Maureen Cummins, 2016. Hardcover. Number 34 of 40 copies. Signed the artist. In this powerful work, noted book artist Maureen Cummins investigates the dark side of the history of psychosurgery, as exemplified by the career of Doctor Walter Freeman (1895-1972), a professor of neurology who became known as the father of lobotomy by single-handedly popularizing the pre-frontal lobotomy in America. Although he had no formal training in either surgery or psychology, Freeman modified the traditional procedure for lobotomies by driving ice picks through his patients’ eye sockets rather than drilling into the skull to sever nerve connections in the prefrontal cortex to treat mental illness. Despite his championing of his procedure he admitted that lobotomies often created childlike behavior or a vegetative state in patients. Hundreds of patients died. The controversial procedure also raised numerous questions about patients’ rights, the abuse of institutional power, and the disproportionate targeting of women. Of the more than 3000 patients that Freeman operated on, two-thirds were women. Cummins uses physical rape as an analogy for neurological penetration, a form of sexualized violence that was perpetuated for decades in the name of medical progress. She visualizes this by a series of laser cut holes that bore through each page, becoming smaller page by page.The holes penetrate reproduced images of lobotomy patients’ heads and on the last page the title “The Rapist” becomes “Therapist?” The images of women are from 'before-and-after” photos used in Freeman’s textbook, which are re-contextualized, with lines of typography serving as blindfolds, reclaiming for these women a measure of dignity, humanity, and anonymity. The pages of the book are laser-cut aluminum with silkscreen-printed text and imagery. The covers are also laser-cut aluminum with a large hole that reveals the subsequent holes and "The" and "rapist" on either side of the cover's hole. The pages are attached to the cover by two ring binders. Housed in an aluminum box with a metal title label affixed to the top. In fine condition. 16 pages. 24” x 9” x 1” open 12” x 9” x 1 closed. ARTISTSB/100419. Fine.
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Philadelphia: University of the Arts, 2017. Hardcover. Number 6 of 10 copies. Signed by the artist. Folio. "All Disease is an exploration of hysteria in women. Images of inkblots invoke interpretive psychological tests and are paired with images of pelvic bone and language from 18th and early 19th century medical texts. The conclusion presented by the male-dominated voices in the text is that women are bound to irrationality, emotional instability, and insanity on account of the womb" (artist statement). The text that meanders through the book, often cut off against the edge of a page reads: "The womb, the starting point of hysteria. My womb, the starting point. Like some delicate plant deprived of the beneficial rays of the sun, she is a flower, which withers and droops away, even before its blossoming. On account of the uterus, woman is all disease. A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fit. Divided from herself and her fair jud ... On account of the uterus, I am all disease.... some delicate plant deprived of the beneficial rays of the sun, she is a flower, ... My womb, the starting point of hysteria. A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted. The womb, the starting point of hy ... On account of the uterus, woman is all diseas... Divided from herself and her fair jud ... On account of the uterus, I am all disease." The disjointed, repetitive text paired with the inkblots makes the reader feel as if they are descending into madness or recalling a traumatic event. As you read it, you can easily imagine a woman sitting, rocking, and whispering these words over and over in a chant of despair - and then you realize that as the reader, you have become this woman. A subtle, but powerful book about the oppression of women. Bound in quarter black leather boards with hand marbled paper covered boards. Imagery and text are appropriated from 19th century medical texts and Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Letterpress printed on a Vandercook SP20 from polymer plates. Printed on handmade cotton rag paper (including watermarks, formed shapes, and pulp painting). Inkblot imagery printed by hand lithography. Size: 22 (width) x 15 (tall) inches when open. ARTB/060920. Fine.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Viewpoint Editions, 2015. Number 2 of 10 copies signed and numbered by the book artist. This handsome and intriguing work is from well-known artist Dorothy "Dot" Krause. In her artist's statement she describes her work: "My work includes large scale mixed media pieces, artist books and book-like objects that bridge between these two forms. It embeds archetypal symbols and fragments of image and text in multiple layers of texture and meaning. It combines the humblest of materials, plaster, tar, wax and pigment, with the latest in technology to evoke the past and herald the future. My art-making is an integrated mode of inquiry that links concept and media in an ongoing dialogue - a visible means of exploring meaning. " "PreScribe" exemplifies her artistic philosophy. This work perhaps offers a statement on the medical and pharmaceutical professions and also the impact of opioid drugs in our current society. As Dot states on the title page, Prescribe "is from the Latin prae +scribere to write previously, to recommend, advise, authorize or order the use of a drug or other remedy." In this portfolio, images are printed on pages from a prescription ledger kept by a pharmacy in the late 1800’s and housed in a black paper over boards box covered with prescription images and lined with red handmade paper. The imagery is taken from work that was produced during an Artist-in-Residency at Harvard’s Countway Library, one of the world’s leading collections of medical history. Photographs of their anatomical specimens, medical artifacts, rare books and manuscripts are incorporated. The processes include prints onto the ledger pages using Pronto, Toray and Solar intaglio and planographic plates and Gocco screens. The title page, introduction and colophon are letterpress printed on Rives BFK tan. The font used for the title is “Ambulance Shotgun” by Guillaume Seguin. Completed at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Boca Raton, Florida. The book measures 11.5 x 17.25 inches and is housed in a box 12 x 18” inches. 9 pages + title/introduction and colophon. In fine condition. Fine.
Barcelona: Printed at The Folio Club for Sandra March, 2014. Hardcover. Number 83 of 100 copies signed and numbered by Sandra March. Text in Spanish, Catalan, and English. March is a talented young book and installation artist. With this work she draws a metaphorical, graphic, and auditory journey captured by words, illustrations, and sound. Thus the contents comprise the book, two posters, and a CD. She writes that this project has a scientific basis with a therapeutic and artistic impulse, starting on a subconscious level after losing both her sister and her father from heart diseases. The journey goes from a symbolic loss of the heart until its restoration, through a tour of the beautiful and varied morphology of the cardiac systems of thirty-one different animals and the sounds of their heartbeats. The heartbeat sounds are from a jellyfish, starfish, black widow spider, giant tortoise, Nile crocodile, frog, parakeet, and human being among many others There were a number of contributors to this project, including the biologist Francesc Uribe Porta, sound engineer Vicente Rosati, and illustrator Raquel Bullon. Bound in a white cardboard CD case, with posters attached to the back cover by a pink elastic band and CD held on the middle fold of the case. In fine condition. 58 pages. PRI/042715. Fine.
Barcelona: Printed at The Private Space for Sandra March, 2012. One of 100 copies. This collection of booklets is the catalogue for Projecte Antomica, an inventive and thought-provoking project by Spanish book and installation artist, Sandra March. The booklets feature images of chastity belts, anatomical drawings of figures in enticing positions, altered historical paintings to depict dissections of breasts, and much more. One collage of nude self-portraits bears the slogan "My body is your battleground." This is a disturbing but fascinating project. March describes it as a "work that operates somewhere between the old and the new, plays with the imagination, and uses irony to discuss the excessive aestheticism of the current era,demystifying it. It consists of different parts organized around two themes, the representation of the human body and anatomy. The project and the book consist of eight pieces that are numbered and correlated. They allow the project to be considered as a whole or as independent parts. Various media were used in this project, including drawings, computer graphics, photography, and sculpture. The catalogue also includes two additional booklets - the prologue and the documentation. The latter has a bibliography and a physical description of each part of the catalogue. Text is in Spanish, Catalan, and English. In fine condition. The ten booklets are housed in a brown paper envelope that in turn is in a tulle bag. Each piece is 8 x 11 inches. Unpaginated. PRI/120414. Fine.
Chicago: Starshaped Press, 2019. Hardcover. Number 6 of 50 copies. Signed and numbered by the book artist. This powerful book was created by book artist and printer Jen Farrell to describe the pain and anguish she experienced as Jo, her young daughter, was treated in 2018 to stem the growth of tumor nodules around her right lung. She writes: "While the treatments were challenging, the fallout that followed over the winter was unbearable. The chest pressure, pneumonitis and inability to breathe sent us to the hospital repeatedly, with unsatisfactory results. By ‘unsatisfactory’ I mean punching-a-hole-in-the-wall angry at the lack of understanding about why Jo had these side effects and the weeks, sometimes months, it took to get appointments with specialists. I sought solace in songs that directed my frustration away from people around me. One of these was Black Star’s Respiration, with lyrics that expressed a metaphorical difficulty to breathe in an urban environment. Many of the words applied to our reality; rewriting the lyrics was an outlet for acknowledging the trauma....Respiration is a rewrite of the song, but in this case applied to watching my child struggle to breathe." The book unfolds as a poster measuring 20x14 inches that folds down to approximately 5x 7 inches within red paper covered boards. The covers are printed in two colors on Mohawk Keakolour and the interior text is printed on Fabriano Tiziano paper with ‘fuzz’ in the texture as a nod to the scarring fuzz in Jo’s lungs. The book is accompanied by a white folded paper reference guide to the lyrics with notes on Jen's rewrites. In fine condition. Fine.