Recordings is a series of books that are the result of a physical interaction between the printer and the offset press. Colors are added to the press during printing following a predetermined “score.” The act of printing becomes an act of performance, and the book is the evidence of its occurrence. Recordings conflate books and sculpture. They use the machinery of mechanical reproduction to create visual records of specific, unrepeatable conditions of color and change.
“Heirloom” Pop-Up Art Book by Alison Ann Woodward unfolds piece by piece to reveal the anatomy of a white horned creature.
William T. Hornaday: Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting
Here’s another spoiler for our 1st floor exhibit case: Dave brought this beautiful book from his home to go in our display among our information about William T. Hornaday. This book, Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting, was published in 1891 during his term as Chief Taxidermist for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
From an artistic, historical, and biological standpoint, this book is absolutely fascinating to look through! In so many aspects was Hornaday ahead of his time in regards towards animal preparation and taxidermy, and this book discusses some techniques which we still employ in our museum today. In many aspects of his personal life, however, Hornaday was a controversial and stubborn figure, but nevertheless passionate about wildlife and working ultimately towards its conservation. Someday I’ll tell you all about the time he put a pygmy person from the Congo named Ota Benga on display in the National Zoo in the primates exhibit as a way to illustrate convergent evolution, but that is totally another story.
The “Victorian Blood Book” from the Library of Evelyn Waugh
Evelyn Waugh, whose manuscripts and 3,500-volume library are now at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, was an inveterate collector of things Victorian (and well ahead of most of his contemporaries in this regard). Undoubtedly the most curious object in the Waugh library is a large oblong folio decoupage book known affectionately as the “Victorian Blood Book.”
Since it arrived here in the late 1960s, the “Blood Book” has fascinated everyone who has seen it. Its decoupage was assembled from several hundred engravings, many taken from books of etchings by William Blake. The principal motifs are natural (birds, animals, and especially snakes) and Christian (images of the cross, scenes from the Bible, and crusaders). Drops of red india ink and extensive commentary have been added to many of the images. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and the adhesion of the decoupages is still perfect. The book bears an inscription by one John Bingley Garland to his daughter Amy dated September 1, 1854.
All 41 plates of the book can be seen here.
( via )
I kept repeating chance words after her —barmen, alarmin’, my charmin’, my carmen, ahmen, ahahamen—as one talking and laughing in his sleep while my happy hand crept up her sunny leg as far as the shadow of decency allowed. The day before she had collided with the heavy chest in the hall and—“Look, look!” —I gasped— “look what you’ve done, what you’ve done to yourself, ah, look”; for there was, I swear, a yellowish-violet bruise on her lovely nymphet thigh which my huge hairy hand massaged and slowly enveloped—and because of her very perfunctory underthings, there seemed to be nothing to prevent my muscular thumb from reaching the hot hollow of her groin—just as you might tickle and caress a giggling child—just that—and: “Oh it’s nothing at all,” she cried with a sudden shrill note in her voice, and she wiggled, and squirmed, and threw her head back, and her teeth rested on her glistening underlip as she half-turned away, and my moaning mouth, gentlemen of the jury, almost reached her bare neck, while I crushed out against her left buttock the last throb of the longest ecstasy man or monster had ever known.
-Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Mary Shelley’s ’Frankenstein’ - Bookbinding by Dimitri
“I wanted the binding to convey the essence of the story, that its mere view could tell you what’s inside, to be intrigued by it. And what would be more iconic for the specific book than to be bound from leather scraps stitched together? I searched at the drawer where I keep leftovers of the leathers I use and took up random pieces. I wasn’t picky, I even chose some with minor stains, and most of the pieces vary in their texture, from smooth to porous to buffed ones. I wanted something a bit “messy” and just a hint gross.
Last but not least, I wanted something really special for the endpapers, so I found some anatomy notes from 1830 and Voila!”
18th century perfume bottle and notes for perfume making
“Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.
Dettmer manipulates the pages and spines to form the shape of his sculptures. He also folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create completely original sculptural forms.
“My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception,” he says.”
Decline of Discipline - Troels Carlsen