The Mills College library is hosting an exhibit of Julie Chen’s book art! Along with the exhibit, the Mills College Center for the Book and Chen’s Flying Fish Press are co-publishing a catalogue of Chen’s work called Reading the Object: Three Decades of Books by Julie Chen. The catalogue includes all of Chen’s book art and essays by Mills Professor of Book Arts Kathleen Walkup and University of Washington Book Arts and Rare Books Curator Sandra Kroupa.
The exhibit includes 14 pieces spanning the last 10 years of Chen’s work. Although they obviously beg to be touched and manipulated, they are all inside cases – two in front of and two inside the Heller Rare Book Room (which is a treat in itself.) The work is intricate and precisely constructed, with thought-provoking text.
Chen uses both traditional letterpress printing and book binding techniques and new technologies such as laser cutting for her artist’s books. Subjects vary and range from climate change to chocolate. I particularly enjoyed her use of mapping references to explore relationships and how the variety of structures examines, challenges and celebrates bookishness.
through May 31, 2016