“Look at the Book” is the Southampton Arts Center’s first exhibition for 2024, opening on Saturday, February 24, and running until May 4.
Curated by SAC’s Executive Director, Christina Mossaides Strassfield, it will be a multi-media exhibition, on show in SAC’s galleries, featuring 33 artists including Anita Balkun, Mary Ellen Bartley, Stephanie Brody-Lederman, John Buchbinder, Neke Carson, Carolyn Conrad, AG Duggan, Patricia Feiwel, Dorothy Frankel, Chip Haggerty, Barry Holden, Carol Hunt, Elaine de Kooning, Donald Lipski, Christa Maiwald, Richard Minsky, Jennie Nichols, Alfonso Ossorio, Erin Parsch, Goran Petmil, Joe Pintauro, Gabriele Raacke, Randall Rosenthal, Barbara Slate, Hadley Vogel, Paul Vogel, Dan Welden, Halsted S. Welles, Ellen Wiener, Julie Wolfe, Nina Yankowitz, and 00100011 [Hashtag], all of whom explore the idea of literacy and symbolism of books in our culture. The exhibition will open with a public evening reception at SAC on Saturday, February 24, at 6 PM.
The exhibition will focus on how contemporary artists have engaged with the book as a surface, structure, found objects, and philosophical and literary guide. The works will include all types of books, from accordion, video, and audiobooks to graphic novels, sculpture, photography, and even site-specific installations created with and from books.
Strassfield said, “This exhibition is a fascinating exploration of the evolving role of books in our digital society, the implication on society of banning books, and the constant need to defend freedom of speech in today’s America. It also delves into personal and societal literacy, which is still a challenge in the United States, especially in Suffolk County.”
Through curator tours, panel discussions, community talks, and workshops, SAC will provide artists and community members with ways to discuss the work and these ideas.
“Books have long since been a reliable source of information to learn about the world and culture. They are a way of handing down the information and stories from generation to generation as well as transporting us to fantasy worlds and places full of new ideas,” said Strassfield.
“Without books, we have to ask ourselves how do we access information, is it real or fake? Is it factual or propaganda? Are humans providing us with news or AI bots? Many people no longer have books in their homes or read newspapers. Some books are still banned, many people receive their information and news through social media today; how does this affect our understanding of the world, our ethics, and how we live our lives?”
The robust public program and classes supporting the exhibition incorporate sessions with Strassfield, artists such as Karyn Mannix and Amelia Bedelia, and illustrator, artist, and teacher Barbara Thomas.
“Don’t miss this beautiful conversation about one of the most critical topics of our age. British novelist Virginia Woolf said, ‘Books are the mirrors of the soul,’ come and examine this idea with us through thought-provoking art and fascinating discussions and workshops,” said Strassfield.