The Center for Book Arts: Then & Now

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday June 18, 2015

Book Arts. Art of the Book. Artist’s Books. Printmaking. Book Binding. Paper Arts. These are just a few of the terms that come into play in the subject at hand, and one of the reasons that [I’ll stick with] Book Arts is, perhaps the ultimate interdisciplinary art of our time. 

The Center for Book Arts, located in New York City’s Flatiron District, is a leader in the field, and the first not-for-profit center of its kind in the country. Founded in 1974, it has become a model for other such organizations that have since proliferated from coast to coast. 

In celebrating its 40th anniversary, CBA has produced a series of exhibitions that reveal the many faces of Book Arts, from printing and binding; writing; collecting; and conservation. The current show, Then & Now: Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for Book Arts, organized by Executive Director and Curator Alexander Campos, offers a microcosmic view of the possibilities that artists explore using paper [but not always]; printing [but not always]; binding [but not always]; stitching [often]; architecture [sometimes]; performance, music and video [more often than you might think]; and imagination [always].


Two of the core programs at CBA are its Artist-in-Residence Workspace Grant program and the Scholarship for Advanced Study in Book Arts. By looking at work created by 60 artists who have participated in these one-year grant programs over the past ten years, visitors can appreciate the many shapes created through this evolving art form. Photos above and below offer a sampling of what’s on view.

Tomorrow, Friday, June 19 at 6:30 pm, CBA presents a round-table discussion with several of the artists from Then & Now. Cecile Chong, Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Juana Valdes, and Jenifer Wightman will discuss their work and how their experiences as artists-in-residence at the Center have influenced their current practices. Also joining the discussion will be Rory Golden, founder of the Workspace Artist-in-Residence program. Information.

Then & Now: 
Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for Book Arts, and two companion exhibitions: Featured Artist Projects: 2014 Workspace Artist-in-Residence and Linda Carreiro: Inside Out of Words, continue through June 27 at The Center for Book Arts, 28 West 27th Street, Third Floor, NY, NY. Information

The exhibition Then & Now will travel, opening at the Castle Gallery at The College of New Rochelle, on September 8. An exhibition catalogue is in production. Workshops and Certificate Program classes continue. Information. Photos courtesy Center for Book Arts.