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JAB31: Collaboration, Cooperation, & Shared Goals
An Anecdote 1
by Brad Freeman
A successful collaboration hinges on the positive and sympathetic relationship between artists and is exemplified by mutual respect and trust in each other’s ideas and abilities. The final object will not be the work of one or the other artist, but something new that neither alone would have created. The making of the cover for this JAB was a spontaneous and unexpected collaboration between Mary Jo Pauly (MJP) and myself. 2
Over the past decade or so MJP has been mailing small packages to me jammed (but tidy) with cultural artifacts, photos, and her writing. 3 We share an ironic and dark sense of humor that also includes the light and silly and the items she sends always, somehow, comment on the condition of the world—and since she’s from Minnesota, often the Midwest. A couple of months ago one of her gatherings arrived—the envelope bearing her familiar, tiny, and tightly composed writing, not just the regular address and return address but also little notes, the beginning of the communication, the material and message overflowing on to the outside of the envelope. Inside was a motley collection of stuff including a torn fragment of paper with her “Summer 1967” text and a photo of Skipper, her mom’s pet poodle whose adventures MJP had told me about. 4
Soon after receiving this package and needing a cover for JAB31 I called her with a proposition to join “Summer 1967” and the photo of Skipper, happily incongruous, as the main elements for this cover. And, thinking of Skipper, I told her that I was thinking vaguely about rhinestones, maybe as part of the JAB31 title on the cover. She immediately said she could probably find some old rhinestone-enhanced dog collars stashed in a closet and that she could come up with a design. She did.
Initially I thought the “JAB31” she created on the collars was too subdued as compared to the bold, graphic quality on previous covers, and told her so. She said she liked subtle. I thought about the idea of the autonomy of the artist, and thus this spectacular and surprising cover.
This JAB was offset printed by Jenna Rodriguez and Claire Sammons under my supervision on the Heidelberg GTO at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago. 5 Sammons and Rodriguez are both Print Production Fellows and graduate students in the Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts MFA program at CCC. 6
Six new writers for JAB make their debut in this issue including Thomas Kromann, Anthony Leslie, Sarah Bodman, Alastair Johnston, Sarah Bassnett, and Albert Coers. From this group an international flavor can be detected with Kromann from Denmark, Bodman and Johnston from the UK, Bassnett from Canada, and Coers from Germany. Returning writers include M. Kasper, 7 Karol Shewmaker, 8 and Brandon Graham. 9 Two artists’ books are included in the envelope attached to the inside back cover. Aaron Cohick’s book is his first artist’s project with JAB, although he has written for us previously. 10 Also in the envelope is Kevin Riordan’s re-purposed artist’s book based on an earlier iteration as five artist’s pages in JAB30.
This fall JAB32 will be a special issue with a focus on Portuguese artists’ books put together by Catarina Cardoso. 11
Also this fall an exhibition covering forty years of artist’s books by Johanna Drucker will be held at the Center for Book and Paper Arts. To commemorate that event we are publishing a facsimile of her 1976 out of print book From A to Z (price will be around $25).
Special thanks go to Shewmaker for the QR code—check out the JAB website and Facebook page, where we’ve started posting videos of some of the books we receive, thanks to Luan Barros. Kathi Beste continues on as our intrepid webmaster.
Finally, why all these footnotes? 12
1. See pages twenty-five through thirty-six, the Spoerri book that belonged to Dick Higgins and “Anecdotology, Annotationism and Arborescence,” by Alastair Brotchie.
2. Pauly designed and letterpress printed the cover for JAB26.
3. See page six, “The Mailbox is in the Library: Reading Under Judith Hoffberg’s Umbrella,” by Anthony Leslie.
La Mamelle, Inc., rubber stamp from Imagezine, 1978
4. For images of Skipper see cover, page twenty-four, and page fifty-two.
5. For photos of the two printing the cover see this page, page twenty-four, and fifty-two.
6. They also collaborated on a review of Transitions—Rochester 2010– 2012 in this issue, page forty. Sammons wrote the Books Received column in this issue, page forty-seven.
7. JAB2 “Calendar Art: Scenes from the Life of Raja Ravi Varma” by M. Kasper, page one.
and JAB13 “Presenting Gabriel Pomerand’s Saint ghetto des prêts” by M. Kasper, page six.
8. JAB30 “Isabel Baraona: Four Recent Books” by Karol Shewmaker, page eighteen.
9. JAB30 “Weproductions: Forty Years and Counting” by Brandon Graham, page thirty.
10. JAB27 “Text, Image, Writing, Reading: Kristen Merola’s Things I Wanted to Tell You” by Aaron Cohick.
11. JAB29 “Book Fairs: Paris & Beyond” by Catarina Figueiredo Cardoso, page forty-four.
and JAB30 “A Woman‘s World: the Artist‘s Books of Isabel Baraona” by Catarina Figueiredo Cardoso, page sixteen.
12. See page twenty-eight in this issue.
JAB31 was offset printed on the Heidelberg GTO (eine farben) at the Center for Book & Paper Arts by BF, Jenna Rodriguez, and Claire Sammons in April, 2012.
Digital files were imageset at CBPA on the Agfa Avantra 25. The paper is Mohawk Superfine, Ultrawhite.
The fonts are Ehrhardt and Stymie, kindly recommended by the inimitable and knowledgable Alastair Johnston.
This marks the return of a slab serif used in previous issues with Memphis, a copy of the more reputable Stymie.
See more pages, articles, and inserts from Jab31.