Today I am highlighting some of our newest artists’ book additions to our collection.
Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell
First up, we have two new acquisitions from book artist Ginger R. Burrell.
Earth Clock, Burrell’s limited edition 2017 creation, is an investigation into the history of climate change. “Earth Clock is meant as both an educational tool and a call to action. To create both a sense of urgency and the beginning of understanding. To present both facts and a sense of the long history of our avoidance and denial.” (Lux Mentis Booksellers catalog)
Nineteen magnetized flaps corresponding to years from 1800 to 2015 lift to display facts about national and international events relating to climate and the environment, such as the first Earth Day in 1970 and the creation of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or 1995 when the Antarctic ice shelves begin to break apart.
“Earth Clock features custom electronics designed to create a visceral response and to compel the viewer to act. LEDs animate based on what happened each year in Climate Change history. The number display registers the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in a given year.” (Lux Mentis Booksellers catalog)
Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell
Also from Ginger Burrell, Giftschrank is another 2017 piece created in a limited edition of 12, housed in an original wooden box and bound in a molded cover of razor blades suspended in thick enamel.
The title page defines Giftschrank:
Gift (Poison) + Shrank (Cabinet)
- Spaces reserved for undesirable, uncomfortable or forbidden objects, ideas or subjects.
- Something society avoids at all costs.
The colophon cites the inspiration for this work as the podcast 99% Invisible, episode 203 ”The Giftschrank”.
The/rapist by Maureen Cummins
The prospectus for artist Maureen Cummins’s new 2017 work The/rapist describes the historic and political inspiration for this work:
“The/rapist is an investigation into the gendered history of psychosurgery, as illustrated by the career of Doctor Walter Freeman (1895-1972). A Professor of Neurology with no formal training in either surgery or psychology, Freeman popularized the pre-frontal lobotomy, an operation in which nerve connections to and from the frontal lobes—the seat of human emotion, creativity, willpower, and imagination—are severed.”
“It is a history that raises numerous and disturbing questions about patients’ rights, the abuse of institutional power, and the disproportionate targeting of women.”
The physical object of this work reflects the inspiration:
“Constructed entirely out of aluminum, The/rapist is inspired by the cold, hard surfaces of medical clipboards and equipment, as well as by Freeman’s actual tools, viewed by the artist in the Freeman/Watts collection at GWU, where she conducted her initial research. Pages of the book are laser-cut, burnished on one side, printed with multiple layers of text and imagery, “dimpled” to prevent scratching and wear, then mounted within rings to a sturdy baseboard. The text is printed in Frutiger, a classic mid-century sans-serif typeface. Images reproduced in the book are 19th century engravings, handwritten notes and text, as well as graphs and headshots from Freeman’s 1950 textbook Psychosurgery: In the Treatment of Mental Disorders and Intractable Pain. The book is housed in a burnished aluminum box with a screwed-down aluminum title plate.” (Aside of Books, retrieved 12/8/17)
The Book of Penumbra by Gabrielle Cooksey
We have also acquired a 2016 work by book artist Gabrielle Cooksey: The Book of Penumbra: Deadly Myths Retold – A book of small stories of death gods from around the world. This piece is hand bound in an accordion case binding and a hinged painted black box with gold foil tooling.
Cooksey describes this work: “Death has always fascinated me because it happens to all of us yet no one talks about it. I wanted to see what other cultures personified death as through myths and legends. The gods in this book are very hushed and for some, even if you speak the name, you’ll be cursed. I wanted this book to be shadows, to be played in the light. I chose a delicate paper so one could see through to the page behind it. The text is in all sorts of shapes because I wanted each story to represent the god being told about. For instance, Sedna is in the shape of drowning, Anubis is his eye, Mac is a pit with someone at the bottom. The borders are all plants, roots, and things found on the earth. Some represent death like the poppy, and the yew tree.” (Author’s website, retrieved 12/8/17)
“I design books in a peculiar and unexpected way that makes it enticing to hold/open. I think of my books as art that you can use.” –Gabrielle Cooksey (Author’s website, retrieved 12/8/17)