What Books Do Better: 25th Annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium

Friday, November 8, 2019
8:45 am–5 pm
Alexander Library


Michael Joseph

The twenty-fifth annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, What Books Do Better, will consider the proposition that books have inherent value—whether considered as intellectual, aesthetic, historical, legal or commercial objects. In the library world, the book is generally perceived to have diminishing value. As a receptacle of information, or aid to teaching and research, the book is inferior to searchable electronic texts and data files. A librarian speaking on behalf of artists’ books might argue that they inspire viewers and readers alike, or that they communicate suprarational truths: they engage the mind in various ways that are at least as important to the educational process as the workaday absorption and manipulation of information. But, of course, artists think about the books in other ways, and an artist might express the point of view that books are superior to paintings or sculpture or prints for a number of reasons—and then list what those reasons are.

She or he might consider what characteristics are unique to the artists’ book, or in what ways artists’ books conduce specific aesthetic experiences, or facilitate unique understandings; S/he might point out the varied nuanced ways artists’ books represent the human experience that other artistic media do not. In What Books Do Better, we are planning to investigate many valid personal responses to these questions, and perhaps uncover generalizations that affirm the value and necessity—the being—of the book.

Schedule of Events

Time Event
8:45 a.m. Coffee and Registration
9:00 a.m. Workshops
10:00 a.m. Greetings and Welcome
10:40 a.m. Artists’ Presentations I
Karen Guancione, Introductions
12–2:00 p.m. Lunch
1:30– 2:00 p.m. Readings from Artists' Books
2:00 p.m. Open Mic
Announcements from the floor
2:20 p.m. Artists’ Presentations II
3:30 p.m. Judith K. Brodsky, Respondent
3:45 p.m. Book Artists’ Jam

The featured artists for What Books Do Better will be: Ioulia Akhmadeeva, a Russian-Mexican visual artist, teacher and researcher, with a Ph.D from the National Pedagogical University of Moscow (2008), who since 2001 has been part of the Popular Faculty of Fine Arts of the Michoacana University San Nicolas de Hidalgo (Morela, Michoacan) Maureen Cummins, who for the past fifteen years has been a book artist engaged with “found printed matter”: Patricia Dahlman, a Cincinnati-born artist, recipient of New Jersey Printmaking Fellowship from the Brodsky Center for Innovative Print and Paper, and part of the Dana Women Artists Series; Helen Donis-Keller, Michael E. Moody Professor and Professor of Biology and Art at Olin College of Engineering currently researching the genomic structure and function of viruses of soil bacteria, one of the driving forces behind her artists’ books; Jaz Graf, an artist who works with paper and print, incorporating printmaking techniques, digital imaging and experimental bookbinding methods, as well as manipulating plant fibers, textiles and wire; Suzie Tuchman, a recent graduate of the Montclair State MFA program who works in sculpture, printmaking. papermaking and book arts; and Maria Veronica San Martin, a Chilean-born, New York-based artist working in printmaking, artist books, installations, sculpture, and performance art.

Kim Bridgford and Jo Yarrington will read from their collaborative works during the lunchtime seminar. Kim is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. She is also the editor of Mezzo Cammin. Jo creates site-specific exhibitions, public art commissions and collaborative projects using varied combinations of glass, waxed surfaces, found objects and experimental analog photography. Since 2013 she has explored the history of the nuclear industry and the toxic nature of uranium through site referential installations. NJBAS instructors Shellie Jacobson and Catherine LeCleire will present workshops prior to the formal program Asha Ganpat will return as artist-in-residence; the exhibition will once again be curated by NJBAS curator, Amanda J. Thackray, Karen Guancione, our artistic director, will introduce the artists and serve as Symposium moderator, Judith K. Brodsky will be the Respondent, and Anna Pinto, the NJBAS Scribe, will produce calligraphic nametags for all attendees. As usual, there will be a book artists’ jam open to all immediately following the formal program.

Registration deadline – November 4, 2019

Registration fee – $45
(Includes catered lunch)
Rutgers faculty and staff –$15

Return registration form and payment:
Jill Morrow
James Dickson Carr Library Administration
75 Avenue E, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8040

Checks should be payable to:  
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Archibald S. Alexander Library
169 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Alexander Library is located at Rutgers University–New Brunswick in central New Jersey and is easily accessible by car and rail (New Brunswick train station).

Register for free parking here.

For more information on directions or parking, please call Michael Joseph at 848-932-6163 or email mjoseph@rutgers.edu.

Image credit: Maureen Cummins, from AlieNation / SepaRation.

Alexander Library