I had the privilege to attend the opening reception to a wonderful artist book exhibit last night and the Grolier Club. The inventive book artist, Shawn Sheehy invited me to join him at the event where we met up with the always cheery, Ed Hutchins and Ellen Rubin, the popuplady. The gallery was packed wall to wall with artists, book collectors and book lovers but I was able to squeeze off one photo of Sheehy next to his work.
“Beyond the Text: Artists’ Books from the Collection of Robert J. Ruben,” includes over 60 examples of accordion books, codices, scrolls, box books, pop-ups and tunnel books, in every variety of mixed media. Some are by artists of international renown, others by new artists forging their creative paths. Some of the books have previously known texts, others new texts or no texts at all, and the subject matter ranges from political, argumentative, ironic, lyrical, to tragic.
In speaking with the very pleasant Dr. Robert J. Ruben, I learned that this show represents about ten percent of his notable collection, which he has been amassing since he picked up his first artist book in 1952. Ruben has two intellectual centers to his life: medicine and books. A leader in the medical field of Otolaryngology, Ruben has also been an ardent student and collector of artists’ books for twenty-five years, and a similar exhibition of his artists’ books, “Beyond the Text”, was held at Adelphi University a few years ago.
This exhibition is accompanied by an impressive catalog with beautiful full-page color illustrations of each book. The catalog is a joint effort of the art historian, Yvonne Korshak, PhD and the collector, Robert Ruben, MD and is available for purchase at the venue. The show will be on exhibit at the Grolier Club, Second Floor Gallery, 47 East 60th Street, New York, NY, 10022, from March 25th through May 28th, 2010, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public so you have no excuse not to see it for yourself.