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The Art of the Book, the Book as Art features book works created by students of Printmaking 552 in the School of Art and Design, College of Visual and Performing Arts. The exhibition is on display from March 26 – May 18, 2007 on the 6th floor of the Syracuse University Libraries.

The exhibitors are Jennifer Betton, Tijana Djordjevic, Jessica Ginsberg, Zebadiah Keneally, Conor McGrann, Ellen Nanni, Zoe Nementz, Shalini Patel, Jamie Shoneman, Jane Tam, Cynthia Wang, and Craig Wischerath.

The class, taught by Peter D. Verheyen of Syracuse University Libraries' Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), aims to give students an overview of some of the structures used in the book arts, and to stimulate exploration of these forms. As part of that exploration, the students visited the SU Libraries, where art librarian Ann Skiold gave them an overview of book arts resources within the circulating collections, and Peter Verheyen, preservation and digital access librarian showed them examples of structures from SCRC's collections. The students learned in class about many of these structures, including the "Japanese" stab-sewn binding, the accordion/concertina binding, the flagbook, and various kinds of sewn books. They also saw a presentation on the physical properties of materials and a demonstration of working with some of these by conservation librarian David Stokoe. Weekly homework assignments were designed to give students more experience with the structures learned in class that week.

The works shown in this exhibit are the result of the second assignment in which students were asked to create a unique work based in some way on a work from the SCRC's collections. These works are shown alongside the students' work. The connection between the students' work and the work from SCRC's collections could be structural, aesthetic, or a combination of the two. In creating their work, students considered the following questions, the answers to which can determine the ultimate success (or not) of a particular work.

  • How does the binding I choose relate to the subject? Historically? Regionally? Traditionally?
  • How does the ease (or difficulty) of viewing reveal or hide my subject matter? Is the viewer gaining full access to my content and, if not, why?
  • How does the size of my book affect the viewer's reaction to the content? Does it need to be gigantic or miniscule to tell the story well?
  • How do the materials I have chosen relate to the content? Is the cover material appropriate for the subject matter I am addressing? Is the text paper? The endpapers (if any)?
  • How fragile is my book? Will it stand up to many people handling it? Where will it be read? On a table? In a lap? On a pedestal?
  • How does the overall structure and feel of the book relate to the overall content? Does the form enhance the content?

This exhibition project also served as an introduction to the processes involved in entering exhibitions. Students were asked to describe their work and provide a brief biographical sketch and artist's statement-the latter not necessarily easy for students at the beginning of their artistic careers. This process prepared the students to take on the role of jurors for this summer's Central New York Book Arts exhibition, which they will jury as part of the class under the instructor's supervision. By serving as jurors they will have the opportunity to apply their experiences from the class, and to critically assess current works by practicing book artists. Central New York Book Arts will open in this space after May 18.

Past book arts exhibitions featuring works by Syracuse University students are also available online, and include:

Peter Verheyen, Instructor and Exhibition Curator