The Reader Belongs to the Play: Artists’ Books and the Library
Join us for the final event in our series on Alphabet and Artist Books with special guests Clara Drummond and Maggie Welch.
Asked what the purpose of a book is, Bruno Munari, the Italian artist, designer, and bookmaker, answered, “To pass on knowledge or pleasure or, in any case, to increase our knowledge of the world.” His books famously attempt to increase knowledge in playful ways and encouraged readers to interact with the books by engaging multiple senses: to open treasure boxes or windows, peer through holes, and turn translucent pages, for example. This focus on interactivity and engaging the multiple senses of a reader remains a prominent feature of many contemporary artists' books today. Taking a 2019 student-curated exhibit Paper Play as a starting point, we will consider how artists’ books demand play and how librarians can facilitate playful encounters in a physical and/or virtual setting.
Clara Drummond is a curator and exhibition coordinator at the Special Collections Library, Penn State University. She has curated exhibitions on the secret lives of girls and women, fairy-tale wolves, and Jane Austen, to name a few. She holds a PhD in Editorial Studies from Boston University, an MLIS from Simmons University, and was previously a curator of manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum.
Maggie Welch is an artist and recent Penn State grad based in Austin TX. She worked for the Eberly Family Special Collections as the Stelts-Filippelli Curatorial Intern in 2019 and 2020 and curated the exhibition Paper Play, which featured artists' books. Her work explores how complex ideas can be grounded in interactivity and play.