Paper & Ink
An exhibit of artists’ books and historical research by students in a cluster based around Muhlenberg College’s Rare Books collection.
May 7, 2017 - June 30, 2017 - Rare Books Exhibit Room, Level B, Trexler Library
The work in this exhibition comes from an integrative project completed by students in the cluster Paper & Ink: Art and History of the Book.
A cluster is made up of two distinct classes that share the same group of students. The two classes introduce methods from separate fields to explore a single topic. Books and Their Readers, taught by Lynda Yankaskas, focuses on the history of reading and printing technology primarily in the U.S. Printmaking and the Book, taught by Emily Orzech, focuses on contemporary visual expression through the creation of artist’s books.
What is printmaking?
Printmaking is the process of creating an image on one surface and transferring it onto another through the use of pressure, allowing for multiple copies to be created, much like a rubber stamp. Students in Printmaking and the Book learned linocut, screenprint, and photocopy lithography along with book binding techniques.
What is an artist’s book?
Artist’s books are visual art objects that reference traditional book forms. Visual material may unfold over a series of pages, may include traditional bindings, and may include a written text.
What is book history?
Book history includes the study of authorship (who wrote what, and why), reception (who read what, and how did readers respond to books), and publishing (how were books as physical objects made, and what were the economics and politics of book production and distribution). Students in Books and Their Readers learned about authorship, reception, and publishing since the invention of moveable-type printing in Europe in the 15th century, with a focus on developments in the United States.
Where did the work in this exhibit come from?
Each student spent the semester working with a particular volume from Muhlenberg’s Rare Books Collection. Students researched each book’s biography, placing it in the context of the history of reading and book production. As part of their integrative assignment each student then created a contemporary artist’s book based on this historical research. Students were asked to visually respond to the content or context of the book. This response might include referencing historical archives, critiquing certain positions within the book such as Orientalism, or reflecting on how past events resonate in the contemporary moment. Students could use any technique or combination of techniques they learned in Professor Orzech’s class.
Florence Foerderer Tonner: A Life of Art and Ideas
February 1, 2017 - May 1, 2017
Rare Books Exhibit Room, Level B, Trexler Library
Trexler Library’s Special Collections and the Martin Art Gallery present an exhibit celebrating art and rare books from the collection of Florence Foerderer Tonner (1882-1971). A Philadelphia collector and philanthropist, Florence Tonner at her death bequeathed her Delaware River estate, Glen Foerd, and its contents to the Lutheran Church in America. Over time, the maintenance costs of the estate became too great for the Church to sustain, and the house reverted back to the custodianship of the local community. Today it is run by the Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation, and is the only one of the grand old Delaware River summer mansions to be restored and open to the public as a museum.
Because of Muhlenberg College’s close relationship with the LCA, much of Florence’s print and rare books collections were donated to the College, where they have served as invaluable educational resources for the Muhlenberg community. From first editions of Hemingway and Steinbeck, important landmarks books on art collecting, and children’s books, to an important hand-colored copy of William Blake’s Night Thoughts, Florence’s print and book collections have provided a wide-ranging selection of interdisciplinary treasures. This exhibit, which takes place in the Rare Books Exhibit Room on Level B of Trexler Library, also contains several oil paintings that came with the bequest, by artists including Theodore Rosseau, Louis Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, and others.