JAB47/48 | The Swan-Song Issue
Spring 2020


Excerpt from the Editor’s Farewell Letter
This double issue of JAB 47/48 is the last issue of JAB.
It’s time to quit. Throw in the towel. Call it a day. Cash in our chips. Walk off into the sunset.

You get the idea.

JAB has had a far longer and wildly successful run than expected at the outset of the project. A lot of the first JABs were given away, and some were sent to libraries with artists’ book collections. Unexpected things happen and we adjust, we change, we adapt. For JAB what changed was the rising interest in writing about artists’ books from artists, collectors, educators, and librarians. Librarians expect that a periodical will be just that—something published periodically on a regular basis. And this new something was a printed journal that could be read, responded to, collected, and in the case of libraries made available to a wider audience, usually in an educational institution. After the first JAB was received librarians inquired as to when the next issue was coming out. And then a subscriber list started. The libraries dutifully re-subscribe each year and there have been some very loyal individuals who have supported JAB over its entire life span. Without our many stalwart, faithful, and loyal subscribers JAB would not have continued. I thank you (you know who you are), and sincerely appreciate your generous commitment.

JAB47/48: Dedicated to the Memory of Ruth Laxson
The images and texts in Ruth Laxson’s artist books were infused with meaningful content and political issues rendered in her distinctive handmade and spontaneous style. Unfortunately, Ruth passed away this year, and the artists’ book world has lost one of its best. Ruth lived in Atlanta and the last book printed at Nexus Press was her A Hundred Years of: Lex/Flex in 2003. As the printer I was fortunate to be the facilitator of Lex/Flex, if for no other reason than to be inspired by her effusive personality and the bounce in her step—Ruth was seventy-nine at the time. She also designed the cover (inside and out) for JAB20 (fall, 2003) which was the last JAB in its first iteration from JAB1 to JAB20. The cover of JAB20 was a response by Ruth to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq under false pretenses. On the cover (see illustration this page) appears one of her two-letter word poems that succinctly places responsibility for the troubles of the world on each and every one of us.

it is up to us if we go on as it is

There’s a great interview with Ruth by Pattie Belle Hastings in JAB8 (fall, 1997).
To read the complete Letter from the Editor, see the printed issue.

Artists’ Books inserted into JAB47/48
There are THIRTEEN artists’ books included with JAB47/48, making it a Lucky Number for our readers! There were so many for this last issue, we created separate cover carriers for the eight envelopes that hold the thirteen beautiful pieces. As always, the inserted books are an essential part of the issue, and should always remain with the host magazine, to be enjoyed simultaneously in concert with the thoughtful articles in the main publication, in perpetuity.

JAB47/48 Table of Contents

  • Outside Cover Collaboration
    by Jim Hajicek, Kathi Beste, and Brad Freeman

  • Inside Cover: Random-ish Set-up Sheets
      by many many collaborators, and BF
  • On Reflection and In Retrospect:
    The Journal of Artists’ Books, 1994–2020

      by Johanna Drucker

  • The Smell of Books:
    Freud’s Gardenia and Other Ephemeral Scents

      by Deborah Riley Parr

  • Book Arts and Literary Work:
    Ugly Duckling Presse

      by Johanna Drucker

  • Ideas Have No Smell
      by Deborah Riley Parr

  • Uniqueness and Multiplicity: Artists’ Statement
      by Ioannis Anastasiou and Majka Dokudowicz

  • Artists’ Pages: A Collaboration
      by Paria Izadmehr and Brad Freeman
  • Darkness & Ice, Culture & History: Two Books by Ellie Ga
      by Woody Leslie

  • Narrative Through Collage: Two Books by Amir Brito Cador
      by Woody Leslie

  • Ethan Jones: In Spite of Evidence Gazeteer, 2017–2018
      by Deborah Riley Parr
  • Visual Reading
      by Woody Leslie

  • Book Reviews
      by Brad Freeman
  • Student and Alumni Involvement with JAB: 2007–2020
  • COCO/CLEO: Collaborative Cats—2020
      by Woody Leslie

  • Book Reviews
      by Brad Freeman

  • THIRTEEN Artists’ Books are included with JAB47/48:
    Mrs. Tutu Pays a Visit — Anon
    Spells to Kill Your Boss — Julia Arredondo
    Weights & Marks — Aimee Beaudien
    Prance — Seana Biondolillo
    algaravias — Amir Brito Cador
    KOREA–JAPAN–1963 — Tom Freeman & Brad Freeman
    Little Girl No One Missed —Brad Freeman
    Just Saying — Matt Liddle
    Documentation — Leah Mackin
    Four Long & Two Short — Emily McVarish
    Outport Night — Clifton Meador
    Green Americans —Tate Shaw
    I Write What I Know… — Robbin Ami Silverberg

    You can click over to the Details page to see images of articles
    and ARTISTS’ BOOKS included with JAB47/48…
    Or, better yet, send in the JAB order form today, and receive the actual
    ink-on-paper copy via the U.S. Postal Service!

  •  ~ JAB47/48 Colophon

    JAB47/48 was offset printed on the CCCCBPP Heidelberg GTO by Print Production Fellows and BF. The paper is Mohawk Superfine throughout.

    ► The JAB47/48 cover is a collaboration between Jim Hajicek, Kathi Beste, and Brad Freeman.

    ► Not to beat a dead horse, but please be advised again that the inserted artists’ books are a critical part of JAB47/48, and should never be separated from the issue.
    Keep them safe and snug in their lovely envelopes that are attached to the inside and outside of the JAB47/48 cover, removing them only when you, dear reader,
    gently take them out of their white wove cocoons and into your hands to experience them.

    ► The saddle-stitch binding for the individual books was done at Union Book Bindery in Chicago (thank you CeCe!). The hand-collating and assembly of inserted artists’ books and insert envelope labeling was done at CBPA by Brad Freeman, Kathi Beste, and Julia Arredondo.

    ► ERRATA on the printed piece: The label on the inserted envelope for the artists' book Documentation should read Leah Mackin. Sorry for the oversight, we appreciate your understanding.

    Founder and Editor
    Brad Freeman

    Advisory Board
    Kathi Beste
    Stephen DeSantis
    Johanna Drucker
    Helen Frederick
    Brandon Graham
    Debra Riley Parr
    Tate Shaw
    April Sheridan
    Karen Wirth
    Philip Zimmermann

    Kathi Beste once again implemented the JAB website updates as our enigmatic webmaster.
    She completed this final digital chapter in JAB history with backup doo-wops and flamenco palmas courtesy of the Book Artists’ Sunshine Band.

    JAB (The Journal of Artists’ Books) is indexed in
    The H.W. Wilson Company, Art Abstracts, CSA’s ARTbibliographies Modern,
    and in Bibliography of the History of Art.