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Art of the Book Exhibit Currently On View in Cohen Atrium

Posted by on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Fine Arts Gallery, HART, News, Student/Alumni, Vanderbilt University, VRC.

ArtoftheBookInstall3An imaginative, vibrant exhibit on view through mid-July in the atrium-level display cases of Cohen Memorial Hall are the handmade books created and decorated by the students of Elizabeth Moodey, associate professor of history of art, for her HART 2288 course, Art of the Book.

“Illuminated manuscript (literally “handwritten”) books are arguably the most characteristic objects of the European middle ages, but contemporary artists have also responded to the challenge of making a book by hand,” said Moodey. “Inspired by those traditions, each of the students chose a favorite text and acted as both patron and artisan for the books on display.”

In the course of the spring semester Moodey and her students considered the changing material and visual make-up of medieval illuminated manuscripts, and through them questions of literacy and audience, the mutation and popularity of certain texts and illustrations, the various contributions of script and picture, and the concerns of patron and artist. They explored how much the impact of a work depends on the arrangement of words on the page, looking at examples from medieval grid-poems and pictorial initials, the Arts and Crafts revival of the book arts, Dada and Futurist publications, and contemporary artists’ books. The class worked with medieval and modern material in Vanderbilt’s Special Collections.

artofthebookojodetail“While the project was still an abstract idea,” said Elizabeth Ojo, BA’19, “It was easy for me to make assumptions of how much I could accomplish and how the book would look. Once I bought the materials and had to physically measure and cut the pages, I realized how complicated the process actually is. Our class lecture on techniques reminded me that ‘images interpret as much as they depict.’ Stories have this freedom to tell the reader about the artist’s environment or tradition during that time period. Telling different versions of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ allowed me to focus on this lecture and flesh out text that was connected to one another.”

Ojo’s opening of Beauty and the Beast: A Collection of Retellings synthesizes the conclusions of the four versions featured in this retelling. However, while Disney and HBO’s Beauty lives happily ever after, the others diverge from the traditional happy ending.

CaptureArtoftheBookOther students exhibiting their handmade books are Bethany Boggs, ’21, The Yellow Wallpaper; Delaney Houston, ’20, A Pairing; Carly Martinez-Don, ’21, La Rose: Extraits de Le Petit Prince; Kassie Dooley-Smith, ’20, Revelations throughout Pride and Prejudice; Daniel Freedland, ’19, The Sun Also Rises; Victoria Spiliopoulos, ’19, The Backyard Table; Sophia Rademaker, ’21, Cautionary Tales for Children: Jim; Katy Roach,’19, Letters to My Daughter/Letters to My Dad; Joe Eilbert,’19, Kids These Days; Sydney Kaemmerlen, ’20, Diary of a Narcoleptic; Emily Jordan, ’21, Two Brothers; Maris Paden, ’19, Excerpts from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and The Garden of Eden; and Ali WIlt, ’20, The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.

Cohen Memorial Hall is on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. Parking is available anywhere in Lot 95, accessible from 21st Avenue South.

*Photographs courtesy of the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery and Elizabeth Moodey

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