New York: Intima Press, 2023. Softcover. One of 26 standard copies lettered A -Z. This is copy B, signed and lettered by the book artist. There are also 10 copies with deluxe bindings. This powerful and timely new work from Mindy Belloff's Intima Press was four years in the making. It is a double-bound miniature pairing of Shakespeare's classic, The Tragedy of Othello, with The Tragedy of Desdemona, which has commentary and statistics compiled by Belloff. This approach magnifies the plight of abused women and also engages in dialogue with the text of Othello as cultural critique. The Desdemona tragedy highlights issues of patriarchy and gender bias throughout the centuries and gives voice to women who have been silenced. The book artist explores how Othello's intense jealousy and eventual murder of Desdemona parallels a modern Othello - the sports personality O.J. Simpson, who was accused of the double murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. Both are tragic stories of jealous rage, domestic violence, male dominance, and femicide. In Desdemona, closing arguments from the legal case and diary entries of the victim are revisited, along with excerpts from Ovid, Dostoevsky and Alice Walker, current news headlines, global statistics on femicide, the 1993 case of Lorena Bobbitt, and more. The use of a dos à dos binding pairs Othello on one side with Desdemona on the other, sharing the same spine - that parallel's Iago's description of marital conjoining as "the beast with two backs," with the two texts and various voices that are conjoined in dialogue, inseparable. This layered narrative continues with a cinematic video card that functions as a time capsule, with an opening montage of images from film and theater productions of Othello, news headlines of sensational stories from the mid-1990s, women's marches from the #MeToo movement, and Supreme Court ruling reversals among other stories. The video is 8:44 minutes. Mindy Belloff is a noted book artist who designed, illustrated, printed and bound this highly inventive work, with a unique box with a magnetic side closure by Celine Lombardi. It is letterpress printed from photopolymer plates in two different shades of browns and reds, with the design of an "O" repeated on each page. The text of Othello is typeset in Adobe Luminari on Mohawk Superfine paper. Desdemona is typeset in Adobe Jenson Pro and printed on Johannot Arches papers. The binding is letterpress printed on paper covers commissioned from Saint-Armand Papeterie in Montreal with Suminagashi marbled edges. The engrossing film on the video card is 2 x 4 inches with volume and play/pause buttons with USB port. An accompanying letterpress printed accordion fold booklet lists the video credits. It is housed in one of two pull-out drawers in the custom box, with the second drawer holding a USB port. The beautiful custom box is covered in fine red cloth with a paper title label on top. A magnificent achievement in fine condition. Book measures 3 5/8 x 2 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches. The box measures 6.5 x 4 x 2.75 inches. Othello has 192 pages; Desdemona has 150 pages. ARTB/100923. Fine.
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