Vertical Reading: the Contemporary Book in its Historical Context

Current Faculty: Peter Koch

Description: We will closely examine a selection of contemporary fine press and artist’s books alongside historical and aesthetically significant books ranging from the renaissance to modern that relate directly to the content, structure or concept of each contemporary work. We will pay particularly close attention to new and traditional technologies in current practice. Discussions will center on points of similarity and divergence between contemporary work and the historical tradition exemplified not only by the arts of typography, printing, binding structure, paper-making, etc. over the last 2 millennia but also regarding the conceptual framework and meaning conveyed by the material aspects of the book as object.

Class discussions will also focus on how to build strong connections between contemporary books, rare books of the past, and current practices in the arts all in order to strengthen client use of contemporary books in classroom and curatorial situations.

Years taught: 2016, 2018