Exhibits in 2013

Mosaics and Memoir: Marjorie Kreilick and Allan McNab

September-November, 2013 image of Kreilick mosaic and McNabb book cover

Exhibition Opening, Reception and Book Signing: September 27, 2013 ~ 5:00-7:00 pm.

This exhibition presents a wonderful sampling of mosaics and other art work by Emeritus Professor Marjorie Kreilick. Her engaging works incorporate marble inlay and sculptural elements. A devoted educator in the Art Department, Kreilick taught foundation courses on design and color for nearly 40 years (1953-1991). Kreilick edited the just-published memoir (UW-Libraries' Parallel Press) of her late husband Allan McNab. Witness to an Ending captures his rich artistic and social life in Europe and America, offering astute observations of 20th c people and events that changed the world. The exhibition showcases the memoir and a selection of McNab's engravings and book illustrations. Generously sponsored by the General Library System, the Art Department, and the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries.

Curated by: Marjorie Kreilick and Lyn Korenic, with the assistance of Gail Geiger.

Image:  Design by Dan Joe based on photograph by Sandra Weber.

Handmade Paper: Wisconsin Roots

April 15 - June 30, 2013 image: "Tactile Study for Driftless Reveries" by Mary Hark (2012)

For almost 50 years, Wisconsin has been a remarkable leader in the field of book arts and has played a vital role in the resurgence of handmade paper.  This exhibit showcases examples of artists’ books that contain handmade paper made by artists with Wisconsin roots.  These artists (pioneers, teachers, students, and practitioners) have all been inspired by the craft and artistic possibilities of paper. Featured artists include Walter Hamady, Jim Escalante, Mary Hark, and Joe Wilfer as well as many others who form a long papermaking lineage.  The ingredients that are used in these books vary widely, from used clothing, donated UW-Madison hospital sheets, flax, cotton, and linen to bird’s nests and iris leaves.  The exhibit is part of the multi-part exhibition Text Support: A Library Exhibit About Paper currently on view in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library.  Another component to Text Support is the pop-up exhibition, Paper Engineering, located in the wall cases on the 2nd floor, Memorial Library.

Image:  Mary Hark. Tactile Study for Driftless Reveries (2012)

This exhibit was curated by Lyn Korenic and Tracy Honn.

Bird Sightings in Artists' Books

January 15 - April 14, 2013 Image: from the book "White River Lullaby" by David Johnson (Muncie, IN: Amelia Press,2000)

If you have a passion for birds you’ll enjoy this selection of over two dozen feathered friends found standing, perching, or soaring among the pages of artists’ books. These common and fancy birds take a variety of expressions, from bold woodcuts of waterfowl and delicate watercolors of bird eggs to a Caribbean parrot rod-puppet and a German double alphabet book of 52 winged creations. Represented in fables, religion, Mother Goose, mythology, poetry, and flights of the imagination, birds inform our sense of the natural world, comment on our relationship to wildlife, and spark our romantic impulse to delight in beauty. From hummingbirds to blackbirds, eagles to owls, this diverse flock rocks.

Image:  David Johnson.  White River Lullaby.  Muncie, IN: Amelia Press, 2000.

This exhibit was curated by Lyn Korenic, Director, Kohler Art Library.

Exhibits in 2012

Bookscapes: Lands Observed and Imagined

September 1 - November 30, 2012 image: from the book "Of Gravity and Grace" by Claire Van Vliet (1982)

This exhibit showcases the theme of landscape in artists’ books, from depictions of place in Native American legend to an inverted atlas of the earth.  A symbol of discovery, landscape is revealed through naturalistic observations and imaginary inventions of mountains, prairie, fields, and shore.  Artists represented include Carol Chase Bjerke, Julie Chen, Tim Ely, Diane Fine, Karen Kunc, Jim Lee, Gaylord Schanilec, C.B. Sherlock, Claire Van Vliet, and others.  The books use diverse medium, such as relief printing, pochoir (stencil technique), paste paper, collage, photography, and pulp paper painting.  Structures, such as accordion fold, tunnel book, and hinged panel, along with materials such as acetate, colored cut paper, and sweet grass, make these books fertile terrain for artistic exploration.

This exhibit was curated by Lyn Korenic and Rob Nurre.

Great Lakes Porcupine Quill Boxes from the Collection of Jane A. Raymond and Robert Mougin Porcupine Quill Basket attributed to James family, 1950s

June 1 - August 31, 2012

On display is a private collection of 26 porcupine quill boxes on loan from Jane A. Raymond and Robert Mougin.  The majority of the boxes were created by Woodland Indians, primarily Canadian First Nation people living in the Great Lakes region of North America.  Native American tribes represented include Ojibwa, Ho-Chunk, Odawa, Chippewa, and Iroquois.  An early Mi’kmaq box from Nova Scotia (c1860) and a Northern Cree box are also on display.  Design motifs of birds, flowers, animals, and geometric patterns adorn the colorful and intricately-made boxes, some of which are created using a tufting technique.  The exhibition also documents the process of the craft through samples of raw materials (quills, sweet grass, birch bark, and sinew) and a variety of tools used when making porcupine quill boxes.  Porcupine quill boxes are primarily marketed to tourists, collectors, and museums and can be acquired at Native American Pow-wows and trading stores.   

This exhibit was curated by Jane A Raymond, Robert Mougin, and Lyn Korenic.

Crafted Design & Agents of Change: Modern European Publications from the Collection of Barbara Mackey Kaerwer image: "Kreuzigung: Spielgang Werk VII" by Lothar Schreyer (1920)

March 20 - May 31, 2012

The Kohler Art Library proudly presents a selection of early twentieth-century German and Austrian publications from the collection of Barbara Mackey Kaerwer,  a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna and generous donor to both the Chazen Art Museum and the library.  On display are works by some of the era’s most notable artists and designers, including Koloman Moser, Wassily Kandinsky, Erich Heckel, Walter Gropius, Josef Hoffman and Dagobert Peche.   During those decades artists increasingly considered art and design agents of change, capable of improving the quality of life and society; the new visual aesthetic and formal languages they crafted represented emergent technological, economic, and social ideals.  The children’s books, political pamphlets, art and design periodicals, woodcut prints and exhibition catalogues in this show reflect a variety of ways in which avant-garde form became employed in printed materials.   

This exhibit was curated by Amy Brabender, Holly Rubalcava, Eve Stano, Christy Wahl, Booth Wilson, and Jose Vergara (graduate students in Art History 856, Nationalism in the Era of the International, taught by Professor Buenger).

POP Goes the Artists' Book! image: from the book "Circle of Wisdom (2001) by C. Van Vliet

January 23 - March 20, 2012

Through the art and craft of paper engineering, pop-up books partake a wide range of shapes and configurations in three-dimensional form. A type of movable book, they are related to carousels, tunnel books, flag books, and other interactive structures. Pop-up books were first produced in the early twentieth century, although earlier forms of movable books, such as volvelles (or wheels) and pull-tabs, have been inspiring readers for centuries. Many pop-up books use the “V-fold” element, which attaches to facing pages and unfolds from the center when the book is open and collapses when the book is closed. No longer flat and motionless, paper that is folded seems to spring to life with playful, kinetic intent. Other pop-up construction techniques include the stage set, the box and cylinder, and floating layers.

The dynamic works on display are from the Kohler Art Library’s Artists’ Book Collection. They demonstrate some of the potential for this art form, but the possibilities for incorporating pop-up action are limitless. Imaginative examples from the collaborative portfolio of movable paper constructions, Handmade Paper in Motion (2010), include a large green frog, a crouching figure, a bottle of sumi ink spilling Chinese characters, a floral bouquet, a yucca plant, an African-inspired mask, a jar of snakes, and an abstract form. The earliest work on display is Ali Baba e i 40 ladroni (Ali Baba and the 40 thieves) by Italian illustrator and stage designer Mario Zampini (1950). Also noteworthy is the spectacular Sanctae Hildegardis Circulus Sapientiae = Circle of Wisdom (2001) by Claire Van Vliet, with its interlocking pop-up structures. This non-adhesive approach is unlike other pop-up books which typically use glue to secure the folded paper.

On a related note, an inventive producer of movable books in the nineteenth and early twentieth century was the German illustrator and writer Lothar Meggendorfer. Many examples of his work, which employs complex pull-tab mechanisms and colorful stage-like panoramas, can be found in the Special Collections Department of Memorial Library.

The Kohler Art Library also houses a number of useful print resources that demonstrate step-by-step the process of creating pop-ups. Recommended are The Pocket Paper Engineer (vols. 1 & 2) by Carol Barton and Elements of Pop-up by David Carter.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Rob Nurre.

Exhibits in 2011

Listen, Listen: Adadam Agofomma: a fine-press book by Take Time Press image: from the book ' Listen, listen: Adadam Agofomma,' honoring the legacy of Koo Nimo by Mary Hark

November 1 - December 31, 2011

The inaugural publication of Take Time Press, “Listen, Listen: Adadam Agofamma,” was designed and produced by Mary Hark, a textile artist and papermaker in the UW-Madison Design Studies Department (School of Human Ecology).  The exquisite handmade book celebrates the legacy of Koo Nimo, a Ghanian Palm Wine musician.  Through the use of paper samples, plant materials, photographs, and other material, this exhibit documents the book’s production and artistic process.

For a number of years, Hark has worked to develop a hand papermaking mill at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.  This limited edition book, with lovely clam-shell box and letterpress printed pamphlets, stems from a collaborative initiative to develop high quality paper made from local plant materials in Africa.  The book’s paper is made from the pulp-mulberry plant, a non-indigenous and invasive woody plant in the Ashanti Region.  Through experimentation, Hark and her colleagues found that the mulberry plant (or kozo) produces a beautiful and strong product when combined with other botanical fibers such as cashew and papyrus. Farmers in the area harvested and sold Hark the raw material and the scientists at the Forest Research Institute of Ghana assisted by sharing their expertise.

“Listen, Listen,” also features a specially produced photographic and musical CD that showcases Koo Nimo and his ensemble playing the melodic, acoustical West African music, known as palm wine. The name of Koo Nimo’s musical group, Adadam Agofamma, translates as Roots Ensemble.  The book also includes a handsome suite of three intaglio and relief prints, titled Sound Fabric, by Ghanian artist Dr. Atta Kwami.  The prints, which honor and respond to the music of Koo Nimo, were produced by Dr. Atta Kwami and master printmaker Pamela Clarkson in their Ayeduase New Site Studio, the only intaglio studio in Ghana.    

This exhibit is part of a larger series of events presented by the UW-Madison Design Gallery: “Look, Look, Listen, Listen: Celebrating the Arts of Ghana.”  The other events include two exhibitions at the Commonwealth Gallery (Tradition & Innovation: Batik yardage by Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Adinka cloth from the Boakye Family Workshop; and Place to Place: Recent paintings and prints by Atta Kwami and Pamela Clarkson) as well as a concert at the UW-Madison Music Hall (Koo Nimo: in concert with Atimevu Drum and Dance Ensemble).  For more information about these events, see:  www.designgallery.wisc.edu.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Mary Hark

An ABC Miscellany image: G from 'Hockney's Alphabet'

September 1 - October 31, 2011

ABC books appeal to readers of all ages and are international in scope. While they are often intended for children and created as educational tools, some are aimed at adult audiences.  ABC books are often referred to as “alphabet books”, but that term is also used for books on the general topic of alphabets.  Among an assortment of books displaying a larger chunk of the alphabet, each of the 26 letters is given prominence, either highlighted individually or in a small group.  Can you find them all? 

Commonly, ABC books present the alphabet in sequential order, but reverse and random order is also used.   One clever book is an oabecedarium, where each word in the alphabetic sequence starts with the letter O (“a” for oatcake, “b” for obelisk, “c” for ocelot...).  ABC books normally incorporate a target word and can be on any theme, such as animals, plants, the alphabet, illustrated verse, or politics. Notice the fascinating alphabetical atlas of medicinal plants and herbs done in dazzling chromolithographs. 

ABC books are produced in a variety of formats and sizes, including pop-up or accordion books, miniatures, and card or board games. One book on view uses the latter to teach the English alphabet and Mandarin Chinese phonetic symbols.  A number of the books are produced as works of art by book artists: Daniel Clarke, Walter Hamady, Anna Hepler, Ron King, Russell Maret, Joanna Poehlmann, C.B. Sherlock, Barbara Tetenbaum, Hsiu-Man Tsao, and Claire Van Vliet.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin.

Camera at Work: Photographic Images of Labor image: 'Mains...' from 'Tina Modotti' (2000)

June 10 - August 31, 2011

Throughout history, countless anonymous laborers and workers have contributed to the fabric and rhythm of life, often working under difficult and arduous conditions.  On view is a selection of photography books that showcase remarkable images of farm laborers, miners, tradesmen, domestic help, factory workers, clerical staff, and other workers.   The striking photographs reveal the industriousness and dignity of those portrayed despite the physical hardships of manual labor, and the sociological problems of repetitious manufacturing and mass production work.  International in scope, the list of photographers includes: Bill Brandt, Edward Burtynsky, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, Charles “Teeny” Harris, David Allen Harvey, Frida Kahlo, Dorothea Lange, Annie Leibovitz, Sharon Lockhart, Steve McCurry, Tina Modotti, Inge Morath, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Sebastião Salgado, August Sander and Taryn Simon.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin.

By Women, About Women: Stories in Fabric Exhibit poster: By Women, About Women

March 1 - May 31, 2011

The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and the Kohler Art Library present “By Women, About Women: Stories in Fabric,” an exhibition of textiles and textile-inspired artists' books at the Kohler Art Library, UW-Madison. This exhibition kicks off the commemoration of Women's History Month and celebrates the 2010-2011 Year of the Arts at UW-Madison.

Curator statement: "By Women, About Women" is a celebration of our identity, creativity, grace, and style. There are only a few creations in history that fulfill every human necessity and our need and love for fabric is so ubiquitous that we don't even realize that it is our greatest human invention. Textiles are as omnipresent as our stories; they are intrinsic to every society around the world, giving form to what we feel, do, and how we understand life. "By Women, About Women" is an exhibition that showcases the patterns of women's lives. Whether it is an example of women's fashion, a crazy quilt, a story about housework, or how women have put their "best figure forward," "By Women, About Women" evokes the nuances of women's lives, rumors, gossip, and old wives tales.

Curated by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost (Ph.D. candidate, Design Studies).

Specimens from a Study Collection of Illuminated Manuscript Facsimiles Trier Apocalypse: John the Evangelist message to Ephesus

January 3 - February 27, 2011

This exhibit showcases some of the many examples of illuminated manuscript facsimiles acquired by the Kohler Art Library over the past 40 years.   The term facsimile derives from the Latin fac simile meaning “made alike.”  A facsimile attempts to replicate a document in a copy that is as true to the original as possible in terms of scale, color, condition (including defects), and other qualities.  Facsimiles are important resources that provide students and scholars the opportunity to examine the hand illumination, lettering styles, and content of original manuscripts that are not readily available.  The facsimiles on display, and others in the collection, form a study collection that directly supports Prof. Tom Dale’s spring 2011 course in art history: AH 415 (Image and Word in Medieval Manuscripts), in addition to other courses in medieval art and culture.

Curated by Lyn Korenic, Director, Kohler Art Library.



Exhibits in 2010

Unbound: African-American Artists' Books & Illustrated Children's Books image: Unbound (poster by Tyanna Buie)

November 5 - December 31, 2010

This exhibition is presented by the Department of Afro-American Studies in commemoration of its 40th anniversary and as a celebration of the 2010-11 Year of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Unbound is an exhibition of African-American artists' books and children's books selected from the Kohler Art Library collection. The artists' books are organized into four categories: Ancestry, Biography, Memory/Trauma, and Resistance--to situate the voices of the artists in imagined locations from which they address the reader. The children's books, similarly, capture memory and imagination, overlapping and expanding these fluid themes on aspects of life. Though the books vary in texts, images, processes, shapes, materials, aesthetics, and modes of communiation, they represent the agency of the artist in a metaphorical practice of becoming unbound.

Exhibit opening reception: November 5, 5:30-7:30pm.

Additional talks at the Kohler Art Library:
Graduate student, Doria Johnson (Dept. of History), Nov. 10, 4-5pm
Book artist, Pleschette Robinson, Racine, WI, Nov. 17, 4-5pm
Children's Book Artist/Animator, Odalo (Wasikworks Studios), Madison, WI, Dec. 6, 4-5pm
Graduate student, Janine Sytsma (Dept. of Art History), Dec. 15, 4-5pm

Curated by Ph.D. students Doria Johnson and Janine Sytsma, based on a project initiated in the seminar "Beyond Primitivism: African and African-American Art in Museums," (Fall 2010), under the auspices of Professor Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis.

Natasha Nicholson--materials: re-invented, re-viewed image: "Portable Shrine" (2009) by N. Nicholson

October 1-31, 2010

On display are small works of sculpture by Madison artist, Natasha Nicholson. According to the artist: "Books feed art.  I long for beauty in works of art and books, and it is order and beauty that is at the heart of that which I wish to create. What you see here are cabinet works, a phrase which describes small paintings or sculptures, objects rather like books in size. They are intimate, with the viewer and artist sharing the same space, and the simple act of holding them can be physically exciting."

Nicholson uses simple and natural materials such as wood, along with found objects (pencils, twigs, etc.), to create a magical experience for the viewer. She adds: "Weaving a spell and pulling the viewer into the work is a powerful tool, one that I hope to achieve, yet cannot take for granted.  After all, true magic keeps its secrets and does not reveal the how or the why but rather provokes wonder."  Her works of assemblage are done without sketches or working drawings, but instead begin with the following words in mind: "Simple-Poetic-Intense-Magic-Beautiful-Quiet."

Curated by Natasha Nicholson.

Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books (MIMB) image: "My Visual Story" by Kathryn Polk

August 9 - September 30, 2010

This travelling show of 141 miniature books by international artists showcases a wide range of printmaking techniques and book structures.  Organized by Hui-Chu Ying, University of Akron in conjunction with the Southern Graphics Council, the show is scheduled to be on the road from 2009-2012, with stops in Spain, China, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Pakistan, Argentina, and Puerto-Rico, as well as the United States.  Each artist created a book for the exhibit in an edition of at least 6 copies.  Two complete sets are travelling around the world at the same time.  As “an intimate, economical, democratic and global exchange project,” this show attempts to “investigate the power of small-scale artists’ books to challenge their readers with grand, powerful, urgent, and poignant content.”  (quotes by Hui-Chu Ying)

Although the Miniature Book Society says U.S. standards for “miniature” status are generally no more than three inches in height, width or depth (four inches in Europe), this exhibition accepted books up to 4” X 5” X 1” (expanding to any length when opened).  UW-Madison alumni and faculty included in the show are:  Professor Michael G. Connors, Sandra C. Fernandez, Diane Fine, Dusty Herbig, Prof. John Hitchcock, Tracy Honn, Phyllis McGibbon, and Kathleen O'Connell.  On view at the Kohler Art Library are 94 books from this exhibition.

Curated by Tracy Honn and Lyn Korenic.

Artisans of Mexico from the Collection of John Tortorice image: cover, "La Jicara," issue 1 (1994)

April 20 - July 21, 2010

"I collected the items on display in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Michoacán over the course of three recent road trips in Mexico. They document the continued primacy of aesthetic considerations found in indigenous Mexican culture, and the commitment to a high level of artistic integrity on the part of the artisans. The skill, design sophistication, and use of color found in these objects reflect a long tradition of hand made work.  Yet the effort to maintain quality and craft is often undermined by the needs of the tourist market for cheap available items that are easily transported in suitcases.

The pieces were purchased directly from the individual, family, or co-op that made the piece which often necessitated travel to remote villages off the usual routes traversed by tourists. Such interactions with the artists allowed me to gain background knowledge of how the items were made, the tradition from which they emerge, and the complexities of economic survival in what is now a global trade in Mexican artisanal work.

The pieces are made of carved painted wood; molded, thrown, and painted clay; wrought iron; fired and pounded copper, and high quality wool colored with natural dyes such as cochineal, and indigo. The books are made from paper made from the fibers of differing plants with some covers made from the whole leaf of a specific plant."
--John Tortorice

Curated by Marjorie Kreilick and John Tortorice.

Artists of Haiti image: 'General Toussaint enfume' by Edouard Duval-Carrie

March 1 - April 11, 2010

The artistic heritage of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora is the focus of this exhibit.  Artists as diverse as Eduoard Duval-Carrié, Hector Hyppolite, Georges Liautaud, Ernst Prophéte, Seresier Louisjuste, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Mario Benjamin are featured.  The art library contains an array of resources that enable the study of Haitian painters, metal workers, muralists, and craftspeople working with textiles, sequins and vodou forms.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin, Kohler Art Library.

Shimmering Books of Silver and Gold image: Karolingisches Sakramentar (9th c.)

December 1, 2009 - February 28, 2010

On display are 22 fine examples of illuminated manuscript facsimiles from the collection of the Kohler Art Library.  These reproductions of pre-9th to 16th century books located in Europe are sumptuous publications in their own right.  Some are embellished with actual gold foil to imitate the burnished gold of the originals, but all reveal the richness and splendor of manuscripts from the medieval through renaissance periods.   Enjoy these gospels, psalters, codices, lectionaries, and devotional books for their vibrant color, ornate design, and lavish decoration.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin, Kohler Art Library.


Exhibits in 2009

All About Me: Book Arts image from Ms. Monday's Menagerie, exquisite corpse book

October 1 - November 30, 2009

Vision, Strength, Access - VSA Arts of Wisconsin - proudly presents a variety of books created by students with disabilities who participated in an “All About Me” artist residency.  Mounted in conjunction with the Wisconsin Book Festival with its theme “courage,” the exhibit features unique handmade books that combine original writings.  The VSA artist residencies were held at schools in Madison, Milwaukee, Brookfield, Wauwautosa, and Wausau during the 2008-2009 school year.  Students ages 9 to 21 from these areas participated in hands-on sessions facilitated by teaching artists Nancee Killoran, Linda Mathes and Petra Press.  The students explored papermaking, bookbinding, drawing, and printmaking as well as a variety of book structures.  The exhibit features both collaborative “exquisite corpse” books as well as books done by individual students.  VSA Arts of Wisconsin promotes the creative power of children and adults with disabilities.

Curated by Alexis London, VSA Arts of Wisconsin and Lyn Korenic, Kohler Art Library.

Cartoneras: Book Arts from Latin America image from Dulcineia Catadora (Brazil), 2007

September 1 - 30, 2009

Showcasing the work of young writers and artists from various Latin American countries, this exhibit contains a sampling of "cartonera" books on loan from the Special Collections Department, Memorial Library.  Cartonera books are hand-made from recycled cardboard collected off the streets by "cartoneros," or garbage pickers, who sell the cardboard they collect to the Cartonera publishers and in some cases work on the production process of the actual books themselves.  The cardboard covers are hand-painted and the books often contain new literary contributions. Writers and artists have developed a "progressive new publishing model that challenges and contests the neo-liberal political and economic hegemony."  Cartonera publishing promotes "the democratization of the book and access to literature for everyone, everywhere."

Since its inception in 2003 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the Eloisa Cartonera, the cartonera publishing phenomenon has quickly spread to other Latin American countries: Animita Cartonera (Santiago, Chile); Dulcineia Catadora (Sao Paolo, Brazil); La Cartonera (Cuernavaca, Mexico); Mandragora Cartonera (Cochabamba, Bolivia); Sarita Cartonera (Lima, Peru); Yerba Mala Cartonera (El Alto, Bolivia); and Yiji Jambo (Asuncion, Paraguay). 

The UW-Madison is hosting the conference “Cartonera Publishers: Recycling Latin American Bookscapes” that will take place on October 8th-9th, 2009. 

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin.

Arthropods (insects) in Art image from 'Dead or Alive' by artist Mark Fairnington

July 1 - August 31, 2009

On view are selected art and artists’ books that explore the world of arthropods (insects): butterflies, beetles, bees, wasps, flies, ants, cicadas, mosquitoes and more!  Throughout history, artists have depicted the most diverse group of animals on earth in both symbolic and naturalistic ways.   Insects can be found filling marginalia of Medieval psalters and illuminated manuscripts, documenting scientific discoveries in natural history paintings, fooling the eye (trompe l’oeil) in Renaissance still lives, and creating kaleidoscopic installations of iridescent colors and exotic shapes or contemporary cabinets of curiosity. It’s summertime!  Enjoy the world of arthropods both inside and outside the Kohler Art Library!

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin of the Kohler Art Library.


The Vandercook Proof Press Celebrates Its 100th Birthday (1909-2009) image: Mare Blocker linoleum cut

March 24 - May 31, 2009

On view are diverse folios from "The Vandercook Book," a limited edition artists' book published by Barbara Henry and Roni Gross to celebrate the centennial of the Vandercook Proof Press.  Over 30 master printers such as Tracy Honn, Gaylord Schanilec, Barbara Tetenbaum, John Risseeuw, Ruth Lingen, Peter Koch, Johanna Drucker, Abigail Rorer, and Roni Gross reveal their distinctive artistic expression with the press.  Originally designed for commercial use, the Vandercook Proof Press has developed into a versatile and experimental printmaking medium used by artists.  Techniques employed in the folios include pressure printing, sandragraph, lino cut, polymer plate printing, handset type, linoleum cut, die cut and wood cut, among others. ("Rules for Printers" is a linoleum cut by Mare Blocker.) 

Curated by Lyn Korenic, director of the Kohler Art Library, and Daniella Lopez, Information Specialist Intern.

Framework: Architectural Booksimage: Wirth, Vertical Circulation

February 2 - March 20, 2009

How is a staircase like a book or a wall like a page? Karen Wirth explores the relationships between books and architecture through artist’s books, sculpture and public art. Through analogy, she examines space and experience, presence and absence, revelation and concealment, public and private. What do our eyes tell us? Is it the same as what our body experiences? Whether working with the intimacy of a hand-held book or the public scale of an architectural project, Wirth translates the conceptual and physical relationship of the viewer to the object through scale, materials, image and text. Her work includes one of a kind and editioned book works, as well as architectural projects such as the grand staircase at Open Book in Minneapolis. Wirth is the Chair of Fine Arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Karen Wirth is on campus as a visiting artist in the UW-Madison, Art Department. She will be speaking about her work on February 10, 2009, 5:40-6:30pm, in Room 204, Educational Sciences Building. For details, see the Art Department website http://art.wisc.edu/?folder=events&pagename=details&idEvents=347.

Curated by Karen Wirth.

A Winter Walk through the Artists' Book Collectionimage: 'Rafale' by S. Lemay, from 'Endgrain'

December 8, 2008 - January 31, 2009

Words and images describing the frosty mountain air, crystalline formation of ice, sparkling snowflake, and winter wind celebrate the season that begins and ends each year. Artists with work in the exhibit include: Michael Alpert, Carol Chase Bjerke, Francesco Clemente, Mary (Sprague) Dryburgh, Mary Moss Escalante, Ruth Fine, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Kevin Henkes, Kathy Kuehn, Jim Lee, Suzanne Lemay, Monica Poole, Regula Russelle, Gaylord Schanilec, C. B. Sherlock, Yutaka Sone, Claire Van Vliet. The image shown here is "Rafale" by Suzanne Lemay, taken from the book Endgrain: contemporary wood engraving in North America.

Curated by Lyn Korenic, Director, Kohler Art Library.

Exhibits in 2008

Travel, Typology, Technology: Photography and the (Re)Production of EmpireImage: Bridge, Belgian Congo, ca 1910

November 3 - December 1, 2008

This exhibition of historical photographic objects developed around a question central to our individual research: what was the role of photography in the creation and maintenance of empire?  We present nineteenth- and early twentieth-century photographs from the Belgian Congo and British colonies in the Middle East as case studies for the ways in which photography galvanized the (re)production of empire through visual images.  In addition, the juxtaposition of photographs from diverse global colonial projects, including the Philippines, Central Asia, and the Caribbean, expose photography as a key technology for disseminating ideologies about race and empire around the world during the colonial period.

Curated by Beth Ann Zinsli and Heather S. Sonntag.

Changelings: Artists' Books That Transform & Inspireimage: "Copper Pattern Book" by artist Cathy L. Rocca

October 1 - 31, 2008

The Bone Folders' Guild presents a delightful exhibit of "changeling" books--books that fold, flip, move, slide, twist, and rotate--books that are part toy, part book, and pure magic for the viewer.  Come experience the transformative power of the changing shapes, secret niches, and kaleidoscopic colors and images of these handmade artists' books.  The Bone Folders' Guild was formed in Madison in 2001.  Artists in the exhibit are:  Suzanne Berland, Susie Carlson, Debby Henning, Nancee Wipperfurth Killoran, Laura T. Komai, Katherine Engen Malkasian, Petra Press, Cathy L. Rocca, Karen Timm, Marilyn Wedberg, Carey Weiler, and Kristin Yates.  The exhibit runs from October 1-31, 2008 and is mounted in conjunction with the Wisconsin Book Festival.

Curated by members of the Bone Folders' Guild.

College Humor to Italian Tesserae: Celebrating the Centennial of James S. Watrousimage: cover by artist James Watrous

August 1 - September 30, 2008

Marking the centennial of James S. Watrous (1908-1999), the exhibit looks at the many contributions of this artist and art historian to the UW campus.  The exhibit was inspired by John Dobbertin, a collector of college humor magazines, and Lynne Watrous Eich, daughter of James Watrous.  During his student days in the early 1930s, “Jimmy Watrous” illustrated a number of covers and cartoons for the campus magazine called Octopus.  A few years later, he worked as a muralist for the government sponsored Public Works Art Project (PWAP) and frescoed the walls of the Paul Bunyan Room in the Memorial Union, creating striking images of that large lumberjack of folklore fame and Babe the Blue Ox.  As a doctoral candidate, Watrous studied with the noted German art historian Oskar Hagen, earning his Ph.D. in 1939, at which time he joined the Department of Art History until his retirement in 1976.   His interest in art flourished in the 1950s when he travelled to Italy to study mosaic techniques. Using small tesserae of colored Venetian glass, he created memorable mosaics for buildings on campus (Vilas Hall, Memorial Union, Ingraham Hall, and the Social Sciences Building).  His major publications include The Craft of Old-Master Drawings (1957), and A Century of American Printmaking, 1880-1980 (1984), both published by the University of Wisconsin Press. As chairman of the building committee, he played a key role in the planning and construction of the new Elvehjem Art Center, which opened in 1970.  The exhibit displays photographs, books and realia from the University Archives, the Kohler Art Library and the Watrous family.   The exhibit is mounted in conjunction with exhibits on college humor magazines at the Memorial Union and Department of Special Collections (Memorial Library) during August and September.

Curated by Lyn Korenic, director, Kohler Art Library, and David Null, director, University Archives.

Blooming Booksimage from Codex seraphinianus

June 18 - July 31, 2008

The books in these cases all explore the beauty and wonder of nature found in flowers, trees, blossoms and leaves. The colors of summer, the burst of a bud, the growth of a vine, and the potential of a seed are all evident in these wonderfully inventive artists' books. A variety of book structures and bindings are used to explore this theme: pop-up, tunnel, accordion, interlocking forms and concertina, among others. And what's a plant community without bugs? They're here for your viewing pleasure as well!

The books are on exhibit at the Kohler Art Library from June 18-July 31, 2008.

Curated by Lyn Korenic.

Sketchbooks: Selections from the Kohler Art Libraryimage from Picasso, "Carnet Catalan"

February 18 - May 19, 2008

One can almost see the hand of an artist by looking at a sketchbook.  Artists use sketchbooks to quickly capture a fleeting moment depicted in a scene, face, impression, interior view, animal, rambling thought (doodle), or general idea. Sketchbooks come in all sizes, but for the most part they are portable and accompany the artist to local sites or faraway places.   Facsimiles have been published to reproduce the exact sketchbook and/or pages of the sketchbook used by the artist.  Smudges, rips, stains, and stray marks are all reproduced to match the original artifact.  The art library has a growing collection of these facsimiles, such as the sketchbooks of Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Paul Klee, and Le Corbusier, among others.  Contemporary book artists such as Henrik Drescher and Susan Bee incorporate a sketchbook-like quality in their work with splashes of dazzling color and playful line drawings.  All of the sketchbooks on display show work that is “in the moment” and unrehearsed.  They are fresh, vibrant, and great fun to view!  This exhibit is a corollary to the “Workbooks” exhibit currently on display in Memorial Library, Special Collections.  Both exhibits run from February 18 – May 19, 2008.

Curated by Lyn Korenic.

The Scientist's Eye: Dialogues between Art & Science
an exhibition of artist and rare books from the Kohler Art Library and Special Collections (Memorial Library) image: from J. Mohns, "Cartesian Dreams" (1994)

January 14 - February 16, 2008

The disciplinary division between the visual arts and the natural sciences was not always as strictly demarcated as our contemporary academic conventions might suggest; rather, the line between art and science was blurry, by preference and necessity. Many prime movers of the Scientific Revolution, including Copernicus, Vesalius, Hooke and Descartes saw the visual arts as an essential piece of scientific inquiry and the dissemination of knowledge. The motivation behind The Scientist’s Eye: Dialogues between Art & Science is to explore the visual discourse between artistic expression and scientific inquiry. Many rare books from Special Collections and artists’ books from the Kohler Art Library dialogue directly with one another, creating a transhistorical conversation that indicates the profound interactions between the arts and sciences.

The Scientist's Eye is presented in conjunction with "Visualizing Science," an interdisciplinary conference organized by the Visual Culture Center at UW-Madison. For more information about VCC events, please visit www.visualculture.wisc.edu/events.htm. Funding for The Scientist's Eye is provided by the Department of Art History at UW-Madison.

There will be an exhibition viewing and curators' talk in the Kohler Art Library on February 8 at 3:30-4:00 pm.

This exhibition was co-curated by Amy Noell and Beth Zinsli. Amy Noell is a PhD Student in the Department of Art History at UW-Madison. She studies transnational contemporary art and visual culture.  Beth Zinsli is a PhD Student in the Department of Art History at UW-Madison. She studies the global history of photography.

Exhibits in 2007

image from Ediciones VigiaThe Art of Ediciones Vigia: Handmade Books from Cuba

September 19 - November 18, 2007

On display are over 50 books published by Ediciones Vigia, or Vigia Press, an “editorial collective” which began in the mid-1980s in Mantanzas, Cuba.  The books, usually made in small editions of 200 copies, are collaborative works between Cuban artists, artisans and writers.  Vigia Press provides a ‘semi-official’ publishing venue outside government controlled publishing entities.  Noted contemporary Cuban writers such as Nancy Morejon, Ruth Behar and Senel Paz have contributed their work to Vigia Press.  These creative works utilize natural and recycled materials such as twigs, leaves, dried flowers, brown craft paper, and twine.  The books are on loan from Associate Professor Linda S. Howe, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  This book exhibit is part of the multi-month conference, “Afro-Cuba at the Crossroads: Arts, Culture, History,” organized by Art History faculty member Professor Henry Drewal.  Professor Howe will present a talk, “Ediciones Vigia: The Cultural Politics of Bookmaking in Cuba,” in the Kohler Art Library on September 21, from 4:00-05:00 pm.  The exhibit is on view in the Kohler Art Library from September 19-November 18, 2007.

Curated by Linda Howe, Lyn Korenic, and Keisha Simpson.

image: from Chen CollectionChinese Art Books from the Simon and Rosemary Chen Collection

July 13 - September 16, 2007

In 2006, the Kohler Art Library received over 200 books and serials on Chinese art from Simon and Rosemary Chen. This extraordinary gift focuses on contemporary Chinese art from the late 19th century to the present day. Most of the books and serials, some of which are rare, were acquired by the Chens during travels to Taiwan in the 1970s and to mainland China in the 1980s. Many of the titles are owned only by a small number of libraries worldwide and are not available on the book market today. The sizeable and important donation creates a new collection of strength for the library. Simon Chen, a local engineer, placed his chop (the characters translate: Self Reliance Hall Collection of Chinese Books and Paintings) in each item to mark their provenance. Complementing the library gift, the Chens donated a collection of over seventy works of Chinese paintings, calligraphy, and rubbings dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries to the Chazen Museum of Art. Important works in the collection include paintings by the early Qing artists Zhu Da (1626-1705) and Yu Zhiding (1647-1716) and by the Republican artists Gao Qifeng (1889-1933) and Chang Dai-chien (1899-1983). The most recent examples of art represent the revival of traditional ink-painting techniques in mainland China after the Cultural Revolution. The gift of Chinese art books and paintings combine to form an invaluable teaching and research tool in the arts and humanities. The exhibit runs from July 13-September 16, 2007.

Curated by Lyn Korenic.

image: work by artist Julie Chen

Book (fri)Ends: Friends of the UW-Madison Library support artists' books

May 1 - June 30, 2007

Proceeds from the UW-Madison Friends of the Library Booksale are awarded annually to campus libraries for the purposes of acquisition and preservation of library materials. Since 2001, the Kohler Art Library has been the fortunate recipient of this important grant funding. Our wonderful "book friends" directly supported the purchase of the eight artists' books currently on display by Harriet Bart, Carol Chase Bjerke, Julie Chen, Maureen Cummins, Johanna Drucker, Brad Freeman, and Jackson Mac Low. Special thanks to the Friends of the Library! The exhibit runs May 1 - June 30, 2007.

Curated by Lyn Korenic.

image: collection logo

The Artists' Book Collection Online!

February 15 - April 30, 2007

Marking the debut of the online Artists' Book Collection, the exhibit displays a selection of limited edition and one-of-a-kind works from the Kohler Art Library's large collection of art books. Now available to browse and discover online, the Artists' Book Collection (http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/ArtistsBks), serves as a "visual finding aid" that provides detailed indexing to each artists' book. Users can browse the entire Artists' Book Collection, or search for individual works by artist, press name, medium, binding, structure, collaborator role, or any word contained in the colophon. The Artists' Book Collection is available for viewing by appointment. The exhibit runs from February 15, 2007-April 30, 2007.

Curated by Lyn Korenic.

image: "Backwards and Forwards" by artist Susan kae Grant

Student books

November 1, 2006 - January 31, 2007

The books in this exhibit are representative examples of student works printed in typography and graphic design courses taught by Professor Philip M. Hamilton during his earliest years of teaching at the UW-Madison, 1964-1985. The students have combined handset type with photography, relief printing, serigraphy, intaglio and lithography to produce books as works of art. The books include pieces produced by familiar professional artists, designers and cartographers who are now or have worked at the UW-Madison, such as Professor Bill Weege, Professor Jim Escalante, the late David Woodward, John Risseeuw, Susan Kae Grant, Kevin Henkes, Marta Gomez, and the late Joe Wilfer, among others. The books are part of a larger gift of student books donated to the Kohler Art Library by Professor Hamilton. The exhibition runs from November 1, 2006-January 31, 2007.

Curated by Lyn Korenic.

Exhibits in 2006

image: work by artist Jim Lee

Rooted in Wisconsin: Artists' Books & the UW-Madison

April 1 - May 30, 2006

This exhibit was a selection of the work of UW-Madison alumni and faculty that are represented in the Artists’ Book Collection at the Kohler Art Library. The books on exhibit span 1978-2004. Some pieces reflect student work, but most of them were created after the student left the UW. Faculty members such as Claire Van Vliet, Walter Hamady, and Phil Hamilton shaped a generation of students, leaving a lasting imprint on many of the artists on view, most of whom are still actively involved in creating artists’ books.

Curated by Tracy Honn and Lyn Korenic.

image: work by artist Lewis Koch

Lewis Koch: About Time, 25 Years of New Year's Cards

December 1, 2005 - January 31, 2006

For nearly three decades, artist/photographer Lewis Koch has been creating New Year's cards to delight and occasionally bewilder his friends. Koch's annual tradition of card making uses collage, photography and wordplay as a contemplation of the transient nature of time, to mourn the passing of another year and celebrate the next. Presented together for the first time are twenty-five years of cards, accompanied by source material from books and broadsides, original photographs, rubber stamps and other ephemera. The exhibit was on view from December 1, 2005 - January 31, 2006 at the Kohler Art Library.

Curated by Lewis Koch.

Exhibits in 2005

image: work by artist Mary Nohl

Mary Nohl: Smaller Works

April 1 - May 31, 2005

Mary Nohl (1914-2001) did not label herself artist or craftsman, but enjoyed the process of "arts activities." She may be seen as sculptor, painter, jeweler, illustrator, writer--but especially, builder. Mary's greatest body of work became the unified whole of her home, informed by her familiar surroundings and by the world at large. Although she is best known for her sculpture-filled yard surrounding her cottage decorated with wood cutouts in Fox Point, Wisconsin, this display presents a glimpse beyond, into the interior realm of her lesser-known jewelry, ceramics, wire sculpture and drawings. The exhibit ranfrom April 1-May 31, 2005 at the Kohler Art Library.

Curated by Jane Bianco, UW-Madison alumna.

image: work by artist Schomer Lichtner

Dancing with Cows: In Celebration of Schomer Lichtner

February 19 - March 31, 2005

On March 18, 2005, Milwaukee artist Schomer Lichtner will celebrate his 100th birthday! Known for his colorful depictions of ballerinas and cows, Lichtner is still actively engaged in creating art. The artists’ books, paper sculptures, and archival prints of his paintings will delight viewers with their whimsy, humor, and joy of life. A UW-Madison student from 1927-1930, Lichtner took classes from art historian Oscar Hagen, worked for Porter Butts at the Memorial Union art gallery, and even was acquainted with Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibit at the Kohler Art Library ran from February 19-March 31, 2005.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Rob Nurre.

Exhibits in 2004

image: chamber pot

The Chamber Pot: Culture Contained

November 15 - December 31, 2004

Is there a cultural story in your toilet? What about in a chamber pot? Chamber pots have largely been neglected by the academic community and polite circles due to their less than savory connotations. This exhibit of chamber pots from 1450 to 1940 looks at the field of material culture as an approach to studying objects, analyzing the shifting cultural values embodied in the use of and production of chamber pots. The show ran from November 15th until December 31st, 2004.

Curated by Matthew Baumann, Meghan Doherty, Matthew Harris, Ellen Hickman, Andrea Hoffman, Anna Huntley, Margaret Lee, Philip Lyons, Cory Pillen, and Sooyun Sohn (graduate students in Art History 800, "Ceramics in America," taught by Professor Ann Smart Martin).

image: work by artist Katherine Engen Malkasian

A Progressive Conversation Party

October 1-31, 2004

In conjunction with the 3rd annual Wisconsin Book Festival, members of the Bone Folders' Guild collaboratively created artists' books addressing Ethel Cotton's "Course in Conversation" (1959 edition). The exhibit recalls the etiquette of the 1950s, when the game of sparkling conversation was considered a social art. The artists participating include: Carol Chase Bjerke, Suzanne Berland, Nancee Wipperfurth Killoran, Karen Timm, Katherine Engen Malkasian, Marily Wedberg, Susan Carlson, Carey Weiler, and Linda Streifender. The opening will be held October 9, from 5:00-7:00 pm. During the opening "A Progressive Conversation Party" will be played. Come join the artists for "the game." The exhibition could be viewed at the Kohler Art Library from October 1-31, 2004.

Curated by Carol Chase Bjerke and Susan Carlson.

image: work by artist Xu Bing

The Book Artistry of Xu Bing

September 1-30, 2004

Chinese-born artist Xu Bing works in a variety of mediums, from the graphic art of woodblock printing, which he incorporates in his artists' books, to large scale installations, such as the "net of words" based on a passage from Thoreau currently on display upstairs in the Elvehjem Museum of Art's Paige Court. The Kohler Art Library's collection is fortunate to include two of Xu Bing's artist's books: Tianshu or Book from the Sky and Square Word Calligraphy, which are on exhibit in conjunction with the Elvehjem Museum of Art's exhibition of "The Net," and "Xu Bing: The Glassy Surface of a Lake." Xu Bing's books, like his installations and drawings, are works of fine art that deal with the written word and altered meanings.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Rob Nurre.

image: work by artist Karen Timm

The Book as Art

April 2 - May 2, 2004

The Bone Folders' Guild was founded in February 2001 as a network of regional book artists who learn from, support and encourage each other artistically. As a group, they frequently challenge each other to produce artist books based on themes. Examples of these artist books will be on display.

Also on display is "If Death Were a Woman Interpreted," the collaborative project between the Bone Folders' Guild and Ellen Kort, Wisconsin's Poet Laureate. With Kort's permission, the artists of the Bone Folders' Guild created the artists' books as expressions of their connection to her poem.

The participating artists of the Bone Folders' Guild are Suzanne Berland, Carol Chase Bjerke, Susan Carlson, Nancee Wipperfurth Killoran, Katherine Engen Malkasian, Tricia Schriefer, Karen Timm and Marilyn Wedberg.

Curated by Carol Chase Bjerke and Karen Timm.

image: "Quiver" by artist Carol Chase Bjerke

The Photograph as a Book: Artist Books by Carol Chase Bjerke

March 1 - April 1, 2004

This exhibit focuses on the combination of books and photographs and the tradition and challenge to the readers and artists they provide. Books and the photos that go with them have the ability to capture and delight artists and readers alike and share a rich tradition of multiple imagery, narrative and their stance in society as culturally-integrated objects, according to Bjerke.

Curated by Carol Chase Bjerke.

Exhibit is part of PhotoMidwest 2004.

image: "Strange Fruit" by artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

An Artist with a Mission: Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

February 1-29, 2004

The Kohler Art Library features an exhibit of alumni book artist and fine printer, Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., from February 1-29, 2004. Kennedy employs historic printing methods through which he expresses his socio-political views about such topics as: the vulnerability of children, his African heritage, and community activism. Kennedy specializes in old-world traditions of creating paper by hand from pulp, typesetting text, illustration of African symbolism, and covering his books with African mud cloth. Kennedy's passion for book art is evidenced in his cover-to-cover creations of books in a variety of non-traditional forms, such as wearable charm books. Viewing Kennedy's work is an exercise in consciousness, you will be moved.

Curated by Nola P. Walker, SLIS doctoral student.

image: work by artist Jo Anna Poehlmann

Book Artists' Holiday Greetings

December 10, 2003 - January 31, 2004

As a complement to its Artists' Book Collection, the Kohler Art Library has a growing body of ephemeral material designed by book artists. On display are some of the holiday greetings sent by book artists over the years to the Kohler Art Library or to the former art library director, William C. Bunce. The greetings are from John Carrera, Steve Clay, Bill Drendel, Marta Gomez and Ivan Soll, Caren Heft, Tracy Honn, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Lewis Koch, Katherine Kuehn, Ronald King, Jim Lee, Jo Anna Poehlmann, Joan Soppe, and Claire Van Vliet. Other types of ephemera in the collection include small exhibition catalogs, artists' biographical information, prospectuses for books, postcards and other correspondence.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Rob Nurre.