Book Art Biennial




Book Art Biennial 2015
July 23-26, 2015

2015 marks not only the next convening of Book Art Biennial, but MCBA’s 30th Anniversary as well! Celebrate this milestone by joining us for this very special series of events.

Through workshops, lectures, panel conversations, exhibitions, and a gala celebration and awards ceremony, Book Art Biennial invites artists, educators, curators and scholars to explore current trends in contemporary artists’ books. Registration info and additional details for each component will be released in early spring 2015.

Pre-Biennial Workshops

Thursday and Friday, July 23–24; 10am–5pm
Three very special workshops will be offered prior to the Book Art Biennial. Each is designed to inspire students and demonstrate the intersection of historical craft with contemporary content:

Workshops will be conducted in MCBA’s world-class studios; participants at all skill levels are welcome. Register early; space is limited.



Book Arts Art Crawl

Friday, July 24; 6–9pm
Enjoy coordinated receptions across downtown Minneapolis, including MCBA, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), Form + Content Gallery, and the Walker Art Center Library.

Presented at the Walker Art Center Library:
Highlights and recent acquisitions from the Rosemary Furtak Artist’s Book Collection

Presented at Minneapolis College of Art and Design:
The Book in Extremis
An exploration of where the fine arts, media arts, and design fields have taken the notion of the book, through the work of over 20 local and national artists and designers

Presented at Form + Content Gallery:
Common Denominators: An Invitational Exhibition of Five Book Artists
Work by Inge Bruggeman, Daniel Essig, Karen Kunc, Sara Langworthy and Gaylord Schanilec

Presented at Minnesota Center for Book Arts:
The Contained Narrative: Defining the Contemporary Artist’s Book
Reader’s Art: Concealed, Confined and Collected
The MCBA Prize 2015 Finalists

Book Art Biennial Symposium
The Contained Narrative: Defining the Contemporary Artist’s Book

Saturday and Sunday, July 25–26; 10am–4pm

The 2015 Biennial Symposium will explore the expansive definition of “book” in contemporary artistic practice, stimulating critical thinking and dialogue. Saturday’s presentations include:

  • I Contain Multitudes: Multiple Legibilities and Intersecting Texts
    with Aaron Cohick, proprietor of NewLights Press and master printer at The Press at Colorado College
  • End Grain Infinity
    with Joanne Price, printmaker, book artist and president of the Wood Engravers’ Network
  • Inspiring Narrative Through Form: The Book Artist/Reader Collaboration
    with Daniel E. Kelm, book artist and founder of the Garage Annex School for Book Arts
  • Containers of the Past: Windows to the Present
    with Jae Jennifer Rossman, Assistant Director for Special Collections at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University
  • A performance-reading of A Life In Books by writer, artist and book designer Warren Lehrer

The Symposium closes Sunday morning with a “Teaching the Book Arts” roundtable, where both educators and practitioners can share practical techniques for teaching and exploring the medium, facilitated by MCBA Executive Director Jeff Rathermel.

Enjoy both days of the 2015 Book Art Biennial Symposium for $50; space is limited. Register by calling The Shop at MCBA at 612-215-2520; online registration will be available in Spring 2015.

MCBA’s 30th Anniversary Gala
and presentation of the 2015 MCBA Prize

Saturday, July 25; 7pm
The centerpiece of Book Art Biennial is the awarding of The MCBA Prize, a unique international award that showcases and honors the best artists’ books in the world, presented by Minnesota Public Radio arts host and producer Marianne Combs. Reserve your tickets today by calling The Shop at MCBA at 612-215-2520; online purchases will be available in Spring 2015.

Artists: submission guidelines for The MCBA Prize 2015 competition are now available at

Coordinated Exhibitions:

The Contained Narrative: Defining the Contemporary Artist’s Book
April 8 – July 26, 2015
Opening reception Friday, May 8; 6–9pm
At the most fundamental level, a book is a contained narrative. This exhibition brings definition to the artist’s book by focusing on such varied practices as “Bound and Unbound,” “The Virtual Book,” “Book as Environment” and more. Curated by Cathy Ryan.

Reader’s Art: Concealed, Confined and Collected
May 8 – July 26, 2015
Opening reception May 8 in coordination with The Contained Narrative
Reader’s Art highlights work by emerging book arts students responding to the theme of “containment.” Presented in collaboration with the College Book Art Association and Susan Hensel Gallery. View the call for artists at our Opportunities page.


Archive: Book Art Biennial 2013

Saturday and Sunday, July 27-28, 2013

Book Art Biennial 2013 explored in depth the common threads between book art and film. Historically as well as in contemporary practice, artists blur and perforate the boundaries between these two disciplines, both of which are time-based and grounded in sequential visual communication. From examinations of contemporary innovations in visual narrative to the influence of classic filmmaking on mid-century book design, the Book Art Biennial 2013 Symposium continues a tradition of stimulating critical thinking and dialogue.

Sandra Kroupa, “The Genuine Article: Reading Artists’ Books”
Buzz Spector, “Matter of Time: Duration, Reading, and the Book Object”
Sarah Bodman, “Appropriation and Creation: Artists’ Books and Extant Narrative”
Jeff Rathermel, “Director’s Cut: Manipulating the Viewer/Reader”

Panel discussions:
“For Your Consideration” with curator Eric Crosby, artists Will Dinski and Barbara Tetenbaum, and historian and curator Dr. Betty Bright
“Teaching the Book Arts” moderated by Jeff Rathermel

Performances and Screenings:
Render, Render, Thomas Lux and Angella Kassube
Old Time Film, Barbara Tetenbaum and Marilyn Zornado
Conduct of Life, John Akre

At the centerpiece of Book Art Biennial 2013 were three dynamic coordinated exhibitions, which exemplified the wonderfully diverse world of book arts. Directed: The Intersection of Book, Film and Visual Narrative illustrated the Biennial’s main theme through static, kinetic and performative works that defy categorization. The Literary Commons hosted Flip-Off, a competition and exhibition of contemporary flip books — perhaps the ultimate manifestation of sequential narrative in book arts. Last but certainly not least, the work of the 2013 MCBA Prize winner and finalists were showcased.

Book Art Biennial and MCBA Prize 2013 sponsors:
Rob Rulon-Miller, Rulon-Miller Books
Pamela Johnson
Diane Katsiaficas and Norman Gilbertson
James P. and Susan Lenfestey
Cathy Ryan and Doris Engibous
Joseph G. Sitter