Hands On shot at rare artists’ books
By Kathleen Maclay
23 January 2018
Image: Artist Rae Trujillo says she photographed Berlin’s abandoned bicycles, which she viewed as art installations. Berlin Bicycles is part of Hands On 11.
On Friday, January 26, the Environmental Design Library will host Hands On 11, a reception to showcase unique books that have become works of art. The event will take place from 4-6 pm, in 210 Wurster Hall.
The 26 books on display have been gathered from the library's archive of nearly 300 artists’ books, which were purchased with a special endowment.
The items are a visually interesting and unconventional interpretation of traditional books. Unlike early versions of this exhibit, patrons are able to tangibly hold and touch the books, rather than simply viewing them through glass.
Inspiration for the 11th annual event comes from California pop/conceptual artist Ed Ruscha’s “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” (1963) and its black-and-white photographs of fueling stations along Route 66.
Lauri Twitchell, manager of the College of Environmental Design’s Blake Garden landscape laboratory, said Ruscha has inspired her and many other artists to think about books in a more conceptual way.
“Books can be no longer just about fiction or nonfiction, but also can be thought about as a series of images, sculptures or just handheld interactive objects,” she said.
Molly Rose, the Environmental Design Library circulation supervisor and reserves coordinator, said she does not have a strong favorite in Friday’s lineup, but leans toward “Roadkill.”
“When you first open it, you think it might be about animals as roadkill,” Rose said. “But instead it’s a juxtaposition of quotes from people about their cars versus images and statistics showing the impact of driving on the environment.”
“We keep it casual and fun,” said librarian David Eifler, noting that in addition to being able to view the specialty books temporarily on loan from CED’s rare books room, of-age visitors will be treated to wine, cheese and crackers.
Read more about the event here.