All Exhibitions

A Way With Words: the Power and Art of the Book

On view:

Exhibiting Artists

Cara Barer, Doug Beube, Long-Bin Chen, Casey Curran, Brian Dettmer, Ann Hamilton, Andrew Hayes, Lisa Kokin, Guy Laramée, Mike Stilkey, Robert The, CMA Permanent Collection

View installation images here.

Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) is pleased to announce A Way With Words: The Power and Art of the Book, an exhibition that presents artworks which draw attention to the long and remarkable history of the book, on view from November 29, 2018 to April 29, 2019.

The invention of the printing press in the 1440s launched the book into the industrial age, increasing the production and distribution of the written word, and with it, knowledge and literacy. Today, our libraries are filled with millions of books, and the digital age allows us to access literature instantly in the palm of our hand. Because the book has been produced around the globe, it has become a versatile and creative source of artistic inspiration.

Including works by Cara Barer, Doug Beube, Long-Bin Chen, Casey Curran, Brian Dettmer, Ann Hamilton, Andrew Hayes, Lisa Kokin, Guy Laramée, Mike Stilkey, and Robert The, Way With Words will show the transformation of everyday books into expressions of identity, community, environmentalism, memory, and reconstructed narratives. Families will see unconventional treatments such as cutting, weaving, tearing, burning, and shredding, as artists transform books into sculptures, animation, drawings, and paintings that capture the book’s significant history and power to inform the public. Children and their families will also create their own artworks inspired by the exhibition.

Top image: Robert The, Book Lobster ‘Art of the Masters’, 2011, altered book. Courtesy JHB Gallery, New York

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Also on view

  • The Bridge Space Bridge Project: Rachel Marks: Naturae Liber

    Paris-based artist Rachel Marks‘ new installation in the Bridge Space creates an immersive installation in which families will be invited to see and hear the story of the unnatural forest. With each step into this otherworldly plant life, objects seem familiar yet peculiar. A once recognizable structure, the book, becomes overthrown with cutting, ripping, painting, sanding, and stacking, transforming to create vegetation, vines growing and fungi popping out of windowed portholes. This site-specific installation of a peaceful forest is completely constructed head-to-toe from donated used books. The viewers are invited to walk down the paper trail and immerse themselves in the tranquil and calming environment. Naturae Liber features tree trunks created from old book covers, a waterfall created from hundreds of attached pages, live foliage hanging from the ceiling, and delicate paper mushrooms growing out from the walls and windows.

    Naturae Liber, Latin for free nature or book nature, addresses the exchange of knowledge within the forest as well as our relationship with nature. Latin, the root language of the languages present within the reclaimed book pages, takes both the content and the book object back to its natural source. The different languages and subjects found on the pages here work together in harmony to sustain this forest community. This fully immersive installation tells the story of how the trees communicate and share together like a living library.

    Rachel Marks is an American artist, performer and dancer living and working in Paris. Her background in dancing with the Oklahoma City Ballet transposes into her performances, where she uses dance as an artistic medium in her work. Rachel’s work looks at the relationship between nature and language. Her practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, and performance, and her works and performances are regularly shown in France as well as internationally.   

    The installation is on view during public hours. Guided tours inside the installation run Thursday-Sunday from 4:15-4:45 pm.

    Watch the preview video here.

    View installation images here.

    Presented in partnership with ABSTRKT and curator Ché Morales

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