Last Monday, August 6, marked the eighty-fourth birthday of the late Andy Warhol. Warhol—whose reproductions of Campbell’s soup cans, Brillo pads, and Marilyn Monroe garnered fame—understood America’s obsession with celebrity and violence.
In February of this year, the McNay Art Museum explored works by Warhol that combined these fascinations. The exhibition, Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune, assembled more than 150 objects from the collection of the Andy Warhol Museum. Fame and Misfortune included prints, photographs, drawings, and paintings by the artist. Iconic prints of Liza Minnelli and Dennis Hopper were shown next to images of automobile accidents and electric chairs. Displayed side-by-side, the works illuminate the unsettling connection Warhol drew between fatality and fame.
Marquand Books produced the exhibition catalogue, which was designed by Jeff Wincapaw. The eighty-page book reflects the colorful appeal of Warhol’s work and includes more than eighty-five color illustrations. An introduction by the exhibition’s curator, René Paul Barilleaux, and an essay by Justin Spring examine Warhol’s art and its reflection of America’s relationship with stardom and its shadows.
To learn more about the Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune, visit the McNay. To purchase a copy of the catalogue, visit your local bookseller or find the book on the ARTBOOK | DAP website.
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
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