Oct. 12, 2010

Noted book artist to speak, assemble art at CU Library

Cornell University Library will host an exhibition of provocative work by artist Werner Pfeiffer, who is celebrated for his examination of the role of physical books in the modern age.

Pfeiffer will open the exhibition with a lecture and demonstration, "Re-examining the Book: Making Book-Objects and Artist Books," Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. in Olin Library's Libe Café. A reception will follow at 6-7:30 p.m. in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections' Hirshland Gallery, Level 2B, Kroch Library.

Pfeiffer's books, collages, drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures have been shown internationally in nearly 200 group and solo exhibitions.

During the lecture, Pfeiffer will discuss his work, censorship of books and how the electronic environment has influenced the resurgence of the handmade book. He will also re-create one of his most known pieces, which he created to honor the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The 6-foot-tall, 3-D book "Out of the Sky" contains a sculptural component of seven woodcut segments in an urn. Pfeiffer will assemble it during his talk.

"Pfeiffer uses a mix of media to challenge us to think about books in new ways, as art forms as well as communication tools," said Anne Kenney, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. "His work asks people to consider books as artifacts, especially in the age of digital advancement, and his ideas can serve as a springboard to the discussion of the role of the book in contemporary society."

The exhibition and opening reception are made possible through the Stephen E. and Evalyn Edwards Milman Exhibition Fund.

The traveling exhibition, jointly sponsored by the Department of Art, will run through February 2011. It previously appeared at Smith College, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto.

Gwen Glazer is a staff writer for Library Communications.