April 27, 2019
Center for Book Arts: Celebrating the Art of Book Writing, Design, and Binding
The NoMad neighborhood is a hub for the design and creative industries, and its reputation in these areas is growing all the time. It was the creative individuals and environment in NoMad that attracted Rizzoli Bookstore and rare book dealers like Pryor-Johnson to the area.
This intellectual curiosity certainly draws new institutions, but it has also allowed the neighborhood to retain its legacy as a haven for the literary arts. One of the few organizations in the country dedicated to the art of the book is located right here. The Center for Book Arts, on the third floor of 28 West 27th Street, is part art gallery, part education center, and part event space—all dedicated to the celebration of the book as an art form from its content to its illustration, design, binding and beautiful finishing.
Established in 1974, the Center for Book Arts was the first organization of its kind anywhere in the world, and since its founding many similar organizations have modeled themselves after it. With the digital age now quickly transforming the way people buy and read books, this organization seems now to have a fresh sense of relevance as a center for celebrating the physical book as a rich part of our past and ongoing artistic legacy.
Indeed, from historic ephemera to special bindings to art pieces made from books, the Center is as much interested in the physical iterations of books as it is what is written on their pages.
Permanent Collection — The Center’s permanent collection contains some of the most unusual book-as-art pieces you’ll find anywhere, including wonderfully preserved illustrations, flipbooks, broadsides, chapbooks, and even a book made from a gourd. (Trust us–you just have to see it.)
In the process, the Center pays homage not only to authors, but also to artists, printers, papermakers, illustrators and binders—virtually anyone who contributes to the creation of a book or book-related art piece.
Temporary Exhibits — The Center also presents special temporary exhibits focused on a particular artist or theme. For instance, from mid-April to late June, the CBA will feature Deposits, an interactive art project by featured artist Inge Bruggeman; and Rising Together, a collection of works celebrating the history of social conscience and speaking truth to power.
Educational Opportunities — In addition to its galleries, the Center for Book Arts hosts special events and educational opportunities, including talks, lectures and readings for the general public, as well as classes and workshops for more serious students of book art.
Aiding Artists — The Center also encourages the growth of book artists and writers, through various contests, scholarships, residencies and grant programs.
If you are interested in the art of book making, this is a gem you should visit. It is a unique resource that is helping to sustain an appreciation of fine book making and promotes the skills needed to make a beautiful book. To get on their mailing list for upcoming events, visit this link.
The galleries are open Monday through Saturday and are free to the public.
Center for Book Arts
28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10001
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.