The MCBA Prize

The MCBA Prize is the first honor to recognize and promote excellence in new work from across the expressive spectrum of book art. Established in 2009, this biennial award is meant to represent the diversity of book art and encourage discussion rather than limit recognition to any one aspect of this vital field. Book art, broadly defined, includes work that embodies narrative, instruction, reference, mapping, guides, documentation, and more. It is work that engages the viewer and propels the experience forward through narrative, sequencing, spatial elements, visual or verbal language, temporal, mechanical, aural, typographic, symbolic or material means.

Forms, processes, traditions and approaches are open. Work may include unique book objects, altered books, graphic novels, ‘zines, concrete poetry, conceptual, visual and literary works. Processes may include any printing or printmaking methods such as photo-mechanical, hand-worked, analog/digital, relief printmaking, letterpress, intaglio, and screen-printing, as well as hand-lettering. Works may be in edition or unique. The finished work can depart from a bound book format to engage metaphors of the book in sculpture or installation. Work can be created collaboratively, but ultimately must result from an artist or artists’ vision and active participation.

In each biennial competition, integrity — a unity of form, materials and content that reflects an artist’s vision — will be a determining criteria in the winning works. The primary impetus for the creation of the work must come from the vision of the artist or artistic collaborators. Related works on paper (broadsides, prints, photographic portfolios), journals or diaries, scrapbooks and blank books will not be considered for the award, nor will video or film unless it is integral to an installation that embodies the qualities described above.

Work is judged by a jury of three experts in the field representing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. The jury is charged with narrowing the submissions to five finalists; of these finalists, one winner is then selected.

See below for past finalists and winners:

The MCBA Prize 2017

Tim Hopkins(London, United Kingdom), The Book of Disquiet

Ellen Knudson (Gainesville, Florida), Ingress/Egress
Hannah Batsel (Chicago, IL), Maneater
Ines von Ketelhodt (Flörsheim, Germany), Alpha Beta
Nader Koochaki (Beasain, Guipúzcoa, Spain), Soineko Paisaia / Dorsal Landscape 2009-2015

Jurors’ Special Recognitions of Merit:
Ann Kalmbach & Tatana Kellner (Rosendale, New York), The Golden Rule
Christine McCauley (London, United Kingdom), Mist
Sue Huggins Leopard (Rochester, New York), This Past Winter

Simon Goode, co-founder of London Centre for Book Arts;
Steven Daiber, of Red Trillium Press / Aqui en la lucha in Massachusetts;
Karen Kunc, of Constellation Studios and Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The MCBA Prize 2015

Ken Botnick (St Louis, Missouri), Diderot Project


Sarah Bryant (East Sussex, UK) and David Allen (Middlebury, VT), Figure Study
Casey Gardner (Berkeley, CA), Matter, Antimatter, and So Forth
Sara Langworthy (Iowa City, Iowa), On Physical Lines
Robin Price (Middletown, CT), Love in the Time of War

Jurors’ Special Recognitions of Merit:
Rhiannon Alpers (San Francisco, CA), Remnants
Candace Hicks (Nacogdoches, TX), String Theory: Volume III
Gabriella Solti (London, Ontario, Canada), The Book of Hours

Aaron Cohick, founder and proprietor of the NewLights Press, and Printer of The Press at Colorado College;
Daniel E. Kelm, book artist, and founder of the Garage Annex School for Book Arts;
Jae Jennifer Rossman, Assistant Director for Special Collections at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University

The MCBA Prize 2013

Clifton Meador (Chicago, Illinois), A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature


Amy Borezo (Orange, Massachusetts), Labor/Movement (seven workers)
Inge Bruggeman (Portland, Oregon), the infinite between us
Aaron Cohick / NewLights Press (Colorado Springs, Colorado), What You Will
Barbara Tetenbaum (Portland, Oregon) and Julie Chen (Berkeley, California), Glimpse

Jurors’ Special Recognitions of Merit:
Maureen Cummins (High Falls, New York), Accounting
Marlene MacCallum (Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada), Glaze: Reveal and Veiled
Heidi Neilson (Long Island City, New York), Atlas Dream Sequence

Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists’ Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England;
Sandra Kroupa, Curator of Book Arts and Rare Books at the University of Washington Libraries;
Buzz Spector, book, installation and mixed media artist, and Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

The MCBA Prize 2011

Sarah Bryant (Aurora, New York), Biography


Julie Chen (Berkeley, California), A Guide to Higher Learning
Brad Freeman (Chicago, Illinois), Wrong Size Fits All
Peter Malutzki (Florsheim am Main, Germany), Stundenbuch
Ines von Ketelhodt (Florsheim am Main, Germany), Die bessere Hälfte

Honorable Mention:
François Deschamps (New Paltz, New York), Drone/1,2,3
Ann Lovett (New Paltz, New York), Glass House
Veronika Schäpers (Tokyo, Japan), Yoko Tawada: Okonomiyaki

AnneDorothee “Doro” Boehme, Curator and Special Collections Librarian, Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Barbara Tetenbaum, Associate Professor and Head of the Book Arts Department, Oregon College of Art and Craft
Philip B. Zimmermann, Professor of Visual Communications, College of Fine Arts of the University of Arizona

The MCBA Prize 2009

Veronika Schäpers (Tokyo, Japan), Durs Grünbein: 26°57,3’N, 142º16,8’E


Julie Chen (Berkley, California), Panorama
Clifton Meador (Chicago, Illinois), Avalanche
Jan Owen (Belfast, Maine), Requiem
Simon Redington (London, U.K.), Bomb

Scott McCarney, Artist, designer and educator
John Risseeuw, Artist and Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University
Ruth Rogers, Curator of Special Collections, Wellesley College Clapp Library