For those of us for whom the codex represents the apex of human achievement and the vessel for all that is greatest in our history, the fact that the printed book is at best a dubious medium for art, if not an environment overtly hostile to it, has always been a disappointment. Although there have been some glorious marriages of image and text, the vast majority of so-called livres d’artiste are unhappy ones, even many of the most celebrated. They rarely manage to transcend the aporia created by the juxtaposition of two media fundamentally at odds with each other, the regularity and visual gravity of text and the irrepressible vitality and multifarious flow of art.
Yet the codex has a wholly other life, which, though it was supplanted as the primary medium for the conveyance of information by the advent of print, has retained the power and aura that we associate with the great illuminated manuscripts of the middle ages, in the unique artist’s book. Untrammeled by the dictates of type or the standards of mass production and use, the unique artist’s book remains an expressive and versatile art medium, which is animated by the unique cultural, historical, and inherent potency of the codex. Its capacity for visual narrative and the expression of time in general, the creation and release of visual tensions, its integration of movement and meditation, make it a medium distinctly different from any other, and the intimacy of the codex form determines a relationship to visual material that is incomparable.
We rarely have the opportunity to dwell in the world of the unique artist’s book, as considerations of security render its purpose almost impotent in the context of the museum, and its very uniqueness insures that any individual example is going to have an almost hermetic history. It is therefore with great excitement that we announce an exhibition of unique artist’s books, curated by artist Heide Hatry, herself a former rare bookseller and maker of unique books.
An exhibition catalogue will be available at the opening reception, with texts by Thyrza Nichols Goodeve and others.
The first leg of the exhibition will take place at Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, MA, and will contain work by more than 50 artists using the book as a medium for a diverse range visual and aesthetic experience. The artists involved in this exhibition are: Roberta Allen (US), Tatjana Bergelt (Germany/Finland), Elena Berriolo (US/Italy), Christine Bofinger (Germany), Dianne Bowen (US), Ian Boyden (US), Dove Bradshaw (US), Eli Brown (US), Inge Bruggeman (US), Katheline Carr (US), Chrissy Conant (US), Steven Daiber (US), George Deem (US), Thorsten Dennerline (US), Peter Downsbrough (US), Debra Drexler (US), Tim Ely (US), Max Gimblett (US/New Zealand), Heide Hatry (Germany/US), Rick Haynes (US), Anna Helm (Germany), Betty Hirst (US), Richard Humann (US), Iliyan Ivanov (US/Bulgaria), Paul Kaestner (Germany), Kahn & Selesnick (US), Ulrich Klieber (Germany), Bodo Korsig (Germany/US), Rich Kostelanetz (US), Christina Kruse (US/Germany), Andrea Lange (Germany), Paul Laster (US), Nick Lawrence (US), Gregg LeFevre (US), Annette Lemieux (US), Stephen Lipman (US), Larry Miller (US), Kate Millett (US), Jim Peters (US), Raquel Rabinovich (US), Aviva Rahmani (US), Osmo Rauhala (Finland), Tom Roth (Germany), Jacqueline Rush Lee (US), Cheryl Schainfeld (US), Carolee Schneemann (US), Ilse Schreiber Noll (Germany/US), Pat Steir (US), Michelle Stuart (US), Aldo Tambellini(US), George Trakas (US), Sharone Vendriger (Israel), Clemens Weiss (Germany/US), Mark Wiener (US), and Ottfried Zielke (Germany).
Heide Hatry is a German visual artist and curator. She studied art at various art schools and art history at the Universityof Heidelberg. She taught at a private art school in Germany for 15 years, and since moving to NYC in 2003 she has curated exhibitions in Germany, Spain and the US (notably Skin at the Goethe Institut in New York, the Heidelberger Kunstverein and Galeria Tribeca in Madrid, Spain; Out of the Box at Elga Wimmer PCC in NYC; Carolee Schneemann, Early and Recent Work, A Survey at Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, MA; Meat After Meat Joy at Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, NYC; Kate Millett, Oppression and Pleasure at Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, MA and Theresa Byrnes, NEST in Brooklyn).
She has shown her own work at museums and galleries around the world, and has edited more than two dozen books and art catalogues. Her book Skin was published by Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg in 2005 and Heads and Tales by Charta Art Books, Milan/New York in 2009.