volume of the Transactions of the American Art-Union is available in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, 700.51 A5122T  1845; 1849.   All issues of the Transactions of the American Art-Union, as well as the Bulletin of the American Art-Union, are freely available from JSTOR’s Early Journal Content:

http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=tranamerartunio

http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=bullamerartunio

book
This beautiful handmade artist’s book, created by artist Jill Timm, is illustrated with exquisite Chinese rice paper cutouts of horses, attached to thick, paper covered boards. The boards are hinged to create a double sided, accordion fold book, accompanied with a poem by Bonnie Lewis.

Jill resides in Washington state, and her books can be found in libraries and art collections around the world. This book was a special limited edition of 6, and you can find it and more examples of Jill’s work in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection: http://bit.ly/14V2YFP