Beyond Cover Art
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Grand Rapids 1937 by Lynn Skordal
‘Grand Rapids 1937’ by Lynn Skordal

Books become unbound from their shelf-ready forms at Bound and Unbound III, a biennial exhibit at the University of South Dakota’s University Libraries. The exhibition features 46 pieces by 37 artists from Canada, Spain, Romania and the US.

The artists utilize a wide range of mixed media to alter and re-envision a literary work in its ligneous form.

This year’s exhibit is juried by Sandy Brooke, associate professor of art at Oregon State University-Cascades. “I selected books I believed would challenge the viewer and make them interact with the work," Brooke said. “Some artists recycled library books, grinding them into paper pulp and remolding them. One series crystalized the book in Borax crystals creating a jeweled, reflective surface as if it were something you might find deep in a cave."

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“We are pleased to have such a strong exhibition,” said committee member Sarah A. Hanson, digitization and photographs associate at USD University Libraries. Artists showcased have exhibited internationally, nationally and regionally. Some have works in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim, Smithsonian, Center for the Book, National Museum for Women in the Arts and AT&T.

For artist Ellen Cantor, the experience of childhood reading is very important to her work, while Alexis Arnold chooses to “focus on time, transformation, and perception.”

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Artists included in the exhibition are: Rhonda M. Thomas-Urdang (Arizona); Alexis Arnold, Elizabeth Ashcroft, Ellen Cantor, Adele Crawford, Lauren Kohne, Gina Pisello, Carmen Tostado (California); Guylaine Couture (Canada); Gail M. Nelson (Colorado); Peggy Johnston, Shannon Sargent (Iowa); Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine, Ania Gilmore, Annie Zeybekoglu (Massachusetts); Maria Lupo, Irmari Nacht, Kara Petraglia (New Jersey); Carole P. Kunstadt, Claudia Sbrissa (New York); James Halvorson (Oregon); Janette Chien, Erin Malkowski (Pennsylvania); Manuela Toderas (Romania); Ana Tomas Miralles (Spain); Emily Fleisher, Anna Mavromatis, Michele Mayfield (Texas); Nancy Steele-Makasci (Utah); Shayla Dhingra, Patricia Drummond, Ashley Roth (Virginia); Lynn Skordal (Washington); Edwin Jager, Vicki Milewski, Julie VonDerVellen (Wisconsin).

Bound and Unbound III is on display on the second floor of the I.D. Weeks Library through January 4, and open to the public during library operating hours. The exhibit is also available for viewing online in the Digital Library of South Dakota.