Sarah Smith, “Dance Steps for the Beleaguered”

Front cover detail


Unfolded book


Detail of title page and first few pages


Detail of colophon and back inside cover, book folded up


Text and images for reading — one spread


Artist: Sarah Smith (Beverly, MA)

Title: Dance Steps for the Beleaguered (2012)

Medium/technique(s): Letterpress/polymer plate accordion book

Edition size: 36

Number of pages: 10

Dimensions, open: 12 x 90 x .5 in

Dimensions, closed: 12 x 9 x .5 in


Artist Statement:

The humor in my work revolves around human behavior and interactions in social situations, academia, the workplace and in history. Authority and authorship is brought into question as text and form turn out to be other than expected. Ideas and images are often put into a different context to better point out the absurdity in life.

In the case of Dance Steps for the Beleaguered, life at a meeting is examined in the context of animal behavior, honey bee communication, animal enrichment programs for bored animals kept in captivity, flocking patterns, management of various farm animals and other issues involving animals, their psychology and social structures. Of course the parallel of human behavior to animal behavior is obvious, but when it is presented through the snippy comments and abstracts written by two bickering academics the connections become further blended and amplified at the same time. At least this is the aim. Another aim is to make the viewer/reader laugh and recognize even more connections between the absurdity of human constructs and the complexity of the natural world.