Ellsworth Kelly, born in Newburgh, New York in 1923, has been fascinated with colors, shadows, and shapes since childhood. An avid birder, Kelly was intrigued by the color and quick movement of birds. The way light and shadow played on their feathers captured his attention and inspired his artistic work; “I didn’t need Cubism to become an artist,” Kelly said, “I had nature.”*
Early this year, the Los Angeles County of Modern Art (LACMA) held a major exhibition of work by the renowned abstract artist. The exhibition, Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings, was open from January through April of this year and showcased more than 100 works by the artist, including sketches, paintings, prints, and a sculpture. These works reveal Kelly’s attention to form and color as well as his connection with the natural world. The exhibition was the first retrospective of Kelly’s prolific career since 1988.
Following LACMA’s exhibition, the Portland Art Museum (PAM) recently opened Ellsworth Kelly / Prints. The exhibition was organized in cooperation with LACMA and Jordan D. Schnitzer, who, along with his Family Foundation, lent the works for exhibition. Ellsworth Kelly / Prints features more than eighty prints and focuses on the motifs used by Kelly in his work: curved lines, right angles, grids, and precise use of color.
Marquand Books produced the catalogue, which was designed by Zach Hooker and published by the Jordan D. Schnitzer Family Foundation. The two-volume catalogue features more than 400 color illustrations and includes essays by leading Kelly scholar Rick Axsom that chronicle the artist’s work from the 1940s to the present.
The catalogue will be distributed by Paper Hammer. Additional information about purchasing the catalogue will be posted soon. To learn more about the exhibition Ellsworth Kelly / Prints, visit PAM.
*Rick Axsom, The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly: A Catalogue Raisonné. (Portland, OR: Jordan D. Schnitzer Family Foundation, 2012), 41.
photography by Jeremy Linden
In 2007, the Smithsonian announced plans to build the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). This February, the museum broke ground to begin construction on what will be most likely be the final building on the National Mall. The museum, designed by Ghanaian-born architect David Adjaye, is scheduled to open in 2015.
The exhibition Let Your Motto Be Resistance, which first opened in February 2008 at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), was the NMAAHC’s first traveling exhibition. The exhibition toured fifteen cities and was created in collaboration with the International Center of Photography in New York. Let Your Motto Be Resistance featured a selection of portraits from the Gallery’s collection, ranging from Sojourner Truth to James Baldwin. The exhibition focuses on the power portraits have to resist cultural stereotypes and communicate the self-worth and dignity of the photographed individual.
The photographs highlighted in the exhibition are of people whose lives and portraits resound with the famous abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet’s words:
Let your motto be Resistance! Resistance! RESISTANCE! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance. What kind of resistance you…make you must decide by the circumstances that surround you.… *
Accompanying the exhibition was the catalogue Let Your Motto Be Resistance. The catalogue includes essays by Cheryl Finley and Sarah Elizabeth Lewis and biographies of the writers, statesmen, artists, scientists, abolitionists, and entertainers whose portraits are featured in the publication. The National Portrait Gallery created an online museum venue for the exhibition, where visitors to the website can see portraits of Frederick Douglass, Asa Phillip Randolph, Lorraine Hansberry, and others whose lives manifested the resistance, creativity, and hope that early African American abolitionists championed.
Marquand Books produced the exhibition’s 184-page catalogue, designed by Jeff Wincapaw. We are pleased to note that we are working on a reprint of this stunning publication.To see portraits from Let Your Motto Be Resistance or to purchase a copy of the catalogue, visit the virtual exhibition at the NPG. Visit the NMAAHC online for more information about the museum’s construction and current events.
*Deborah Willis, Let Your Motto Be Resistance. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2007), 11.
photography by Ryan Polich
Ryan Polich is our design and production assistant and image manager at Marquand Books, which means he is busy turning visions for book projects into tangible realities. Ryan moves from designing book layouts and managing images on his computer to printing and binding small-run books and brochures by hand. This week, we caught up with Ryan to ask him a few questions about book production and design.
What is your current favorite typeface?
Franklin Gothic. It’s a solid design that’s really versatile, but still has plenty of personality. The fact that it was designed over one hundred years ago and still looks contemporary is also pretty fantastic.
What does a typical day as the design and production assistant and image manager look like?
There is definitely no such thing as a typical day for me, and that’s just perfect. I’m involved in a lot of different activities in the office: layout, design, printing and binding, image management—it’s never slow, and there’s always something new to keep me on my toes. I don’t think I’m cut out for a predictable job—I’d probably just fall asleep at my desk.
What sparked your interest in book production?
Working on books is one of those things that I didn’t realize I should be doing until I started doing it. When I started at Marquand Books, I thought it might be an interesting change of pace from the design work I had been doing. And now that I’ve been here awhile, it’s hard for me to think about doing anything else. Part of that is because you can access a book from so many angles; sure, you may be drawn to the content, but you can also appreciate the design, the typography, the printing, and the binding. I’ve always been a type geek and a designer at heart, so I think that was the doorway into the world of book production for me. Books are places where design and typography can really thrive and do what they do best.
What projects have you been excited to work on this year?
The Rodin book we’re wrapping up has been a really interesting project—it uses a wide variety of printing techniques, so there had to be a lot of thought and planning about how it was going to work from a production standpoint. I’ve also gotten the chance to stretch my legs a little more from a design perspective this year—there are a couple projects where I’ve been heavily involved in the design process, or have built the design from the ground up.
What things, people, or experiences have recently inspired your work?
I find a lot of inspiration in letterpress printing, especially within the community of printers at the School of Visual Concepts (where I’m an occasional teaching assistant). After spending a day sitting in front of a computer, it’s so amazing to interact with physical pieces of type and make something tangible and immediate with them. And the experience directly relates to the world of books, because it’s how books were made for hundreds of years. That alone is crazy and inspiring—it’s not very often you get to tinker with such old and important technology.
photography by Jeremy Linden
In the 1960s, John Powers resigned from his position as president of a major publishing company and pursued his passion for collecting contemporary American art and antique Japanese art. His enthusiasm for Japanese art prompted him, along with his wife, Kimiko, to travel extensively throughout Japan and meet with art dealers and scholars to learn more about the works they wanted to collect.
The ’60s proved an ideal time for the Powerses to begin collecting. Japanese art was not widely known, and its obscurity allowed them to build a collection focused on exquisite pieces without the stress of competing collectors. Today, the Powers Collection is recognized as the premier collection of Japanese art in the United States and as one of the largest collections outside of Japan. Throughout their years of collecting, John and Kimiko Powers gathered together more than 300 paintings, scrolls, Buddhist sculptures, calligraphy, and illuminated documents that reveal the stories and innovation of Japan’s artistic evolutions.
Unrivalled Splendor: The Kimiko and John Powers Collection of Japanese Art is currently featured at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The exhibition, which runs through September 23, presents eighty-five selections from the collection and highlights elaborate screens, narrative scroll paintings, and some of the earliest known examples of Buddhist art in Japan.
Marquand Books produced the 246-page catalogue that accompanies the exhibition. Designed by Zach Hooker, the catalogue presents more than eighty color illustrations of the selected works and includes an essay by Miyeko Murase that examines the importance of the objects presented in the exhibition.
To learn more about Unrivalled Splendor, visit the MFAH. To purchase a copy of the exhibition catalogue, visit Yale University Press.
photography by Jeremy Linden