I've returned from my first visit to Minneapolis since moving to Austin TX. I remembered Minneapolis was a beautiful city, and a great city, and was only a little amazed at just how pretty it really is. I felt a little nostalgic, and like I missed it a little, but reminded myself that the weather is truly a factor for most of the year. Our visit was over one of the nicest weeks of the year, and I only needed to remind myself that soon it will be cooler here in Austin, and I wont freeze my ass all winter.
In addition to lots and lots of family, and a pleasant run around Lake Nokomis everyday but one, we visited several of my favorite art and craft related places. What else would I do.
The first was the MN Center for Book Arts. An old familiar stumpin' ground for me - prior to my move to Austin I worked in The Shop for years, and was a member of the Artist Co-Op. The MCBA is a rare resource in the world of Book Arts, as well as a beautiful place to visit. There is a bindery, a letterpress print shop, a gallery, and of course The Shop.
The current show in the Gallery space is "We, too, are Book Artists" and features the largest collection of Book Arts by Afro American Book Artists any where in the world. At only 24 artists it seemed a little sad in an ironic way that it is the "largest" collection. The work was mostly political. There were several letterpress printed broadsides that I liked quite a lot, as well as a few books available to "gently handle". I appreciated this not only because it makes art feel more democratic, but also because it is the only real way to interact with a book.
The Shop there at the MCBA has been re-arranged some and was presently well stocked. I took advantage to add to my humble but growing collection of Artists Books. My favorites were two miniatures by artist Jessica Rosenkranz of Headless Press - "Chicken Story" and "30 White Roosters" and a fun little spoof called "How to Care or Your Art". I also picked up a few new zines, including two issues of the letterpress printed zine Ker Bloom, which is also available on Etsy at Artnoose. And a booklet titled "Notta Lotta Love Stories" by Evil Twin Publications, it is absolutely some of the best writing I've had the pleasure to read in a long time.
I also took advantage of the bindery and cut myself an ample supply of Davey Board for journal making. If I had been in Minneapolis longer than the 6 short days I would have loved to spent some time printing on one of the old Vandercook Proof Presses. But time was limited , as it always is on vacations.
Housed in a restored warehouse space just one block from the river the architecture alone is reason enough, but of course not the only reason to visit the MCBA, next time you find yourself in my pretty, pretty home town.