|William J. Dane|
The afternoon program began with a feature planned but never implemented for previous symposia, called Open Mike, which allowed attendees to make announcements and speak briefly on whatever they wanted--upcoming shows, conferences, openings--new books, or websites, or speak out on issues of social and political importance. Richard Minsky announced his recent publication of 1984, and exhorted the members of the audience not to meekly submit to the dismantling of their civil liberties. Then, William J. Dane (Newark Public Library, Keeper of Manuscripts and Prints) exhibited a small collection of bibliographic treasures from the Newark Public Library. As has been his custom, Bill had an eclectic mix of materials to show, and entertained the audience with his wit and erudition. Some of his books were a 13th century illuminated French manuscript leaf, a leaf of Gutenberg's 42-line Bible (ca. 1455), a fabric book by New Jersey book artist Lois Morrison (whose work appears in the New York Public Library exhibition "Ninety from the Nineties," -- see the interesting Bookarts-L discussion about the show), a one of a kind resin book by Stella Waitzkin, who passed away at her home in the Chelsea Hotel in October, 2003. Stella was a friend of the Symposium and a presenter at Collaboration and the Book Arts: Bringing Things To A Pretty Pass. Mr. Dane also includes trade books in his collection (just as Dr. Sackner). Describing one new addition to the NPL's "illustrated book collection" encased in "a sort of virginal hard cover . . . and that's a clue to the author," Mr. Dane made the audience laugh by unveiling a copy of The English Roses, the first of putative children's books by the singer-actress, Madonna. Mr. Dane dispelled any suspicion that he was taking the mutli-millionaire entertainer lightly by wishing her "good luck in your new endeavor, Madonna!" The piece that created the biggest stir was a one-off by New Jersey book artist Rocco Scary (see The INTERNATIONAL New Jersey Book Arts Symposium), a sculptural architectural book modeled upon a local 1930s insurance company building, which Bill said he and his colleagues tend to call "Memento of Washington Park," because it includes photographs (artificially aged) of the architecture facing the park. Happily, Mr. Scary was on hand to dismantle and exhibit the book while Mr. Dane described the pieces (leaves) and photographs. During an animated Q. and A., someone (obviously someone who knew) asked Rocco if he had given the book a dedication. Indeed he had, which (as Mr. Dane laughed quietly), Mr. Scary read aloud:
"To William J. Dane of the Newark Public Library. Thank you for believing in the artists' book."After generously allowing Mr. Scary to discuss his book, Mr. Dane then, in keeping with custom, introduced the bill of the featured artists, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Mary Olive Stone, Liz Mitchell and Gordon Murray.
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