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Selected Installation Views

Chance

Chance in Concept or Content & Randonmess Determined by Reader Interaction


Fluxus Materials<

Fluxus Materials


Found Materials as Instigator & Chance Developments from Purposeful Spontaneity

Found Materials as Instigator & Chance Developments from Purposeful Spontaneity


Blind Collaboration

Blind Collaboration

By Chance: Serendipity and Randomness in Artists' Books

Chance is often a factor in the creation of artwork. Making books and other art works by hand allows serendipity and randomness to become part of the process. Over the years many artists have purposefully incorporated chance operations into their creative method. This exhibit shows examples of works that use chance in different ways: blind collaboration (working separately on the same project, without knowing what the other is doing), chance in the concept or content of the book, found materials as instigators for creation, randomness determined by reader interaction with the work, careful documentation of a chance moment in time, chance developments from purposeful spontaneity, and calculated chance operations. Using both historical and modern examples, the show illustrates different approaches by artists who have embraced unpredictability.

"By Chance" was based on the idea conceived by guest curator, Robin Price, Printer & Publisher, of Middletown, Connecticut. Price's work falls into the category of embracing chance, and she was curious about others' ventures into this arena. Her research led her to the Arts of the Book Collection, where Special Collections Librarian, Jae Jennifer Rossman, invited her to develop this exhibition. While the curators used the categories to better elucidate the place of chance in the creation of the books in this exhibition, these categories are merely suggestions. As with any work that somehow uses serendipity and randomness, there are no absolute rules. Many of the works in the exhibition could easily fall into more than one category. There are many bookworks that embrace chance not included in the exhibition. If this list provides some "food for thought" it has accomplished its goal.

Unless otherwise stated, the following works reside in the Arts of the Book Collection, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections.

Blind Collaboration

  • "Answered Prayers" (postcard). Diane Fine and Tracy Honn. Madison: WI, Moonkosh Press and Ragpicker Press, 1999.
  • A Change of Heart. Heidi Hess, Janice Kaye Au-Young, Marian Nina Marra, Matthew O. Manley, Helen Young Cheng, Sallie Fielding Reynolds, with instructor Mary Laird. San Francisco, CA: Boondoogle Press, 2002. Collection of Robin Price.
  • An Exquisite Corpse: Evidence of the Game As Played by David Hellman, William King, Patricia Martin, Bernadette Prue, Terrence Soffrin, Jessica Sperry, Jeanne Uigen, Karen Ward. Middletown, CT:[Graduate Liberal Studies Program], 2002. Collection Pat Martin.
  • Exquisite Horse: A Printer's Corpse. Organized by Tracy Honn. Madison, WI: Silver Buckle Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, 1997. Edition of 100.
  • Emandulo Re-Creation. Organized by Robbin Ami Silverberg. Johannesburg, South Africa: Artist Proof Studio and New York: Dobbin Books, 1997. Edition of 30.
  • Fancy Printer's Journal #1. Kurt Allersleve, Amanda Taylor, Felice Tebbe, Mark Wagner and Christopher Wilde. New York: Booklyn, 2001. Edition of 12.
  • Fishtales. Walter Tisdale and Barbara Tetenbaum. Bound by Daniel Kelm. Bangor, ME: Tatlin Books and Madison, WI: Triangular Press, 1993. Edition of 60.
  • Fluxus 1. Edited by George Maciunas. New York: ReFlux Editions, 1984.
  • The Ladies Printing Bee: An Anthology of Thirty-Nine Letterpress Printers Addressing the Subject of Women's Work. Compiled by Jules Remedios Faye. Sedro-Woolley, WA: Street of Crocodiles Printery, 1995. Edition of 195.
  • "Life: An Adventure" (postcard). Diane Fine and Tracy Honn. Madison: WI, Moonkosh Press and Ragpicker Press, 1991.
  • The Narrative Corpse: A Chain-Story by 69 Artists! Edited by Art Spiegelman and R. Sikoryak. Richmond, VA: Gates of Heck, 1995.
  • Nods. Text by John Cage, excerpted by Barbara Fahrner. Design by Barbara Fahrner. Printing and typography by Philip Gallo. Binding by Daniel Kelm. New York: Granary Books, 1990. Edition of 45.
  • Ode to a Grand Staircase (For Four Hands). Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum. Text by Erik Satie. Berkeley, California: Flying Fish Press and Portland, Oregon: Triangular Press, 2001. Edition of 100.
  • Playing Haydn for the Angel of Death. Bill Holm with fifteen invited book artists. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1997. Edition of 171.
  • A Printer's Exquisite Corpse. Organized by Barbara Tetenbaum. Madison, WI: Silver Buckle Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, 1992. Edition of 100.
  • Rubies and Pomegranates. Diane Fine and Tracy Honn. Madison: WI, Moonkosh Press and Ragpicker Press, 1999. Edition of 8. Collection of Tracy Honn.
  • 7 Rengas. The Giza Seven (Ruth Copans, Dave Donahue, J. Doster, Cecily Dyer, Mort Engstrom, Barry Spence, Betsey Wolfson) with Art Larson. Hadley, MA: Hottan Graphics, 2001. Edition of 8. Collection of J. Doster.
  • S.M.S. [Shit Must Stop] Portfolio No.4. Princess Winifred, Hollis Frampton, Lil Picard, Roy Lichtenstein, On Kawara, Paul Bergtold, Rotella, Robert Watts, John Cage, Arman Fernandez. Letter Edged in Black Press Incorporated, August 1968. On loan from the Yale University Art Gallery [1993.26.5.1-.14]
  • S.M.S. [Shit Must Stop] Portfolio No.5. Robert Rohm, Mel Ramos, Bruce Nauman, Williams Schwedler, Wall Batterton, Larry Wiener, Angus MacLise, Edward Fitzgerald, Neil Jenny, Diane Wakoski, Yoko Ono. Letter Edged in Black Press Incorporated, October 1968. On loan from the Yale University Art Gallery [1993.26.4.1-.12], Purchased with a gift from Arthur Fleischer, Jr., B.A. 1953, LL.B. 1958
  • Slurring at Bottom: A Printer's Book of Errors. Robin Price and Emily K. Larned. Middletown, CT: Robin Price, Printer & Publisher, 2001. Edition of 60.
  • [untitled]. Karen Ward. Middletown, CT: [Graduate Liberal Studies Program], 2002. Collection of the artist.

Calculated Chance Operations

  • Arplines. Harry Reese. Isla Vista, CA: Turkey Press, 1990. Edition of 43.
  • Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) Continued Part Three. John Cage. West Glover, VT: A Great Bear Pamphlet by Something Else Press, 1967. Collection of Robin Price.
  • From A to Z. Johanna Drucker. Berkeley, CA: Chased Press, 1977. Edition of 100.
  • Seven Never Before Published Portraits of Edward Weston. Mike Mandel. Santa Cruz, CA: self-published, 1974. Collection of the artist.
  • Silence: Lectures and Writings. John Cage. 1st edition. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961. On loan from Special Collections & Archives, Olin Library, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
  • X: Writings '79-'82. John Cage. 1st edition. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1983. On loan from Special Collections & Archives, Olin Library, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
  • A Year From Monday: New Lectures and Writings. John Cage. 1st edition. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1967. On loan from Special Collections & Archives, Olin Library, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.

Chance Developments from Purposeful Spontaneity

  • The Back of Time. Pati Scobey. Bound by Daniel Kelm. New York: Granary Books, 1992. Edition of 25
  • Emerging Sentience. Johanna Drucker and Brad Freeman. Charlottesville, VA and Atlanta, GA: JAB Books, 2001. Edition of 50.
  • Grrrhhhh: A Study of Social Patterns. Warren Lehrer. Based on weavings by Sandra Brownlee Ramsdale. Additional text by Dennis Bernstein. Purchase, N.Y.: ear/say, 1987. Edition of 650.
  • Mzlk: The Tours. Brad Freeman. New Haven, CT: self-published, 1997. Edition of 100.
  • Nova Reperta: New Discoveries and Inventions. Johanna Drucker and Brad Freeman. New Haven, CT: JAB Books, 1999. Edition of 75.
  • Overrun. Brad Freeman. Philadelphia, PA: Varicose Productions, 1990. Edition of 148.
  • Under Falling Questions. Pati Scobey. Concord, MI: Ricochet Works, 2000. Edition of 27.
  • A Visual Guide to Birdsong Reproduced in Color. Lisa Onstad and Barbara Tetenbaum. Portland, OR: Bobolink Press and Triangular Press, 1999. Edition of 20.

Chance in Concept or Content

  • Carpe Diem. Images and text by Ivan Soll. Design, printing and binding by Marta Gomez. Lithographs by Phyllis McGibbon. Madison, WI: Tiramisu Press, 1989. Edition of 60.
  • Grasshopper. Paloma Cain, Jonathan Cecil, Harry Reese, Sandra Reese. Isla Vista, CA: Turkey Press/Edition Reese, 2000. Edition of 25.
  • Poem: A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance. StÈphane MallarmÈ. Translated by D.J. Waldie. Printed and illustrated by Gary Young. Santa Cruz, CA: Greenhouse Review Press, 1990. Edition of 60. Call number 1992 +104. On loan from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Library
  • "Schiffart." Zweite Enzyklopadie von Tlˆn. Ines v. Ketelhodt and Peter Malutzki. Oberursel and Lahnstein, Germany: self-published, 1997 - [2006]. Edition of 40.
  • Wards of Obsolescence. Emily McVarish. San Francisco, CA: self-published, 1995. Edition of 50.

Careful Documentation of Chance Moment

  • An anecdoted topography of chance (re-anecdoted version) [by] Daniel Spoerri. Done with the help of his very dear friend, Robert Filliou, and translated from the French, and further anecdoted at random by their very dear friend, Emmett Williams. With one hundred reflective illus. by Topor. New York: Something Else Press, [1966].
  • Footnotes: Collage Journal 30 Years. Alison Knowles. New York: Granary Books, 2000.
  • Hand Show. Robert Filliou. Villingen, Germany: SABA-Studio, 1967. Edition of 150. On loan from the Yale University Art Gallery [1995.68.3], The Lawrence and Regina Dubin Family Collection, gift of Dr. Lawrence Dubin, B.S. 1955, M.D. 1958
  • Myself: Timed Exposures. Mike Mandel. Los Angeles, CA: self-published, 1972.
  • A Pedestrian Blockade. Bill Berine. New York: The Collation Center, 1977. Edition of 1000. On loan from the Yale University Art Gallery [1989.47.11]
  • The 336 Lines Currently Expurgated From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in Ninth Grade Textbooks. Janet Zweig. Long Island City, NY: Sheherezade, 1989. Collection of Robin Price.
  • W¸rfelw¸rfe. Paul Heimbach. Kˆln, Germany: self-published, 1995. Edition of 56.

Found Materials as Instigator

  • Autobiographies. Scott McCarney. Rochester, N.Y.: Smart Books, 1999. Edition of 20.
  • "Buch." Zweite Enzyklopadie von Tîn. Ines v. Ketelhodt and Peter Malutzki. Oberursel and Lahnstein, Germany: self-published, 1997 - [2006]. Edition of 40.
  • A Chronology of Important Events: As Originally Published in the Hill's Manual, Chicago, IL 1876. Phyllis McGibbon and Barbara Tetenbaum. Madison, WI: Triangular Press and Isolde Press, 1989. Edition of 50.
  • DENKmal. Uta Schneider and Ulrike Stoltz. Germany: self-published, 1990. Edition of 25. Collection of <usus>.
  • Five Visual Poems. Philip Gallo. Minneapolis, MI: Hermetic Press, 1986. Edition of 100. Shown: "A disceret sugn on the steinwayÖ" by Jonathan Williams and "My lipstick Ö" by Philip Gallo.
  • Flower. Brian D. Cohen. Bound by Linda Lembke. Bellows Falls, VT: Bridge Press, 1993. Edition of 10.
  • "Mapamundi." Zweite Enzyklopadie von Tîn. Ines v. Ketelhodt and Peter Malutzki. Oberursel and Lahnstein, Germany: self-published, 1997 - [2006]. Edition of 40.
  • Index to the Encyclopedia. Scott McCarney. Rochester, NY: Smart Books, 1994. Edition of 1000.
  • This Book is Extremely Receptive: A Flipbook. Janet Zweig. Long Island City, NY: Sheherezade, 1989.
  • [untitled]. Pat Martin and Dave Hellman. Middletown: CT: [Graduate Liberal Studies Program], 2002. Collection of Robin Price.
  • [untitled]. Terry Soffrin. Middletown, CT: [Graduate Liberal Studies Program], 2002. Collection of the artist.
  • "Zeit." Zweite Enzyklopadie von Tîn. Ines v. Ketelhodt and Peter Malutzki. Oberursel and Lahnstein, Germany: self-published, 1997 - [2006]. Edition of 40.

Randomness Determined by Reader Interaction

  • The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure No. 1). Edward Packard. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1979. Collection of Corey and Jae Rossman.
  • Cent Mille Milliards de Poëmes. Raymond Queneau. Paris: Gallimard, 1961. Edition of 2750.
  • In/Decision. Mark Wagner. Brooklyn, NY: Bird Brain Press, 2001. Edition of 5.
  • Inside Chance. Text by Alberto Rìos. Image and binding by Linda Smith. Phoenix, AZ: Picnic Press, 2000. Edition of 100.
  • One Hundred Million Million Poems. Raymond Queneau. Translation by John Crombie. Paris: Kickshaws Press, 1983. Edition of 500.
  • Treading the Maze: An Artist's Book of Daze. Susan E. King. Rochester, N.Y.: Montage 93, International Festival of the Image, 1993.
  • Water Yam. George Brecht. [Fluxus C], 1963/69. On loan from the Yale University Art Gallery [1994.75.1], A. Conger Goodyear, B.A. 1899, Fund

Historical Examples of Chance

  • "Un Coup de Dès Jamais N'abolira le Hazard." Stèphane Mallarmè. In Cosmopolis: An International Monthly Review. Edited by F. Ortmans. London: T. Fisher Unwin. Volume VI, 1897. p. 415-427. On loan from Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University Library. (See category: Chance in Concept or Content)
  • Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms: A Guide to Correct Writing. Thomas. E. Hill. Chicago: Hill Standard Book Co., 1882. (See category: Found Material as Instigator)
  • The Holy Bible: Containing the Old Testament and the Nevv. London: Robert Barker, printer to the Kings most Excellent Maiestie, 1631. Call number 1977 1956. On loan from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Library
  • [Untitled]. Drawing by Andrè Breton, Man Ray, Max Morise, and Yves Tanguy, 1928. (Color photocopy from In the Mind's Eye: Dada and Surrealism. Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1985. p. 105 (Example of Exquisite Corpse drawing.)