Category Archives: Artists’ books

Artists’ books

Cuerpos Blandos

In October 1969, the Chilean sculptor Juan Pablo Langlois converted Santiago’s National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA) into “en objeto de la primera intervención artística de carácter público” [the object of the first artistic intervention of a public nature]. The work consisted of a large nylon sleeve filled with diaries, which began on the second floor, circled through the balcony, descended the staircase, and exited through a window, where it was tied to one of the palm trees in the front yard.

Forty years later, this seminal Chilean work of conceptual art was recreated on the second floor of the MNBA and a facsimile edition of the exhibition catalogue was published with drawings and photographs documenting the project. Thanks to the support of the Program in Latin American Studies, we are fortunate to acquire the rare, limited edition re-publication.

According to the curator Ramón Castillo, the re-assembly of “Cuerpos Blandos” has a double meaning. “On the one hand, it is an exercise that activates in memory a key moment for contemporary Chilean art and, at the same time, points to an artist who turns his work into a collective action, since Langlois will receive the contribution of the public and the collaboration of art students for its execution, as well as allowing the public to appreciate the execution and installation process.”

“The Chilean sculptor, installer, and visual artist was born in Santiago on February 26, 1936. Between 1952 and 1962 he studied architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and at the Catholic University of Valparaíso. He receives the influence of Joseph Albers, professor of the Bauhaus in a course of six months that the professor dictates in Chile. His first visual works are closely related to his training as an architect and consist of two-dimensional research on optical art.

At the end of the sixties, he abandoned this tendency to develop a conceptual work made of paper, cardboard and wood, where he emphasized the critical reflection of Chilean society. Finally, Langlois abandons in a radical way the use of traditional elements of art to openly inaugurate the practice of installation in Chile. Since 1969, his work has been exhibited on several occasions in the National Museum of Fine Arts, as well as in other galleries and museums in Chile and abroad. He has received distinctions such as the Third Prize at the VIII International Art Biennial of Valparaíso in 1987 and the Gunther Prize of Santiago in 1995, among others.”–

For more about Langlois:

Juan Pablo Langlois (born 1936), Cuerpos blandos [facsimile]. 21st edition ([Santiago, Chile]: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, [2017]). Catálogo de exposición de arte. Purchased by the Program in Latin American Studies. Copy 18 of 21. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process.


See also: Juan Pablo Langlois Vicuña, De Langlois a Vicuña (Santiago de Chile : AFA Editions, 2009). Summary note: Book devoted to sculptor and installation and visual artist Juan Pablo Langlois Vicuña (b. Chile 1936), considered by many as the “Father of Contemporary Art in Chile”. Conceived as a “document of artist”, the exhaustive work presents his extraordinary and diverse art production (installations, paper sculptures, collages, etc.) from 1969-2008, a chronology of his 39 exhibitions, his artist’s books and his thoughts about art. Includes and interview and a theoretical text. Marquand Library (SA) N7433.4.L363 A4 2009

Cuerpos Blandos – Juan Pablo Langlois (2007) from pedro l. talarico on Vimeo.

Juan Pablo Langlois:
A propósito de Cuerpos Blandos (1/3)

First class of the new year.

Romano Hanni, Werner Pfeiffer, Enrique Chagoya


We are beginning the new 2017/2018 academic year with a visit from VIS 214, Graphic Design with Francesca Grassi. The students were shown wonderful book arts, old and new, high and low, rare and well-known.

“This studio course will introduce students to the essential aspects and skills of graphic design, and will analyze and discuss the increasingly vital role that non-verbal, graphic information plays in all areas of professional life, from fine art and book design to social networking and the Internet.

Students in the course will explore visual organization through a series of focused, interrelated assignments dealing with composition, page layout, type design, and image. Hands on production will include an array of do-it-yourself printing and distribution technologies, from letterpress and mimeograph to photocopying and websites.”

Sign painter’s sample album, Alfred Jarry


Olafur Eliasson, Bruno Munari, Henry Wessells, Kenneth Josephson, Sol Lewitt


Warja Honegger-Lavater, Yoji Kuri, German baptismal certificate


Francesca Grassi, Lecturer in Visual Arts, is a New York-based independent graphic designer and creative director. After graduating in 2007 with an MFA in graphic design and typography from the Werkplaats Typografie, in The Netherlands, she worked as a freelance book designer collaborating on books with contemporary artists and fine art publishers.

From 2009–2012 Grassi worked as a designer at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she was responsible for the overall institutional identity as well as art directing, developing and executing all Museum graphic design needs for print, online and environmental applications.

Enrique Chagoya, Bruce Nauman, Richard Misrach, Ed Ruscha

Unpacking “The Valise”

The Valise, a collective artists’ project, unites seven South American artists—Johanna Calle, Mateo López and Nicolás Paris, Maria Laet, Rosângela Rennó, Matías Duville, and Christian Vinck Henriquez—with the Argentine writer César Aira. The project, published by the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art, arrived this morning and we are still unpacking.


The works were made in response to the idea of travel and to Aira’s novel Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter), with both the original Spanish edition (2000) and the English translation (2006) included. The novel concerns the surreal story of an 1837 journey through South America by the German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas, an associate of the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

Stored in a special valise or carrying case, the works include original prints, maps, artists’ books, airmail envelopes, origami toys, posters, a sound recording, and a hand-blown glass sculpture, all reflecting the artists’ shared affinity for geography, travel literature, and bookmaking.


The Valise was conceived, edited, and organized by May Castleberry, Editor, Contemporary Editions, Library Council Publications.

Latin American Studies and the Graphic Arts Collection are collaborating on the purchase of this very limited edition.

The Valise is published in a signed edition of 100 copies for the members of the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art. A deluxe edition of 25 copies is available for purchase. (The deluxe edition includes hand-cut paper architecture by López; a second original woodcut print by Duville; a Paris design, hand-painted in metal leaf, on the carrying case; and signatures on many of the individual pieces.) An additional 10 artist copies of each of the two editions go to the artists and other collaborators.

*This is only a small selection of items included.*

The Valise

Latin American Studies and the Graphic Arts Collection are collaborating on the purchase of the limited edition publication La valija (The Valise), which was unveiled Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. The collective artists’ project unites seven South American artists—Johanna Calle (Bogotá, Colombia), Matías Duville (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Maria Laet (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Mateo López (Bogotá, Colombia), Nicolás Paris (Bogota, Colombia), Rosângela Rennó (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), and Christian Vinck Henriquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela)—with the Argentine writer César Aria.

The artists created over 50 original artworks responding to Aria’s novel Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter), which follows the German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas’s 1837 journey through South America.

Designed to fit in a special valise, the works include original prints, maps, artist’s books, airmail envelopes, origami toys, posters, a sound recording, and a hand blown glass sculpture, all reflecting the artists’ shared affinity for geography, travel literature, and book-making.








To celebrate the publication of The Valise, Aria gave a private reading for members of the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art. He told the audience that he had wanted to be a painter but now paints with his words. Rejecting computers, Aria said he prefers to write using a fountain pen (he has an extensive collection) on good heavy paper.







For more information on this project, see

The novelist was recently profiled in The New Yorker to mark the publication of Ema the Captive, his 13th novel in English. See: Alena Graedon, “César Aira’s Infinite Footnote to Borges,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2017

Alpha Beta

Ines von Ketelhodt, Alpha Beta. Text by Michel Butor (Flörsheim am Main: I. v. Ketelhodt, 2017). Two volumes, in French and German. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process

Investigating the visual and conceptual structure of the printed page, Alpha Beta is designed, printed, and bound by the German artist Ines von Ketelhodt. Her matrix is the writing of Michel Butor (1926-2016), a French novelist whose experiments with narrative and structure put him at the forefront of the literary trend known as le nouveau roman (the new novel).

Von Ketelhodt has letterpress printed a passage in which Butor offered a portrait of a universal library: Itinéraire: les bibliothèques. In the first volume, it is in Butor’s original French and in the second volume, it has been translated into German. Each letter of the alphabet is confined to one transparent page so that, as the pages are turned, a single letter disappears throughout. By the end, only the punctuation remains on the right, with Butor’s text in reverse on the left.

Transparency is at the core of this volume, printed from polymer plates on to cellophane sheets and housed in a plexiglass slipcase. The text is fluid, both in its narrative and here, even in its physical format. Here is the French text:

Rangés dans leurs casiers comme des bouteilles les volumes fermentent à l’intérieur de la grande cave aux lampadaires doux sur les fronts ridés ou bouclés qui se penchent dans le déchiffrement de leurs annotations. Par ici les dictionnaires, l’espalier des langues; dans cette galerie les cristallisations des sonnets et des haïku, la joaillerie des ballades. On ouvre une grille et c’est la haute salle de lecture avec ses verrières qui répercutent les somnolences, les feuillettements, les émerveillements. Comme une vrille de volubilis la longue phrase s’entortille autour de la rambarde qui longe les balcons des romans-fleuves avec leurs péniches de familles, d’héritages, d’affrontements, d’effondrements, d’écoeurements et de baisers. Plus loin les rayons de l’Histoire Naturelle avec les herbiers et les flores; les oiseaux, s’envolant quand on tourne les pages, virent autour des colonnes de fer, effleurent les crânes et reviennent dormir dans leur volière de cuir ou de toile; les rugissements des fauves et le passage des poissons devant ces fenêtres d’aquarium.

Here are two possible English translations I have found for this complex text:

Placed in their lockers like bottles, the volumes ferment inside the large cellar with soft lamps on the wrinkled or curled fronts that lean in the decipherment of their annotations. Here the dictionaries, the espalier of languages; In this gallery the crystallizations of sonnets and haiku, the jewelry of ballads. It opens a grid and it is the high reading room with its stained glass that reverberates drowsiness, leaflets, wonders. Like a twist of volubilis the long sentence is wrapped around the railing that runs alongside the balconies of the novels-rivers with their barges of families, inheritances, confrontations, collapses, disgustings and kisses. Further on are the rays of Natural History, with herbals and floras; The birds fly away when they turn the pages, look round the iron columns, brush their skulls and come back to sleep in their leather or canvas aviaries; The roar of the wild beasts and the passage of fish in front of these aquarium windows.

Arranged like bottles on their shelves, the volumes age in the large cellar, soft lamps hovering over creased or ringleted foreheads lowered in their attempts to decipher the comments. Here are the dictionaries, the espaliers of languages; in that aisle over there, the crystalline sonnets and haikus, the gemlike ballads. Opening a grating, you find yourself in a lofty reading room with a glass ceiling that reflects back the drowsiness, the leafing, the ecstasies. Like a climbing plant, the long sentence twines around the railing that runs along the galleries of the Romans-fleuves with their barges full of families, inheritances, conflicts, collapses, wearinesses and kisses. A bit farther on: the natural history shelves with their plant posters and flora; the birds that fly upward when you turn the pages and circle around the iron columns, touch their skulls and then return to their leather and linen aviaries to sleep; the beasts of prey roaring and the fish gliding by the aquarium windows.


See also Vieira da Silva (1908-1992), Vieira da Silva: peintures. Includes Butor’s Itineraire (p. 7-19) (Paris: L’Autre musée, 1983).

Live Dog / Evil God

Born in Minnesota, Fritz Scholder (1937-2005) moved with his family to Sacramento, California, where he began studying painting with Wayne Thiebaud. Although Scholder was one-quarter Luseino, a California Mission tribe, he grew up outside the native American community and only later began to explore this cultural heritage, bringing to it a unique perspective.

In 1970, Tamarind Institute invited Scholder to Albuquerque to create a suite of lithographs he called, Indians Forever. From that time on, Scholder would be a major influence for his generation of native American artists.

Afternoon Nap was published in 1991, the first in a series of book projects by Nazraeli Press, Munich, followed in 1992 with Live Dog / Evil God in a limited edition of 50 copies. Nazraeli was founded in 1989 by Chris Pichler, specializing in books of photography. Scholder created ten cliche-verres or glass plate negatives for the book that were printed as kallitypes by James Hajicek. These were reproduced in duotone lithograph by Fabe Litho in Tucson, Arizona.

Pichler also published Scholder’s 1993 exhibition catalogue with an essay by Edward Lucie-Smith for the Riva Yares Gallery (SA ND237.S31 L824 1993). This review of Scholder’s 2015 exhibition at the Denver Art Museum brings the artist’s work up to date.

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005), Live Dog / Evil God (Munich and Tucson: Nazraeli Press, 1992). Copy 44 of 50. Includes a suite of ten original prints. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process



“ONEEVERYONE, a public art project by Ann Hamilton, is framed by the recognition that human touch is the most essential means of contact and a fundamental expression of physical care. Commissioned by Landmarks for the Dell Medical School, ONEEVERYONE begins with a series of more than 500 portraits of Austin community members, photographed through a semi-transparent membrane that focuses each point where the body make contact. These images are presented in multiple forms, including porcelain enamel architectural panels; a newsprint publication with commissioned essays responding to the project; public forums; and an exhibition at the Visual Arts Center.”—Andrée Bober, Landmarks Director

“This book presents yet another form for the portraits. Its pages hold at least one image of each participant who volunteered their time and opened themselves to an exchange with the artist. Through the images touch–something we feel more than see–becomes visible.”


The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired this volume, along with the newspaper of commissioned essays, thanks to Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. For more information on this extraordinary project, see



Ann Hamilton, ONEEVERYONE (Austin, Texas: Landmarks, University of Texas at Austin, 2017). 1 volume (unpaged): no text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process


The Language of the Lament

Lynne Avadenka. Lamentations = Ekhah. Lamentations = איכה (Huntington Woods, Mich.: Land Marks Press, 2009). Copy 8 of 8. “This edition of Lamentations was created with woodcuts, photopolymer plate printing and stencils, and letterpress printed with Centaur and Koren types on Yamada Hanga cream paper”–Colophon. Housed in a cloth-covered oblong clamshell box, which has a woodblock inset on its top. Text of the book of Lamentations in Hebrew, with English translation from the Jewish Publication Society: leaves [3-12]. Graphic Arts Collection GAX in process

Additional digital images available at:

Colophon [above]: “Echoes, reverberations, multiplicities, repeats: the long narrow sheet – a scroll unrolled – like the original Book of Lamentations; prints from wood, the same material from which houses are built, with traces of home cut out: doors, windows, openings; orbits linked and overlapped, inked and overprinted, suggesting absence, presence, and interconnected lives.”



Many other versions of the Lamentations are available in the Princeton University Library, including: Sefer Ḳol bikhyi: reʼu zeh ḥadash ḳetsat ḥidushim ʻal sefer Iyov… ṿe-ʻimo nilṿeh sefer Metsudat Daṿid le-vaʼer ʻinyana . . . / Raḥamim Bukhrits (Liṿorno: Sh. Belforṭe, 657 [1897]). Rare Books (Ex) BS1415 .K642 1897

We also hold a number of artists’ books featuring Jewish themes. Here are only a few:
Sue Coe, X (with Art Spiegelman). Design by Françoise Mouly (New York: Raw Books & Graphics, 1986). Rare Books (Ex) N6797.C55 A4 1986 Milberg
Mark H. Podwal, A Sweet Year: a Taste of the Jewish Holidays (New York: Random House Children’s Books, 2003). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-2542N
Carol Rosen, The Holocaust Series. XXI, We All Disappear ([Califon, N.J.?: C. Rosen, 2004?]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2014-0939Q
Paul Auster, Reflections on a Cardboard Box; Drawings Henrik Drescher ([Mt. Horeb, Wis.]: Perishable Press, 2004).Rare Books (Ex) 2005-2248N
D.R. Wakefield, Pugilistica Judaica: Jewish Prize-fighters in London 1785-1840 ([East Yorkshire]: Chevington Press, 2006).Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2008-0022F
Art Spiegelman, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young [squiggle][star]! 1st rev. ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 2008). Rare Books (Ex) Oversize 2008-0492Q
Lynne Avadenka, Plum Colored Regret (Huntington Woods, Mich.: Land Marks Press, 2010). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2011-0060Q
Sarah Horowitz, Alpha Botanica ([Portland, Or.: Wiesedruck, 2007]) Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2014-0009S


dscn8387-3Emmett Williams (1925-2007) and Keith Godard (born 1942), Holdup (New York: Works Editions, 1980). Graphic Arts Collection 2016- in process



This is a book of famous thumbs.

Both printer Keith Godard and visual poet Emmett Williams had been collecting pictures of thumbs of friends and famous people for years and so, for their first collaboration, they combined their collections for a book of visual humor and visual poetry.

The two worked together at Godard’s studio and publishing house, Works Editions, only once again in 1983 producing A Little Night Book.


“Emmett Williams, an American poet whose transposition of words into visual art and performances made him one of the founding artists of Fluxus, a performance-oriented avant-garde art movement of the 1960s, died on Feb. 14 in Berlin. He was 81 and had lived in Berlin for many years. . . . In 1966 Mr. Williams took a job as editor in chief of The Something Else Press, a publishing house in New York City founded by Dick Higgins, another pioneer of Fluxus. By 1967 Mr. Williams had edited The Anthology of Concrete Poetry and written Sweethearts, two of his most widely recognized works. “When I have exhibitions, I do not say I am a Fluxus artist, I say it is my work,” Mr. Williams said . . . “And that makes me very comfortable. And it’s nice to outlive descriptive titles like that.” –Roja Heydarpour, “Emmett Williams, 81, Fluxus-Movement Poet, Dies” The New York Times March 1, 2007.



For more of Keith Godard see:
For more of Emmett Williams see:

Donald Trump, The Magazine of Poetry

trump1Donald Trump, The Magazine of Poetry (Upper Montclair, NJ: Henry Wessells, Temporary Culture, 2016). Edition: 126. Graphic Arts Collection GA2016- in process. Gift of John Bidwell.

trump4Temporary Culture is the imprint of Henry Wessells, Princeton University Class of 1983. He was inspired to create Donald Trump The Magazine of Poetry by Tom Disch’s Ronald Reagan The Magazine of Poetry (London: John Sladek and Pamela Zoline, 1968). Rare Books RECAP-91154631.

Wessells tells us that it took fifty burning marshmallows, thinking about how to illustrate the piece on page 1, before he got the front cover. Temporary Culture has an instagram page where there are a couple of clips of readings from the launch on the web. Temporary Culture also produces the Endless Bookshelf




trumpOn the left Brendan C. Byrne and on the right, Henry Wessells at the book launch.