Its intended to be a tribute to the machine age, from the unusual binding to the typesetting, says chief librarian Frank Luca. As with many artists books, the poetic arrangement of the words is as important as the words themselves.
In Fort Lauderdale, Broward County Librarys Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library includes some 15,000 items, among them artists books by such masters as famed Czech artist Vojtech Kubasta. (Just opened is an exhibition titled Around the World with the WPA, highlighting artworks created by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration; among them is the 1941 Guide to Key West, compiled by workers of the state of Floridas writers program.
Since 1997, the Bienes Museum, in conjunction with the Florida Center for the Book, has hosted the annual Florida Artists Book Prize Exhibition. Each year, the winning work is added to the museums collection. The 2011 winner, on display at the library, is Marie Mercanos Nevermore: FAQ to a Raven, which unfolds like a concertina to the dimensions of a bird, echoing the flexible nature of time itself. In 2005, the Miami-based Rosemarie Chiarlone a longtime collaborator with poet Susan Weiner was a co-winner for her simple and elegantly beautiful piece Flying Solo, in which Weiners words Even though the co-pilot is so close are formed with pinhole size punctures.
In Boca Raton, at Florida Atlantic Universitys Wimberly Library, the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts is a bright, airy facility with a working Letterpress Studio; the 19th Century Wessel iron hand press alone is worth a visit. This summer, the Jaffe Center is presenting the family-friendly POP! Movable Books from the Arthur J. Williams Pop-Up Collection, drawn from 425 pop-up books donated by Williams and displayed throughout the library. Among them is Harold Lentzs 1932 Pinocchio, with pop-ups of the famed fibber in distress. Another interesting piece is Matthew Reinharts Star Wars: Pop Up Guide to the Galaxy, with pop-up light sabers.
The Jaffe Center holds more than 6,000 works that span an astonishing range, from pieces by the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition (formed after the March 2007 bombing of Baghdads intellectual center) to the entire collection of the International Society of Copier Artists Quarterly, nearly 4,000 artists books created via Xerography. Much of their collection is easily accessible, and there are regular exhibitions on display. As with all artists books, the individual pieces make for a more intimate viewing experience than painting or sculpture. and artists books are tactile experiences, objects that can be picked up, slowly savored and actually felt. In an increasingly virtual world, theres something to be said for the simple act of touch.