This 4-part lecture series is presented in conjunction with The Art of the Book exhibition on view in the Farnsworth’s Craig Gallery January 14 through April 1, 2012, which is an exploration of the museum’s eclectic collection of primarily nineteenth and twentieth century rare, first edition, and out-of-print books ranging from the earliest purchases by Robert Bellows in the 1940s to important donations made throughout the museum’s history. This lecture series will expound upon this theme to highlight different aspects of book arts, including illustrated books, book binding, rare book conservation, and artists’ books.
Series tickets may be purchased on this page. For individual lecture tickets, please click on the lecture title below.
Lecture by Richard Lindemann, Director of Special Collections & Archives at Bowdoin College
This illustrated lecture will trace western book illustration from the illuminated manuscript to such contemporary works as artists’ books and e-books. Maine illustrators and book artists will be prominently featured among the examples, drawn primarily from rare books in the Bowdoin College Library. Among the printed works (the earliest dated 1478) are several notable collections, including early American, Maine, and British imprints; Hawthorne and Longfellow collections; fine press printings and books in fine bindings; artists' books; and pop-ups. Some of the works now found in Bowdoin’s Special Collections have been in the College's possession since soon after its founding in 1794.
Richard Lindemann has served as director of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives at Bowdoin College for twelve years. Previously, he held positions in Special Collections at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Virginia, and Emory University. He holds a PhD in Medieval European History from the University of Virginia and an MA in librarianship from Emory University. Lindemann speaks before groups and at professional meetings about the history of the book, curating rare book and manuscript collections, and about the distinguished collections held by Bowdoin College.
Lecture by Alison Kuller, bookbinder and conservator
From the perspective of a book conservator, this lecture will explore how a book ages and the various considerations for its care. From the choice of materials used in the production of the book, to the successive care of its owners, the choices made by a book’s handlers will have enormous impact on its lifespan. In addition, this lecture will consider how the electronic age has affected the value of the tangible, printed book. While the idea of a book as a work-of-art is not new, nor is the idea of a single book having enormous value; what is new, is that in an electronic age where fewer books are printed, their value may increase simply because of their scarcity. These volumes are likely to find an audience because of their authenticity, longevity, and beauty. They are also likely to become curiosities of an earlier age, intriguing chiefly for the stability of their format.
Alison Kuller is a bookbinder and conservator who was trained at the North Bennet Street School in Boston and has since worked at a variety of libraries and labs, including the Widener Library at Harvard and the Northeast Document Conservtion Center in Andover, MA. Her private work includes commissions for individuals and institutions nationwide.
Lecture by Michael K. Komanecky, Chief Curator at the Farnsworth Art Museum
This lecture will feature an in depth look into one of the works in The Art of the Book exhibition, N.C. Wyeth’s illustrations for Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel, Ramona: A Story. Although Wyeth’s Ramona illustrations are little known when compared to his more popular illustrations from earlier in the century, they hold a significant place in American culture when considering that Jackson’s novel stands as one of the most popular and enduring early American novels. This lecture will explore how the depictions of Ramona created by numerous illustrators served to both enhance the author’s own imagery and to create a popular parallel vision of the story and its characters.
Lecture by Britta Konau, arts writer and independent curator
This richly illustrated lecture will explore the manifold forms contemporary artists’ books take, as well as the issues that are unique to this art form. Artists’ books vary widely, from bound books to scrolls, folded forms to collected items in a container. Many incorporate other art forms such as painting and photography, and often involve collaborations, especially with poets and writers. Artists’ books can be diaristic, narrative, or driven by form. Konau will discuss what sets artists’ books apart from other forms of creative expression and delve into the particular issues posed by their format, including sequentially and the need for handling. Examples will be drawn from book artists all over the world with a particular emphasis on artists working in Maine.
Britta Konau is an arts writer and independent curator of contemporary art. She was the curator at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport and held curatorial positions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, both in Washington, DC. Konau is the main author of Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters, a contributing writer to the upcoming book Maine Art New, and is currently writing for Maine Home + Design, the Portland Phoenix, and the Free Press where her biweekly column art current appears.
Series Reservation for Farnsworth Members $28
Series Reservation for Nonmembers $36
Individual Lectures $8 members, $10 nonmembers