Book and Paper Arts fights through

By Bertha Serrano

Hiding away from the more loud and crowded floors at the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., is the Book and Paper Arts Center. It waits on the second floor for visitors to stop by and discover that although it’s awkwardly quiet and still, there is a book and paper world waiting to be discovered.

The gallery hosts different exhibits throughout the year that are open and free to the public, including the 5th International Book and Paper Arts Triennial, which had its opening ceremony on July 25. The exhibit is free for everyone and will close on Sept. 12.

But the exhibit, however, seems to be lacking the public’s attention. Robert Brown, a Columbia broadcast major, has been monitoring and helping out with the installations for three years. Brown has noticed that there are less people during the summer since fewer classes are in session. He said a l

ot of students still don’t know the gallery is here.

“Many times they stumble in on their way somewhere and then spend a long time in here once they realize what’s in here,” he said.

As far as attendance goes, Greg Weiss, Book and Paper Arts Center exhibition coordinator, said there has been a mixed audience including several classes from Columbia and regular exhibit visitors of all ages.

One of the pieces in the exhibit, “Book #14: Book of Valentines” by Elaine Langerman, is an accordion book that stands out with its bright and colorful pages as if it were glowing in the dark. Candy corn decorates the border of a page while a monkey hangs out in an ice cream cone in the other.

This book, and 58 others, were selected after almost 100 book and paper artists submitted slides and CDs of their work earlier this year. Three judges-Max Yela, head of special collections at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Pam Paulsrud, a visual artist and alumna of Columbia; and Bob McCamant, one of the original founders of the Chicago Reader-came to Columbia College and selected each piece to be displayed in the gallery.

A piece by Craig Jobson, a graphic design professor at Columbia, was accepted into the gallery in April with his piece, “A Field Guide to Urban Fowel.” He said the piece, took him about a year-and-a-half to complete. He decided to make his book an abecedarian field guide of urban fowl. In other words, he took the alphabet and connected a word to every letter in the alphabet.

“It’s pretty significant because it’s an international show as well, so I feel, really, really grateful that I’m included in that aspiring group of individuals,” Jobson said.

Although the art of book and paper has been around for a long time, many people still don’t know a lot about it. Weiss said some of the binding of books dates back to the Roman Empire and that the Bible is a good example of this. The only piece in the exhibit made by a collaboration of students is “Nous Tissons,” which was created by

Scripps College Press of Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.

“[The exhibit] is special because it’s helpful to give an overview about what’s going on in the book and paper arts world, especially because we opened it up to international selection, that the idea is that we’re getting a snapshot of what’s happening in the book and paper arts world in the last three years,” Weiss said.