Posts tagged: Art Exhibit

The Aesthetic of a Book: Wilson Limited Editions Exhibit

By , November 23, 2015


Hiroshima, illustrated by Jacob Lawrence

Hiroshima, illustrated by Jacob Lawrence.

“It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.” 

~ Vincent Van Gogh

In case you were visiting the Downtown Library recently and moseyed your way into the first floor art gallery, and happened upon several books from the Wilson Collection and thought, “these books look familiar!” You’d be correct. They are indeed books from the Wilson Limited Editions Collection. Every once in a blue-moon, the amazing collection owned by the Library known as the Wilson Collection gets its own exhibit in a Library art gallery. That time has come again and the title of the exhibit is: The Aesthetic of a Book.

For those of you that haven’t stumbled upon it yet, you are in luck because it’s a pretty diverse and cool exhibit (if I can brag a little). I had a lot of help from my student intern for this semester, Brooke Jackson, and from my supervisor, Liz Coleman. Combined, we collaboratively created an exhibit that displays books and prints ranging from the Bible to Fahrenheit 451. 

The prints chosen from portfolios for the exhibit include:

Music, Deep Rivers in My Soul, illustrated by Dean Mitchell

Music, Deep Rivers in My Soul, illustrated by Dean Mitchell

Music, Deep Rivers in My Soul by Maya Angelou
Artist: Dean Mitchell
Published by the LEC: 2003

A Tribute to Cavafy: Translations by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard
Artist: Duane Michals
Published by the LEC: 2003

Bookmarks in the Pages of Life by Zora Neale Hurston
Artist: Betye Saar
Published by the LEC: 2001

Cosi Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Artist: Balthus
Published by the LEC: 2001

The Heights of Machu Picchu by Pablo Neruda
Artist: Edward Ranney
Published by the LEC: 1998

Sunrise is Coming After While by Langston Hughes
Artist: Phoebe Beasley
Published by the LEC: 1998

Hiroshima by John Hersey
Artist: Jacob Lawrence
Published by the LEC: 1982

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Artist: Barry Moser
Published by the Pennyroyal Press: 1982

I don’t want to spoil the books that were chosen however, but I can say the ones chosen include a couple of my favorites, a few old and a few new, and several that exemplify the uniqueness of the collection. Here’s a small sample of a few of the books chosen:

The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, illustrated by Barry Moser

The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, illustrated by Barry Moser.










Temple of Flora, illustrated by Jim Dine.

Temple of Flora, illustrated by Jim Dine.









The Kingdom of this World, illustrated by Roberto Juarez

The Kingdom of This World, illustrated by Roberto Juarez.










If you’d like to see more, you are going to have to come to the Downtown Library and visit the first floor art gallery. The hours are the same as the library hours. Accompanying the display are several books from the Library’s collection; these books sitting on the window sills are able to be checked out.

Coming soon, the exhibit will include a digital component as well. The touchscreen in the gallery will include more material about the collection. Also, starting in the new year, there will be several b00k-making-related workshops open to anyone to participate. We’ll begin registering for these workshops in the new year. They’re all free and require registration. The classes range from accordion book making to zine making. Check out December’s Off-the-Shelf post to see the full list of workshops. To register for the classes (when registration begins), please call 615-880-2356.

The display in the Wilson room currently matches the first floor gallery exhibit, displaying the books that match the prints (the prints listed above), and a few other specialties.

Other upcoming programs with the collection:

Throwback Thursday with the Wilson Collection –  December 10th in the Teen Area @ Downtown Library, 3:30-5:00

Every month, I bring a few books from the collection back to the Teen area. Teens get a hands-on experience with the books, seeing firsthand what makes these books different from the ones on the shelves. Each program includes a new craft as well that coincides with the month’s theme. December’s theme will be the season/holiday, so come participate in the program and you get to bring home a cool DIY craft!

Here are a few pictures from November’s program:

Thankful books craft           Thankful book crafts


If you’re interested in visiting the Wilson Collection, you’ll find it on the 3rd floor of the Downtown Library in the East Reading Room (between the Fine Arts department and Non-Fiction). The hours are the same as the Main Library hours. If you’d like a personal tour of the collection where you’d get to see the books up close and even get to look through them yourself, either respond to this blog post or call either of the following numbers:

(615)880-2363 – leave a message for myself.

(615)880-2356 – leave a message for Liz.

Stay tuned for next month’s post!

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