Collection Highlights I: Collaborations

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It is rare to come across a publication that is not a collaboration of some sort. Editors help writers to shape their texts; designers direct page layout; colleagues compose introductions. The collaborations that we have in mind in organizing this exhibition, however, are ones in which various parties have conceptually partnered in order to create original content that forms, if not a single, unified entity, at the very least a packaged merger of shared and evolved aspirations. A project undertaken by multiple participants (painters or poets, calligraphers or critics) is often deemed experimental, or at least unusual. In any case, it is an opportunity for the juxtaposition of media or styles in ways that might not occur to or be possible for any single artist.

Within the fine arts, the book format seems especially welcoming of such collaboration. The book’s ability to perform as its own, compact container allows for it to facilitate unity in unique ways. The two dimensional page provides a venue for the melding of text and image forms; multiple sequential surfaces accommodate both static and temporal themes. Every turning of a page allows for a fresh development, while building on preceding experience and anticipating future turnings. Ultimately, each viewing of a piece results in a new collaboration, as individual readers appreciate and engage with the original collaborative project in their own manner.

Curated and designed by Anna Fishaut

Selected Works

The Microcosm of London, Rowlandson/Pugin/Pyne/Combe (1808-11) The Microcosm of London: or, London in Miniature
Illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin
Text by W. H. Pyne and William Combe
London: R. Ackerman, 1808-11
NC1479 .R8A1 M48 F V.1-3 ARTLCKM

This three-volume set of large-scale illustrated texts typifies a genre of nineteenth century British publishing dedicated to representing London in its architectural and popular specificities. The books’ publisher, Rudolph Ackermann, not only produced but commissioned them; his use of full-page, full-color lithography for this and other publications is considered quite innovative. Ackermann’s intention in hiring both Pugin and Rowlandson to illustrate was to capitalize upon each artist’s strengths. The result is a set of collaborative images: architecture (mostly interior) drawn by Pugin, a master of architectural illustration; the characters populating it drawn by Rowlandson, a noted caricaturist. The Microcosm of London was produced in a relatively small edition and was directed toward a middle-class, generally affluent urban audience. It was a counterpoint to more satirical and episodic collections such as Pierce Egan and George Cruikshank’s Life in London (1820) and a forerunner of much more bleak depictions of the city, such as Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold’s London: A Pilgrimage (1872).
Dlia Golosa, El Lissitzky (1923) Dlia Golosa [For the Voice]
Poetry by Vladimir Mayakovsky
Design by El Lissitzky
Berlin: R.S.F.S.R. gos. izd., 1923
PG3476 .M3 D57 1923 ARTLCKS

Dlia Golosa is the product of two of the 20th century’s great revolutionary artists, Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) and El Lissitzky (1890-1941). Mayakovsky, a poet, playwright, artist, and editor, and Lissitzky, a painter, designer, graphic artist, and architect, were leading figures of the Russian and, with the formation of the U.S.S.R. in 1922, the Soviet Avant-Garde. In the early 1920s these artists and writers were deeply motivated by the conviction that artists should enhance the material and intellectual needs of society, socialize the artistic process, and support the construction of a new social order.
The Sweet Flypaper of Life, Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes (1955) The Sweet Flypaper of Life
Photographs by Roy DeCarava
Text by Langston Hughes
New York, N.Y. : Simon and Schuster, c1955.
F128.9 .N3 D4 ARTLCKS

Trained as an artist, Roy DeCarava achieved some early success in serigraphy and like Ben Shahn took up the camera as a means to build up a body of imagery for his art work. By the later 1940s he began to concentrate on photography as his primary artistic mode, and in 1952 he became the first African-American photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. His application reads: "I want to photograph Harlem through the Negro people. Morning, noon, night, at work, going to work... talking, kidding... in the home, in the playground, in the schools... I do not want a documentary or sociological statement, I want a creative expression...."

In the summer of 1954 DeCarava showed this body of work to the eminent American poet, Langston Hughes, who was immediately enthusiastic. Using his contacts in publishing Hughes obtained a contract from Simon and Schuster, and in 1955 The Sweet Flypaper of Life appeared with 140 of DeCarava's photographs. The monologue of Hughes's fictional narrator, Sister Mary Bradley, who lived at 113 West 134th Street in Harlem, relates the trials and joys of her extended family. DeCarava’s photographs echo the social dimensions of the textual narrative. Combined, text and image create a powerful and complex commentary on issues of pride, family, racism, and the daily struggle that is life.
Der Egbert-Codex (10th century) Der Egbert-Codex [Codex Egberti]
Facsimile of tenth century manuscript
The Master of the Registrum Gregorii and other anonymous artists
Lucerne, Switzerland: Faksimile-Verlag Luzern, 2005
ND3359 .E35 E38 2005 ARTLCKM

The Codex’s text is an abridged and re-ordered presentation of the Gospels (a Pericope), meant to follow the liturgical cycle. The accompanying illustrations, depicting the Evangelists and scenes from the life of Christ, were completed by several artists, of which the Master of the Registrum Gregorii—who directed the manuscript’s production—is the most noted. Trier was, under Egbert’s leadership, an important center of manuscript production. Egbert’s passion for scholarship and the arts carried with it an interest in creating tangible ties between Trier and the foundations of Catholicism. The Master of the Registrum Gregorii’s stylistic references to Late Antique miniatures are, therefore, apt.

The Library’s facsimile of the Codex, produced in 2005, is number 279 of 980 copies. A commentary volume supplements the text.
Die Neue Stadt, Josef Luiptold [Stern] and Otto Rudolph Schatz (1927) Die Neue Stadt [The New City]
Poetry by Josef Luitpold [Stern]
Woodcuts by Otto Rudolph Schatz
Berlin: Verlag Büchergilde Gutenberg, 1927
PT2639 .T479 N48 1927 F ARTLCKL

Following closely after Expressionism, Neue Sachlichkeit [New Objectivity] emerged in Germany as a loose association of artistic sentiments promulgated by painters and illustrators, as well as photographers, architects, and writers. Although manifestations of this “style” vary, it can be typified by its emphasis on realism vs. abstraction or romanticism, its utilization of pre-machine age techniques and genres, and its comparatively sober reaction—explicit or implied—to the tumultuous political events of the post-WWI Weimar era.

Die Neue Stadt is both a representation of New Objectivity’s articulation in Austria and a demonstration of Expressionism’s continuing aesthetic influence there. The text is steeped in the ideals of social democracy, a relatively moderate political ideology popular in Germany, Austria, and elsewhere before and after World War I. The poem takes the form of a modern psalm; Luitpold Stern believed that the political and social rebirth he envisioned for Vienna could be encompassing and transcendent. Otto Rudolf Schatz’s illustrations reiterate this optimistic social bent, representing as they do citizens undertaking symbolic activities of reconstruction, collective study, and political assembly. The images’ appearance, however, is more typically Expressionist, echoing the work of German printmakers such as Erich Heckel, Gerhard Marcks, and Conrad Felixmüller.

Additional Works

955,000: An Exhibition
The Vancouver Art Gallery, January 13 to February 8, 1970
Organized by Lucy Lippard
Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1970
N6494 .C63 N56 1970 ARTLCKS

Barakei [Killed by Roses]
Photography by Eikoh Hosoe
Model and introduction by Yukio Mishima
Book design by Kohei Sugiura
Tokyo: Shueisha, 1963
TR654 .H67 1963 ARTLCKL

1¢ Life
Edited by Sam Francis
Poetry by Walasse Ting
Bern, Switzerland: E. W. Kornfeld, 1964

Watch Your Step
Text and binding by Fred Rinne
Photography and design by Dana Smith
Stencil and setting by Scott Williams
San Francisco: F. Rinne, D. Smith, and S. Williams;
Brooklyn, NY: Distributed by Booklyn Artists Alliance, 2007
N7433.4 .R55 W38 2007 F ARTLCKL

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