The Center for Book Arts founded in 1974, is the first not-for-profit organization of its kind that promotes the active exploration of contemporary and traditional artistic practices related to books as an art form. The Center is one of few contemporary arts organizations dedicated to the art of books, and the only location in New York City where visitors can view book arts exhibitions in the context of an active, working studio. The exhibits positions the book art practice as an object, media and as a site of resistance.
Located just outside of the Flatiron District boundaries, CFBA supports the work of the Flatiron Partnership as a marketing affiliate sponsor. Executive Director, Corina Reynolds stated, “Center for Book Arts invests in our arts community and seeks to partner with our neighbors in life. The Flatiron Partnership supports the neighborhood and keeps us connected in the same way we seek to uplift the book arts & bring it to new communities.”
The Center bridges communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary visual and literary arts. Through exhibitions, classes, readings, presentations and other opportunities for artists, writers, collectors and publications, the Center seeks to facilitate conversation pertinent to the world of book arts and serve as a model organization in the field to champion the cause.
“We try to promote a wider understanding of what an artist book can be and look like, and that’s interesting to visitors of our city, as well as fine art collectors,” shared Reynolds.
What’s a visit to the Center like? You can glance exhibits on display and get to know the craft behind some of the artwork featured in the galleries. Visitors can walk through the studios and chat with workspace residents to get a deeper experience. Currently, exhibits include an audio installation of Sinan Antoon in the main gallery, moving graphics and lectures by Warren Lehrer in the foyer, and digital archives curated by Faride Mereb in the printshop.
CFBA also hosts educational classes for individuals interested in the art of bookbinding and the advanced study of book arts. The Education Program strives to engage a wide audience, providing beginner and professional artists alike with a comprehensive and technically challenging curriculum. In addition to foundation coursework in letterpress printing, bookbinding, and works on paper, they provide structured opportunities for working artists from other media to expand their creative practice in bookmaking.
The Spring and Fall Broadside Reading Series is another effort to further the collaboration between visual and literary arts. The Series brings together well known and emerging poets for public readings and provides book artists an opportunity to commemorate the night with the publishing of letterpress printed broadsides relating to the poets’ work.
The Center will be hosting its annual benefit and auction on Thursday, April 2nd to honor pioneering book and performance artist Alison Knowles. Knowles is a visual artist known for her soundworks, installations, performances, publications and her association as a founding member of the Fluxus movement. She produced what may be known as the earliest book object – a can with 16 offset scrolls of text and dried beans called the Bean Rolls, in 1963. There will be cocktails, dancing, and performances by NIC Kay, Wo Chan, and Vincent Chong in celebration of Knowles’ extraordinary work.