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Project Statement

by J. Drucker


This project was conceived as a type sample book and as a dialogue between the collaborators. The Bow and Arrow Press, in the basement of Adams House at Harvard, supervised and gently guided by the resident daemon, Gino Lee, absentee partner Jim Barondess, and the occasional pale ghost of Charles Steele (struggling to get through an architecture MA in the GDS) was the site and source for the project. The type was abundant and beautiful. The summer was rainy and Emily was learning to print. The project sat on galleys most of the month, gradually accumulating weight, as if it were a long and difficult project. We set in a desultory manner. The book became the thing we were not doing, each involved in her own other projects. And then, in a rush of final energy, we printed the whole thing in about a day, and collated, and bound it all in a rush. A pretty thing, with just enough oblique crypticness in textual texture to provide interest, though the remove of language from the real is all too characteristic of both of our temperaments at the time.

Sample Dialog

Johanna Drucker

Agents

Johanna Drucker

type: initiating

role:
author
printer
designer

nationality:
born: United States
active: United States

dates:
birth: 1952-05-30


Emily McVarish

type: initiating

role:
author
printer
designer

nationality:
active: United States


Publication Information

publisher: The Bow and Arrow Press was the place it was printed, but the publishers were McVarish and Drucker. No imprint.

dates:
publication: 1989-00-00

Aesthetic Profile

movement:
unknown

subject:
artists' books (LCSH)

themes: The themes were many, familiar, and part of a shared reference frame of common terminology for both authors. A whiff of the French, a dose of theory, a sense of the vernacular turned on itself to reveal the underbelly of quotidian existence, all with a sense of wit, play, and language game. [J. Drucker]

content form:
prose (local)
experimental text (local) A dialogue in the form of an extended exquisite corpse exercise.

publication tradition:
artists' book (local)

inspiration: The found language of type sample books, particularly 19th century display face samples, was a distinct inspiration for this project. The peculiar match font and tone those books embodies, often by accident, was part of the project. [J. Drucker]

related works: A few other font-based works in the Drucker bibliography include From A to Z and Prove Before Laying, thought neither is a sample book. From A to Z uses fonts and font families to indicate some poetic sensibility and connection among writers. Prove Before Laying takes its name from the etiquette on a freshly minted font and plays with the slow rearrangement of the font into a text. S Cramp S Ample references sample books, but only in its format of lapped leaves of increasing shorter pages that allow for display of some part of each page's text in juxtaposition. Sample books are great fun to play with as a concept and genre, and other related works are really inspirations, rather than books to which this refers. [J. Drucker]

other influences: Gino Lee's presence always had an influence, as did that of Jim Barondess and Charles Steele, the other Bow and Arrow habituees (Charles wasn't a printer, but a presence). Amusing them was a distinct goal of this book, particularly with the cuneiform errata slip. [J. Drucker]

community: press The Bow and Arrow (Adams House, Harvard University) [J. Drucker]

note: Book actually is a type specimen book. [A. Pratt]

Related Documents

manuscript type: other

location: artist's archive

note: Not many manuscripts of documents exist for this project. It was pretty much done on the fly, in the stick, and on the galley.


General Comments

Some projects have the stamp of their authors, some have the mark of their moment in time. This work is distinctly of the former variety. From conception to execution, this was as true an expression of both authors' sensibility at the time as can be imagined. [J. Drucker]