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The Reva and David Logan Symposium on the Artist's Book: "Paris 1913: Reinventing the Artist’s Book"

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Sonia Delaunay-Terk, "La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France" (detail), 1913. Illustrated book with pochoir, case: 80 x 17 in. (203.2 x 43.2 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of the Reva and David Logan Foundation, 2016.15.4.1

Sonia Delaunay-Terk, "La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France" (detail), 1913. Illustrated book with pochoir, case: 80 x 17 in. (203.2 x 43.2 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of the Reva and David Logan Foundation, 2016.15.4.1

John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Theater

By 1913, Cubism was firmly established as a dominant mode for French artists of the avant-garde. Writers and artists traveled in the same circles, especially in the bohemian communities of Montmartre and Montparnasse, and frequent artist/poet collaborations produced radical new experiments with text and image. In that year, artist Sonia Delaunay and poet Blaise Cendrars collaborated on a groundbreaking artist’s book built around the Cendrars poem “La prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France.” The 2018 Reva and David Logan Symposium takes this milieu, and La prose du Transsibérien, as the background for an afternoon of discussions that examine poet / artist collaboration and the book as an art medium. This symposium is presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Paris 1913: "La Prose du Transsibérien" and the Flowering of the Avant Garde

The Program

Simultaneity and Difference in La prose du Transsibérien
Marjorie Perloff will examine an anomaly at the heart of La prose du Transsibérien: the radiant beauty of Delaunay’s gorgeous primary colors bleeds into a text of sadness, loss, and despair. The artist’s and poet’s great collaboration resulted in what is often called “the first simultaneous book” – the first book to blend the visual and the verbal without resorting to “illustration” – but it is also a study in stark contrasts.

Cubist Language: The Abstraction of the Word
Craig Dworkin will investigate what happens when three of the key aspects defining and disrupting cubist painting — the genre of the portrait, the technique of abstraction, and the artist’s signature — are transferred to the art of poetry. Paying special attention to the function of the proper name, he will offer readings of works by poets from Guillaume Apollinaire to Gertrude Stein in order to suggest what might be understood as the "linguistic simultaneity" of cubist poetry.

Pattern Recognition
Harry Reese will focus his presentation on selected collaborative poetic and artistic print publications – most of which include projects he has designed and produced over the last four decades with Sandra Liddell Reese. His discussion will feature the studio processes and conceptual preparation that accompanied the publications they eventually made, and highlight comparative issues typically involved in collaborations between contemporary poets, artists, and editors.

Archives and Histories: Collecting and Recollecting
Inge Bruggeman will discuss how research informs her work as a book artist, connecting her to historic figures and moments in time as she builds a foundation to work from. She will outline the genesis and development of several projects, and explain how dialogue with the past can inspire renewal of the book form as a durable cultural icon and medium for art.

Construction and Deconstruction of a Masterpiece
Kitty Maryatt will detail the 1913 production methods of La Prose du Transsibérien and give probable reasons, from a bookmaker’s point of view, why the planned edition of 150 copies was not completed. Highlights include the choice of format for the book, the Mallarmé-ian space of the page, the 30 typefaces Blaise Cendrars selected, the translation of Sonia Delaunay’s oil painting into 93 pochoir plates, and the free-hand painting of the vellum covers.

The Presenters

Marjorie Perloff is the Sadie D. Patek Professor of Humanities Emerita at Stanford University, and Florence Scott Professor Emerita of English at the University of Southern California.  She is the author of many books on twentieth and twenty-first century poetry and poetics, including Frank O’Hara: Poet among Painters (1977); The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (1986); Unoriginal Genius: Writing by Other Means in the New Century (2011); and Poetics in a New Key (2014). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Philosophical Society of America. In 2016 she was the first Wittgenstein Guest Professor at Innsbruck University in Austria, where she also received an honorary degree. 

Craig Dworkin is the author of two scholarly monographs, Reading the Illegible (2003) and No Medium (2013), and five edited collections, including The Consequence of Innovation: 21st-Century Poetics (2008); The Sound of Poetry/ The Poetry of Sound, with Marjorie Perloff (2009); and Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing, with Kenneth Goldsmith (2011). He teaches literature and theory at the University of Utah and serves as Founding Senior Editor to the online archive Eclipse

Harry Reese, in partnership with Sandra Liddell Reese, is proprietor of Turkey Press and Edition Reese, in Isla Vista, California. He has taught print, papermaking, book art, visual literacy, and media ecology classes at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 1978, retiring to emeritus status this year. Through the Edition Reese imprint, he has worked with artists including Ann Hamilton, Yoko Ono, Kiki Smith, William T. Wiley, and many others. His work is held in many prominent collections throughout the United States and abroad. 

Inge Bruggeman is a book artist whose work investigates our personal and collective relationship to the shifting role of the book, print media and text in our world today. As assistant professor in the Art Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, she leads the Book and Publication Arts curricular program and directs the activities of the department’s Black Rock Press – an entity focused on re-envisioning the book in a post-digital age with innovative artistic and literary publications. Her work can be found in collections at the British Library, Stanford University, the Fogg Art Museum (Harvard University), Columbia University, and the Library of Congress, among many others.

Kitty Maryatt, Director Emerita of the Scripps College Press and Assistant Professor of Art at Scripps College in Claremont, California, taught typography and the book arts at Scripps for 30 years. Descriptions of the collaborative, limited edition letterpress books created by the students were published in 2016 in a bibliography of the Press, called Sixty Over Thirty. Her current grand project is to re-create La prose du Transsibérien with original pochoir and letterpress in an edition of 150 copies. Forthcoming articles about the production of the “book painting” will been published in The Codex Papers in Fall 2018 and in Parenthesis in 2019.


Ticket Information

Free with museum admission.


This event is generously supported by the Reva and David Logan Foundation and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Contact Information

Public Programs
(415) 750-7694