More Than Words: Artists’ Books and Book Art From the Special Collections of the Newark Public Library

More Than Words: Artists’ Books and Book Art From the Special Collections of the Newark Public Library

man's_shoe_in_box October 7, 2008 – January 4, 2009 Main Library – Third Floor
5 Washington Street
Newark, NJ

Curated by Jared Ash, Librarian, Special Collections Division, Newark Public Library

More Than Words: Artists’ Books and Book Art From the Special Collections of the Newark Public Library will be on view on the third-floor gallery from October 7, 2008 through January 4, 2009. The exhibition traces the trajectory of artists’ book and book art movements from their origins among European avant-garde factions in the early 20th century, to the continued celebration of “the book as art” from the late 1960s to the present by artists such as: Maureen Cummins, Ed Hutchins, Allan Kaprow, Bruno Munari, Louise Neaderland, Kevin Osborn, Ámbar Past, Dieter Roth, Ed Ruscha, Clarissa Sligh, Bisa Washington, and Emmett Williams, among others.

flag_painted_on_book_pages painted_slogans

The show supports the concept of “the book as art.” It includes books that are “bound” in tin cans, papier-mâché rabbits, and functioning ukuleles. Other examples have text printed on sandpaper, metal, or plastic, or are simply photocopied and stapled.

man_selling_cotton_candy lightning_hitting_woman's_shoe

Often self-published or self-printed, artists’ books emerged as a way of subverting officially sanctioned channels of production and distribution, and continue to challenge established conventions of book design, structure, material composition, and content. Historically, the medium has given voice to minority and marginalized populations and individuals whose messages are considered too unconventional, controversial, or financially unprofitable to elicit interest from publishers.

circle_of_chairs ukele_and_book

Since the late-1960s, conceptual and visual artists have embraced the book as a means to make their work accessible and affordable to a larger population.

Themed programs and events for all ages will be presented during the run of the exhibition, including a Family Book Arts Day on December 13; curator-led tours of the show; and a November 12 screening of Proceed and Be Bold, a documentary about the life and work of Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., a contemporary book artist and letterpress printer known internationally for his focus on themes of African and African-American heritage.

quilt_block_with_text mask

More Than Words is curated by Jared Ash, Librarian, Special Collections Division, and organized in conjunction with RESISTANCE!, the Fourteenth Annual New Jersey Book Arts Exhibition and Symposium, to be held at the John Cotton Dana Library at Rutgers University in Newark on November 7.

For more information about the exhibition or related events, please call Jared Ash at 973-733-7745, or email him at