Showing now at NMWA in Washington, D.C.:
“What are artists’ books?” is a common question and can be hard to answer. Some look like books, but others don’t. Some are made from paper; others aren’t. Some have words; others don’t. But all artists’ books combine form and content in a way that conveys information. On view are selected artists’ books that are, by turns, magical, strange, awe-inspiring, confusing, or humorous.
Hung Liu In Print invites viewers to explore the relationship between the artist’s multi-layered paintings and the palpable, physical qualities of her works on paper. To make her prints, Liu (b. 1948) uses an array of printing and collage techniques, developing highly textured surfaces, veils of color, and screens of drip marks that transform the figures in each composition. Describing printmaking as “poetry,” she emphasizes the spontaneity of the layering process, which allows each image to build organically with each successive layer.
Featuring work by thirty-six global artists, Women House challenges conventional ideas about gender and the domestic space. The exhibition is inspired by the landmark project Womanhouse, developed in 1972 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. With works that disrupted traditional ideas about the home as a feminine realm, Womanhouse was the first female-centered art installation to appear in the Western world. In the new exhibition, Women House, women artists from the 1960s to today examine the persistence of stereotypes about the house as a feminine space. Through photography, sculpture, installation and video works organized across eight themes, Women House emphasizes the plurality of women’s views on the home.
Hard to Define Image: Book by Ann Kresge, poems by Hannah Taylor, Someone, Somewhere/Souverain et Souterrain, 1986; Dos-à-dos book with concertina binding, handmade paper, letterpress, and intaglio; NMWA, Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center
Hung Liu In Print Image: Hung Liu, Winter Blossom, 2011; Woodblock print with acrylic ink, 32 1/4 x 29 3/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Promised Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in Honor of Chief Curator, Kathryn Wat, and the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; © Hung Liu
Women House Image: Louise Bourgeois, Femme Maison, 1994; Marble, 5 x 12 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.; Collection of Louise Bourgeois Trust; Art © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Photo by Christopher Burke