Karen Hanmer, “Elephants Battle Aggressive Vegetation in Ancient Egypt: Mix and match decorative motifs from the designed bindings collections at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia”
Artist: Karen Hanmer (Glenview, IL)
Title: Elephants Battle Aggressive Vegetation in Ancient Egypt: Mix and match decorative motifs from the designed bindings collections at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
Medium/technique(s): A boxed set of 7 plaquettes: binders’ board covered with inkjet printed cotton backed with Japanese tissue
Edition size: 20
Dimensions, open: 7.5″ x 4.75″
Dimensions, closed: 8.5″ x 5.5″ x 2″
This boxed set of seven plaquettes creates new cover designs by combining elements from each of the five late nineteenth and early twentieth century publishers’ bindings The Philadelphia Athenaeum made available online to artists in the fall of 2011.
Part decorative arts and part cabinet of curiosities, the five bindings represent a cross section of styles, including Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, and Egyptian Revival. The new cover designs, like those they take as their starting point, reflect late nineteenth century interest in exotic locales, architecture, flora and fauna. An accordion-fold colophon includes artist’s statement, small images of the five books from The Athenaeum’s collection, and image credits.