Special Collections ath the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Past Exhibits

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Escribir la Experiencia Judía:
Writing the Jewish Latin American Experience
October 7 - December 27, 2013
4th Floor Exhibition Gallery

Another Place
March 1 - June 28, 2013
Fourth Floor, Exhibition Gallery

UWM Libraries Green Roof Exhibit
November 15 - February 1, 2013
Fourth Floor, Special Collections Reading Room

Jewish Artists and the Book
September 14 - December 28, 2012
Exhibit extended to February 8th 2013
Fourth Floor, Exhibition Gallery

Shiviti Fabric of Prayer: New Works by Barbara Kohl-Spiro
August 15 - November 19, 2012
Fourth Floor, Exhibition Gallery

Illuminating the Issue: Artists Books as Social/Political Critique
Oct. 10 - May 14, 2012
Fourth Floor, Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

Summer of China at UWM Libraries
Special Collections and the American Geographical Society Library

June 13 - September 29, 2011
Fourth Floor, Exhibition Gallery and third floor AGS Library

Artist Books and Feminism
Fourth Floor, Special Collections Reading Room
UWM Libraries

A Strange Love of Tangled Writing: Stanley Kubrick's Films and their Literary Sources
February 1-May 20, 2011
Fourth Floor, Exhibiton Gallery
UWM Libraries

2x2 Small Book Works
October 1-December 17, 2010
Fourth Floor, Exhibiton Gallery
UWM Libraries

Ginsberg and the Beats
September 27-December 31, 2010
Fourth Floor, Special Collections Reading Room
UWM Libraries

Frank Miller: Transformation of the Medium, From Comic Book Artist to Motion Picture Director.
March 29-August 27, 2010
Fourth Floor Exhibiton Gallery
UWM Libraries

Shakespeare's Sundries
April-September 17, 2010
Fourth Floor, Special Collections Reading Room
UWM Libraries

"Of Making Many Books" Student Book Works, Fall 2009
March-April 30, 2010
Soref Learning Commons (Library Grind exhibiton cases) and
Fourth Floor Reading Room
UWM Libraries

Ediciones Vigia: Cuban Artist Books
December 14-March 5, 2010
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

Steve Nelson-Raney: Book Works
August 2009-February 22, 2010
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

Claire Van Vliet & Janus Press: selection from Jerome Buff Collection October 26-November 27, 2009
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

Surrogates & Fetishes: New work by book artist Jessica Poor
July 13-Sept. 25, 2009
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

World War 3 Illustrated: America's Longest Running Political Comic
July - September 2008
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

People of the Book: Jewish and Israeli Book Arts
September 2 - October 19, 2008
Main Floor, West Wing, UWM Libraries
A small exploration of Jewish book arts, including works by Karmela Berg, Diane Fine, Carol Hamoy, Tana Kellner, Mirta Kupferminc, David Moss, Carol Rosen, and Caryl Seidenberg.

China Travel Journals 2007
April 1 - May 31, 2008
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

Of Making Many Books 2007:  Bookworks from Art 309/509
May 1-31, 2008
Main Floor, West Wing and the Special Collections Reading Room
UWM Libraries

Forever 29
Chicago Hand Bookbinders Exhibition 2008
January 14 - March 24, 2008
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery
UWM Libraries

Every year, the UWM Libraries hosts the annual show of new works by members of the Chicago Hand Bookbinders (CHB).  This year’s Chicago Hand Bookbinders Exhibition offers interpretations on the theme "Forever 29," reflecting on the organization’s thirtieth anniversary.  On the cusp of a new decade, CHB continues to struggle with its identity and direction.  The twenty-ninth year for many signifies that final year of youth, the last chance to make big mistakes or hold on to innocence.  For some it is a chance to set goals for adulthood or to 'get serious,' whatever that means.  But as a mere number, twenty-nine also suggests ideas of transcendence.

Also on display in celebration of the Chicago Hand Bookbinders thirtieth anniversary, are a selection of artist’s bookbindings from the extensive collection of artist’s books in Special Collections' UWM Book Arts Collection, presenting a range of binding approaches, from traditional fine bindings to unique structures.

Invisible Books from the Library of Babel
January 10 - March 24, 2008
Main Floor, West Wing
UWM Libraries

A librarian at the Library of Babel famously observed that "in order for a book to exist, it is sufficient that it be possible."  But what is possible and impossible are not as easy to define as one might think.  Until only a few decades ago, we would have declared that invisible books were impossibilities. 

Today, however, we know that invisible books do exist, and while they have been discussed and written about, few have been put on display and none have been shown in this country.  The exhibition "Invisible Books from the Library of Babel," on view on the Main Floor, West Wing of the Golda Meir Library, January 10-February 29 2008, brings together for the first time in the United States nine examples of these scarce and difficult to identify artifacts.

These rare books, on loan from the Library of Babel and other repositories, have been carefully researched and prepared for exhibition by UWM Special Collections Librarian Max Yela.  On view are such rare treasures as George Berkeley's 1712 defense of his theory of immaterialism, The Tendency towards Existence; the Tlönese classic Axaxaxas mlö; and the highly provocative 1932 cipher book, Combed Thunder.  Also on display are works of contemporary invisible publishing, including the recently-discovered 1976 play by Samuel Beckett, Entropolis, and perhaps the most recent of invisible books, the enigmatic dream book The Colonel's Portentous Cat Unsays.

Maria Pisano:  Books and Prints
September 24 - December 28, 2007
First Floor, West Wing and Special Collections Reading Room
Maria Pisano is a book artist, printmaker, conservator, and educator.  She will offer the Fall presentation in the library's Ettinger Book Artist Series Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 7 pm in Special Collections.  She will also be scheduled to offer workshops on book structure and collagraph printmaking for UWM students, and possibly a separate lecture on the works in the "Books and Death" show.


Books and Death:  Book Artists' Constructions of Death, Mourning, and Memory
"Ghost Diary," by M. Cummings, 2001.September 15 - November 30, 2007
Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery, Golda Meir Library
Curated by New Jersey book artist and printmaker Maria Pisano, this exhibition brings together works by book artists from around the country, focusing on books as the keepers of our collective memory in the face of death, loss, and disappearance.



Zoë Darling and Mary Hood:  Books, Prints, and Other Media
On exhibit September 12 - November 4, 2007

miscOpening reception: September 16,
2-5 pm

Inova/Zelazo (Mary L. Nohl Galleries)
Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts (2nd floor)
2419 East Kenwood Boulevard
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

Gallery hours:  Wednesday-Sunday,
12 noon - 5 pm

Max Yela, head of Special Collections in the UWM Libraries, brings together two artists with Milwaukee roots in the second of a series of exhibitions designed to “challenge popular conceptions of book capability and function, and push the boundaries of our understanding of bookness.” Mary Hood makes books, prints, and site-specific installations that center on issues of time, silence and contemplation.  A Milwaukee native, Hood is an assistant professor of art at Arizona State University where she teaches printmaking.  Zoë Darling is a book artist, printmaker, and mixed-media artist.  Her work focuses on repetition, collecting and documentation.  Also a native of Milwaukee, Darling is an alumna of the UWM Department of Visual Art, and spent several years in New York as a working artist before recently returning to Milwaukee where she is on faculty at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.


Damning Evidence: German Literature in the Nazi Era
Fourth Floor Exhibit Hall, UWM Libraries
On exhibit June - September 30, 2007

Book cover from exhibit "Damning Evidence: German Literature in the Nazi Era."This exhibition features primary source materials from Nazi-era Germany. The intent is not to promote or give approval to what happened, nor is this an exposition on the Holocaust. Instead, these books are presented as a critical examination of what was occurring before, during, and after the war in Germany through the literature published by or under the influence of the Nazi regime. Through these materials we can begin to understand the mentality of Nazi Germany and the concepts underpinning that government’s acts of aggression.

The books featured in this exhibition are part of a larger donation of 1,300 books made by Dr. Henry Wend to the UWM Libraries in 2006. They are materials collected by his grandfather, Dr. Eldon Burke, immediately after the war when Burke was an administrator for war relief efforts. Many of the books in the collection are from official government facilities, and were saved by Burke from destruction by Allied troops. As one of several examples in the collection, many of the books bear the ownership stamp of a convalescent home for Luftwaffe officers, revealing the collecting efforts and perhaps the reading habits of this particular segment of the party. These materials will primarily be housed in Special Collections, 4th floor, UWM Libraries.

An overview of this exhibit is also available as the online exhibit Damning Evidence: German Literature in the Nazi Era.

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