On Monday, The New York Times featured an article on the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, their current exhibition, and their book A Glorious Enterprise.
The book’s true fascination comes in its color photographs and illustrations, scores of them. We see naturalists in the field, the tools they used and the specimens they returned—legions of stuffed birds, minerals, mushrooms and insects … the story of the Academy of Natural Sciences engrosses. Its collections, sampled here, are valuable, and the attitude of its founders—that satisfying one’s curiosity about the natural world is celebratory activity—is refreshing.
The book chronicles the museum’s 200-year history of collection and research. It was produced by Marquand Books and designed by Jeff Wincapaw. To purchase A Glorious Enterprise, visit the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Exhibition catalogues and other art books line the shelves at Marquand Books. We asked our design director, Jeff Wincapaw, to select a title and discuss its design process with us. He chose the exhibition catalogue Willie Doherty: Requisite Distance, produced by Marquand Books for the Dallas Museum of Art in 2009.
The exhibition was significant; for the first time, Doherty’s media installation Ghost Story was shown together with photographs he’d taken in Ireland during the 1990s. The exhibition separated the works into adjoined rooms. The catalogue takes its design cues from both the nature of Doherty’s work and the layout of the exhibition itself.
What makes this book different from others you’ve worked on?
The exhibition had two parts we needed to include in the catalogue: a series of photographs and a video installation. The challenge was to bring both segments of the exhibition together in a book and to somehow recreate the movement of the film on the page.
How did this influence the design?
Well, we wanted to bring the experience of the exhibit to the catalogue. To simulate the rhythm of the film and create emotional responses for the reader, we varied the sizes of the video stills, how many were on a page, and so on.
To separate the two parts of the book, we used a formal white backgound for the photographs and a dark gray for the film’s still photos. The gray makes it feels like you’re in a theater—everything but the image fades into the background.
In what way did the subject matter shape the design?
The format of the book conforms to Doherty’s photographs and film. Overall, the design is restrained. The typography is neutral, understated. An essay separates the photographs from Ghost Story, and once into the film portion of the book, it is primarily pictorial. There aren’t page numbers. We kept it as minimal as possible in an effort to present the work cinematically.
The subject matter is beautiful, but it’s also discomforting. The pictures from the film are moody and, subconciously, a bit unsettling. We wanted them to pop off the page, so we used a gloss finish on the photographs, which helps to illuminate them.
To purchase a copy of Willie Doherty: Requisite Distance, visit Yale University Press online.
photography by Jeremy Linden
Last Friday, the L.A. Times featured an article on the Norton Simon Museum’s current exhibition, Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in California. Highlighting works from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, the exhibition chronicles the revival of printmaking in the United States.
Marquand Books produced the 256-page exhibition catalogue that was edited by the show’s curator, Leah Lehmbeck. Proof illuminates the history of California’s postwar printmaking boom through essays, illustrations, and a chronology that identifies key people and events of the movement.
Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California opened October 1, 2011 and runs through April 2, 2012. To learn more about the exhibition, visit the Norton Simon Museum online.
photography by Jeremy Linden
The Bellevue Art Museum’s current exhibition Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined highlights more than ninety pieces of jewelry by local artist Mary Lee Hu. The show chronicles Hu’s work from the 1960s to the present and focuses on the original techniques she brought to the worlds of jewelry and metalwork.
Employing fiber techniques like twining and weaving, Hu manipulates metal as if it were textile. Her methods cause light to reflect off her jewelry in deliberate, mesmerizing ways. By wrapping wire and folding metals, she constructs textured neckpieces, earrings, bracelets, and brooches, as well as several small animals—a lizard, turtle, and squid are a few of the creatures displayed.
The 128-page exhibition catalogue, designed by Jeff Wincapaw, was produced by Marquand Books and features more than eighty color illustrations. Essays by Janet Koplos and Jeannine Falino illuminate Hu’s journey in metalwork and jewelry design.
To learn more about the Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined exhibition and catalogue, visit the Bellevue Arts Museum online.