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Slavic and Eastern European Studies

Contemporary Polish Artists' Books Exhibition and Symposium at Stanford University

A symposium on the artists' book as an art form, sponsored by the Center for Russian and East European Studies and the Stanford University Libraries, will be held on November 8, 1997, at 10:00 a.m. in Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building (adjacent to Hoover Tower) at Stanford. Although Polish artists will be the focus, the symposium will cover a broad spectrum of issues related to artists' books, new and dynamically developing artistic forms and expressions. Three world renown speakers will address this phenomenon. Judith A. Hoffberg, art critic, publisher and editor (Umbrella Editions, Los Angeles) will focus on the art form in general. Piotr Rypson, Head Curator of the Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland) will discuss the developments in Poland, while Charles Hobson, artist, publisher and teacher from the San Francisco Art Institute, will describe the movement in the Bay Area. The event is free and open to the public.

An exhibition of Contemporary Polish Artists' Books, the first of its kind in the United States, is on display from August 16 through November 16, 1997, in the lobby of the Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University.

The Polish tradition of artists' books goes back to the beginning of this century, a period of futurism and constructivism. A variety of factors hindered full bloom of artistic expression in post-World War II Poland. State ideology, guarded by censorship during this period, suppressed free creativity and drove it underground. Meager means for the production of art objects outside the officially sanctioned ways, as well as lack of freedom to exhibit art, further suppressed the art of the book.

The avenues for free creativity opened with the collapse of communism, leading to the expansion of artistic expression. The present exhibition focuses on this recent period and presents works by living artists working in Poland. The books on display were selected from a larger exhibition held in Warsaw in May 1997 concurrent with the International Book Fair.

The exhibition is grounded in a long tradition of Polish collecting at Stanford, which has one of the largest Polish research collections in the United States. Stanford University Libraries also holds a sound representation of contemporary Polish artists' books, many of which are exhibited.

A related 70-page catalogue, published in Warsaw with text in English, is available for sale. The publication, Contemporary Polish Book Art, encompasses the entire Warsaw exhibition (contact Billie Bousman, Department of Special Collections, Green Library, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6004. Price: $25.00). Some artists' books may also be purchased.

For event information contact Malgorzata Schaefer 650 723-9275.
For Green Library hours call: 650 723-0931.

Dr. Wojciech Zalewski, Curator for Slavic and East European Collections 650 723-9274



Last modified: June 27, 2005

©2005 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.
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