Art on Paper has teamed up with the Center for Book Arts (CBA) to introduce the Booksmart Fair, an artists’ book event at the forefront of this year’s Art on Paper. For the debut, CBA has called upon eight institutions to showcase a handpicked selection of artists’ books from tangible physical items to conceptual works. The event will be held from September 7 to 10, 2023.
Booksmart Fair To Debut at Art on Paper
The list of participants includes the MoMA Library Council, Center for Book Arts, Women’s Studio Workshop, Dieu Donné, Visual Studies Workshop, Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective, CODEX Foundation, and 10×10 Photobooks.
Since its inception in 1974, the Center for Book Arts has supported the exploration of the book as a work of art. As the oldest non-profit of its kind, it is committed to enhancing book arts through education, art-making, exhibition, conservation, and community building.
The Highlights of the Fair
The Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective is set to display Deep Time, a piece by Rhada Pandey. This artwork beautifully captures Scottish geologist James Hutton’s notion of deep time. Housed in a protective clamshell casing, Deep Time is composed of nineteen 4 x 6 inch separate sheets, each tinted with indigo at the base symbolizing water and cloves at the top representing soil. The pages are adorned with cut-outs that depict Earth’s three tallest geographical locations: the Tibetan Plateau, the Kanza’gyal range, and the Andes Mountains.
MoMA Library Council will showcase Charles LeDray’s “Book Ends,” a collection of scaled-down replicas of used books. These pieces are condensed, summarized, and modified renditions of several used books LeDray came across on New York streets, in secondhand stores, or in yard sales. Some are from his personal library. This set of 18 titles, which includes “Caleb, Who Is Hotter Than a $2 Pistol” (1975), “I Saphho of Lesbos, Autobiography of a Strange Woman” (1960), “Our National Calamity of Fire, Flood and Tornado” (1913), unveil the diverse narratives and delicate dreams of a bygone era. Through LeDray’s skillfully crafted pieces that bear the traces of the flow of time, the exhibition sheds light on the travels of these books across the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Visual Studies Workshop Press will present a previously sold-out book titled “African Americans, Civil Rights, Jesse Owens,” authored by Amanda Chestnut. A single copy of the book will be made available for purchase at the fair. A few years ago, artist Amanda Chestnut led research at the Visual Studies Workshop’s Soibelman Syndicate News Agency Archives. She observed a distinct contrast in how photographs of Black individuals were treated in comparison to images of non-Black subjects. During Chestnut’s 2020 residency at VSW’s Project Space, they collaborated to release this outstanding archive/book. It powerfully repositions the perspective on Black photographic subjects and addresses numerous personal experiences where the Black artist and her family were made to feel like outsiders throughout much of their lives.