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JAB30 & the Future
by Brad Freeman
This is the tenth issue of JAB to be produced at the Center for Book & Paper Arts (CBPA) at Columbia College Chicago (CCC). During this time a number of changes in editorial, production, and creative aspects have occurred which I think have improved JAB’s ability to document and analyze the field of artists’ books. JAB’s symbiotic relationship within Columbia College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts has evolved over the past five years. Part of this growth includes the active and crucial involvement of our Print Production Fellows (all of whom are graduate students in the MFA Program) in producing JAB, as well as other publication projects. The current Fellows, Jenna Rodriguez and Claire Sammons, while learning the techniques of print production, have become indispensable with their work stripping film, platemaking, press work, and post production work on JAB30. During their three semester tenure they will also learn digital file preparation, film imagesetting, and general print publication tasks and strategies. Alumni of the MFA Program are also working with JAB. In this issue Karol Shewmaker (MFA 2009) has written an essay about recent work by the Portuguese artist Isabel Baraona (page 18). Shewmaker also wrote reviews of three publication projects by French artists (page 44). Brandon Graham (MFA 2007) produced a well-researched essay about Helen Douglas and Telfer Stokes of Weproductions (page 30). This opportunity for community building through writing about contemporary publication arts has presented itself at a propitious moment of increasing activity within the field.
Familiar artists and writers as well as new comprise JAB30, reflecting the maturation of the artists’ book genre and demonstrating its appeal to new generations. Among the familiar—Ulises Carrión wrote the provocative “The New Art of Making Books” in the early 70’s and its relevance today becomes clear in (newcomer to JAB) Gerrit Jan de Rook’s article starting on the facing page. Also new to JAB is scholar and artist Manuel Portela with his essay about the typo-poesis of Johanna Drucker, another familiar voice in these pages (page 7). Catarina Figueiredo Cardoso makes her second contribution to JAB with an essay about and interview with the artist Isabel Baraona (page 14). That Cardosa, Baraona, and Portela are all Portuguese reflects the continuing growth of scholarly and artistic activity around the artist’s book in Portugal. Chicago artist Kevin Riordan makes his JAB debut with the stunning digital collage at the center of this issue.
Karen Wirth, who has written before in JAB, gives us an excellent essay about the use of the blank page in artists’ books (page 38). The final article in these pages is a first-hand history by the Australian Ted Hopkins about Champion Books (page 47). Attached to the inside back cover is a glassine envelope containing the new book &&& by Eric Carlson, a Minnesota artist and first time contributor to JAB. As with any art form, artists’ books have a wide geographic reach. It continues to be our editorial position to reflect that, and to search out good writers wherever we can.
JAB receives compelling new books all the time, many from artists previously unknown to us. We feel that reviews of this work are among the most useful things we can offer our readers, and if gifted new reviewers continue to come on board, we will expand this section.
Don’t forget to renew your subscription—these are exciting times, as our field gains impressive new artists, and we hope you continue to stay with us.
JAB30 was offset printed (in a whirlwind mad rush to finish before the New York Art Book Fair) on the Heidelberg GTO (eine farben) at the Center for Book & Paper Arts by BF, Jenna Rodriguez, and Claire Sammons in September 2011.
Digital files were imageset at CBPA on the Agfa Avantra 25. The paper is Mohawk Superfine, Ultrawhite.
The cover image, designed by James Prez, was printed in quadtone on the GTO. The fonts are Ehrhardt and Stymie, kindly recommended by the inimitable and knowledgable Alastair Johnston.
This marks the return of a slab serif used in previous issues with Memphis, a copy of the more reputable Stymie.
Kathi Beste, past Print Production Fellow, photographed Isabel Baraona’s books. Steve Woodall provided sage editorial advice and expert copy editing.
Design by BF.
See more of the special pages, spreads, and inserts from Jab30.