Tuesday, September 6, 2011



Saved words, broken books, new appreciation

September 23- November 18

Jeff Rathermel is the executive director of Minnesota Center for Book Arts. But he is also an artist. Running a non-profit often saps his energy and thought processes for studio work. It is with great relief and excitement that he presents the Project Gutenberg Project, opening Friday, September 23 at Susan Hensel Gallery.

More and more, we are giving up the tangible for the digital. Project Gutenberg Project responds to this by celebrating the material beauty of the book and the value of tactile experience. Using book remains to create two and three dimensional work, this project both embraces and criticizes the power of technology to shape our understanding of the world.

The idea for the project grew out of a donation received by the Minnesota Center for Book: broken, dis-bound, trashed books. There were great works of literature, minor literary works, beautiful papers, illustrations, bits and pieces of varying quality that were the remains of the process of digitizing libraries undertaking by Project Gutenberg. In order to save the words, the books were destroyed. The organization could use little of what remained. Jeff Rathermel looked at these remains with the eyes of an artist who has been devoted personally and professionally to book and paper arts for years.

Project Gutenberg Project may be viewed simply at face value - a commentary on digital libraries and the "demise" of physical books - but it also has deeper underpinnings that explore notions of aesthetics, immediacy, cultural values and the basic human need to engage all senses to most effectively and satisfactorily experience the world they live in. And the reasonably priced objects and publications are just plain beautiful.

The show opens at Susan Hensel Gallery Friday, September 23, with a reception from 7-10pm. Also join Jeff for a closing event ,Keep in Touch: Physicality in Contemporary Art , on Friday November 11, 7-9pm, when he will be joined in conversation by Marianne Combs and Paulette Myers-Rich.

What: Project Gutenberg Project, by Jeff Rathermel

Where: Susan Hensel Gallery, 3441 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis

When: September 23-Nov 18

Opening Reception : Friday, September 23, 7-10pm

Closing Conversation : Friday, November 11, 7-9pm

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