Extended by popular demand: Exhibit of Minsky’s book art

If you have not yet had a chance to strap yourself into one of the most unusual book bindings ever created, you’re in luck — the Yale exhibit featuring that work will remain open for another few weeks.

The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library is extending the exhibition, “Material Meets Metaphor: A Half Century of Book Art by Richard Minsky,” through Dec. 21.

The exhibition covers 50 years of Minsky’s work — from his first business card, used when he started his letterpress printing business at age 13, to “Self-Portrait 2010,” a book that documents the evolution of a canvas, from pencil sketch through many layers of oil paint.

A centerpiece of the exhibition is “Freedom of Choice: Three Poems of Love and Death by Lucie Brock-Broido” (2009), which is on loan from the artist. Designed to provide the ultimate in reading experiences, the binding of the book consists of an electric chair, created by the artist, to which the book of poems is chained. Readers can choose to get strapped in for the full experience, which includes a recording of Minsky reading the poemse.

“Minsky’s work as an artist and as founder of The Center for Book Arts in New York changed the way people see and make books,” says Jae Jennifer Rossman, the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library’s assistant director for special collections.

The library is the home of the Richard Minsky Archive, acquired in 2004. It documents the artist’s working process and career, and includes maquettes for book projects, correspondence and biographical materials. The archive also traces Minsky’s exploration of printing technologies from the mimeograph and spirit duplicator to his early use of inkjet printing on handmade paper.

Many of Minsky’s editioned works (non-commissioned work made in multiple copies) are on view in the exhibition, along with works that have become iconic in the field of book art. These include his 1975 binding of “The Birds of North America” and “The Crisis of Democracy,” bound in sheepskin, gold and barbed wire.

A free PDF-format catalogue of the exhibition is available on the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library website at www.library.yale.edu/arts/specialcollections/exhibitions.html.

The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, located at 180 York St., is open to the public Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit www.library.yale.edu/arts.

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