Exhibitions in the Austin/Burch Gallery SFCB has mounted numerous exhibitions, ranging from group works to individual retrospectives and featuring local, national and international book artists.

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
A project of Beau Beausoleil and Sarah Bodman
Exhibition coordinated by Sas Colby
Exhibition Dates
February 1 – May 11, 2013
About the Exhibition
In March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. Al-Mutanabbi Street is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and even tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.
Book artists represent what is intangible between the pages of any book they create, the interior space that they enter, and from which they slowly fashion a book brings to the visible world the myriad emotions of any text, be it their own, or someone else’s.
The coalition asks each Book Artist who joins the project to complete three books (or other paper material) in the course of a year, books that reflect both the strength and fragility of books, but also show the endurance of the ideas within them. We seek constructions of all the various vessels of the printed word, ones that pay homage to the truth that can rest between any two covers. We are looking for work that reflects both the targeted attack on this “street of the booksellers” as well as the ultimate futility of those who try to erase thought.
The inventory of al-Mutanabbi Street was as diverse as the Iraqi population, including literature of both Iraq and the Middle East, history, political theory, popular novels, scholarly works, religious tracts, technical books, poetry, mysteries; even stationery and blank school notebooks could be purchased on this street, as well as children’s books, comics, and magazines. Arabic was of course the predominate language but books in Farsi, French, German, and English were also represented. Because books have their own journeys, ones quite unknown to us, I imagine there were a few books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, or Italian, as well as classic Greek and Latin, Hindi, or even Russian. Your own text for this project can reflect the multiplicity of this linguistic crossroads. 
This project is both a lament and a commemoration of the singular power of words. We ask that the work move within these parameters. We hope the books created will use al-Mutanabbi and its printers, writers, booksellers, and readers, as a touchstone. We hope that these books will make visible the literary bridge that connects us, made of words and images that move back and forth between the readers in Iraq and ourselves. These books will show the commonality of al-Mutanabbi Street with any street, anywhere, that holds a bookstore or cultural institution.
And that this attack (part of a long history of attacking the printed word) was an attack on us all.
The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition is not an anti-war project, nor is it a healing project. The coalition feels that until we truly see what happened on this one winding street of booksellers and readers, on this one day in Baghdad, until we understand all the implications of an attack on the printed word and its writers, printers, booksellers and readers, until we see that this is our street, until then, we cannot truly move forward.

Paolo Salvagione: One for Each

Book Preview and Exhibition Opening
Friday/ November 02/ 6:00 - 8:00pm

San Francisco Center for the Book and 2012 Imprint Artist in Residence Paolo Salvagione invite you to the preview of One for Each: a sensory Wunderkammer. This elegant cabinet of curiosities contains five drawers, one for each of the human senses. Each drawer holds a distinct, self-contained object. Paolo Salvagione is striving for the playful manner that, he hopes, is seen as routinely characterizing his work — and if it all works, the senses will mingle in unexpected ways.
The completed One for Each will be a compact set of drawers, a box of English buckram and black leather, nearly 250 cubic inches of sensory activity.

Paolo describes the edition as follows: "Three-dimensional projections emphasize the tactile nature of printed images. Silhouettes of leaves ask you to gauge species by contour, yet the absence of color brings attention to the visual. Talking tapes acknowledge a tangible aspect of sound. A musky, smell-based exploration summons up mental images of physical activity. A unique taste enhancer promises to temporarily bond to your receptors, making all things sour seem sweet — but first your fingers must negotiate the brittle blister pack. And all, in combination and individually, show how our senses can deceive us, and in the process yield something akin to a child’s surprise at the roles these senses play in helping us navigate the world."

For the past nine years, Rik Olson’s iconic steamroller images have been an introduction to that magic of printing on a communal scale. Using the road as his press bed, Olson’s larger-than-life linoleum prints have publicly and dramatically demonstrated the concept of printing to the thousands of people who have attended San Francisco Center for the Book’s annual Roadworks festival.
Rik Olson has been involved with the San Francisco Center for the Book even before Roadworks’ inception in 2004; inviting him to participate in the event came naturally. As the years progressed and the event evolved, Rik Olson is the only artist who has participated every single year. This exhibition is a celebration of that history and the story that has formed from the nine-year sequence of prints. Olson’s steamroller prints are a perfect tribute to his abilities as artistic craftsman and storyteller, as well as to the power of printmaking at this grand scale. We suggest that you follow the narrative through each piece; there is so much to see that you can truly get lost in such intricate detail.
Plan to visit the San Francisco Center for the Book and view the exhibition September 15 through October 20, 2012. Join us on September 15/ 7–9pm for the opening reception.

Exhibition runs June 1-August 31, 2012
Gallery Hours 10:00 am- 5:00 pm Monday-Friday, Saturday 12-4pm
Free and open to the public
SFCB is proud to announce its summer exhibition in the Austin/Burch Gallery, Exploding the Codex, a group show featuring the works of over 40 book artists from the collection of Mary Austin, curated by Daisy Carlson. The show explores the theater of the book and storytelling through structure. These books go beyond the traditional format to unveil new ways of presenting and telling stories. Often theatrical or stage-like in their presentation, they pull the viewer into their individual dramas and diverse varieties of form and presentation.
The exhibition explores the ways in which a book's size and dimensions determine our relationship to it and what it is trying to tell us. One can choose between the intimacy of a tiny journal, private and curious, easily hidden as if keeping a secret between reader and teller; or we may choose to be awed by a ceremoniously large book that engages us in alto, the spine boasting of a grand celebration. The size, structure, and shape are the book's octave.
Exploding the Codex explores information and presentation: in our lifetime, we have seen an incredible change in the way information is presented. As information becomes digitized, our relationship to information and access is evolving. The form of information is a large part of how we interpret the story. Despite the proliferation of digital information, there will always be room in our lives for theater, and for the privacy of the printed word and the luxury of paper between our fingertips. Books are monuments to consciousness and begin collective conversations that evolve our culture and our perception of ourselves in the world. As the Codex explodes so does our perception of our place in the world.


Left to Chance: In Search of the Accidental Book Art
Opening February 17, 2012
Curated by Hanna Regev


February 13 - May 12, 2012
Artists' reception Friday, February 17, 6-8 pm

How has chance affected the book arts today? What are the ways in which luck, chaos, randomness, or other manifestations of chance are employed in the creation of a book art?

2012 marks the 100th centenary of John Cage - inventor, composer, printmaker, and mycologist - who spent every January of his last decade in the Bay Area (his favorite time for both printmaking and mushroom hunting), so what better time than this winter to launch an exhibition that takes its inspiration from Cage's chance operations and his use of the I Ching in music composition and printmaking, along with his mentor Marcel Duchamp's use of chance in the seminal work Three Standard Stoppages?

This invitational exhibition showcases new and old work by book artists who use technology (e.g., laser cutting, digital printing, video works) as well as hybrids that combine old and new technologies in innovative and creative ways. This exhibition is preceded by Get Lucky: The Culture of Change,exhibition at SOMArts, which opens December 17, 2011 and runs through January 26, 2012. It is curated by Hanna Regev and Justin Hoover, and builds on Regev's recent exhibitions Seduction of Duchamp: Bay Area Artists’ Response and SFCB's Banned and Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship.



Artists participating:
Nick Agid, Aideen Barry, Philip Benn, Barbara Brandt, Macy Chadwick, Julie Chen, Antonio Cortez, Betsy Davids, John DeMerritt + Nora Pauwels, Ffortissimo, Jessica Flemming, Michael Gilbert, Marion Gray, Robin Hill + Ulla Warchol, Janet Jones, Theodora Jones, Kumi Korf, Jon Kuzmich, Carol Ladewig, Mary Laird, Tony May, Barbara Milman, Howard Munson, Penny Nii, Nance O'Banion, Sherry Parker, Melanie Piech, Nigel Poor, Robin Price, Felicia Rice, Tim Roseborough, Saul Rosenfield, Claire Satin, Tessie Scharaga, Yudith Segev, Judith Shintani, Patrick Surgalski, Sandra Taylor, Gail Wight, Kenneth Wilkes, and Michelle Wilson.


December 19, 2011 - January 27, 2011


Kota Ezawa, the 2012 SFCB Imprint artist-in-residence, is a Japanese- German artist currently based in San Francisco. Ezawa meticulously recreates, frame-by-frame, animated sequences from television, cinema, and art history using basic digital drawing and animation software. His aesthetic is a highly stylized mixture of Pop Art, Alex Katz, and paint-by-numbers pictures, to name but a few of his stylistic antecedents. This painstaking process creates an in intriguing facsimile of the source material, which include the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, the O.J. Simpson trial - works wherein the stylistic artificiality underscore the manufacturing of the historical spectacle and paradoxically preserve the power of the original events.

This exhibition features earlier work from Ezawa's career, as well as work from the making of his Imprint 2012 Artist in Residence edition, Paper Space.


September 15, 2011 - November 25, 2011


SFCB’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition: Celebrating 15 Years of Building Book Arts Community opened September 15, 2011, celebrating 15 years of supporting and creating the book arts community in the Bay Area.

The exhibition includes selected works from SFCB’s Imprint Publications Artist in Residence and Small Plates editions, large scale prints from eight years of Roadworks: A Steamroller Printing Festival, and juried pieces from SFCB’s celebrated instructors and students. The work included highlights some of the best work from our past 15 years of innovating and creating in the book arts.



May 6, 2011 - September 2, 2011


This exhibition profiles two nationally prominent and well-traveled book artists whose work is rarely seen on the West Coast. Over the past 30 years, both have worked apart from the prevailing trends in artists’ books: for both, the printing medium of choice has been offset lithography, not letterpress, and both have created work that is driven more by concerns of content than physical structure or craft for its own sake. They have in the past worked separately at some of the most progressive book production studios in the country—Nexus Press in Atlanta, SUNY Purchase, Pyramid Atlantic in Washington, D.C., and the Visual Studies Workshop Press in Rochester. Now Brad Freeman and Clifton Meador are working together at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, where Freeman runs the studio and edits the Journal of Artists’ Books and Meador directs the MFA program. 


January 21, 2011 - April 23, 2011


CUBAN ARTISTS BOOKS AND PRINTS 1985-2008 features the work of 13 Cuban artists and more than 50 books that expand definitions of the book to express Cuban identities, international trends and national sensibilities. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly catalog.

This exhibition builds on SFCB's 2005 exhibition entitled: Journey to the Source: Handmade Books from Cuba, which featured Cuban artists' Ediciones Vigía’s fascinating handmade books.

A frequent visitor to Cuba, curator Linda S. Howe developed this exhibition to view the period beginning in 1984, when Cuba hosted its own art biennial and artists became empowered by access to the Internet to find new outlets for their work. Prior to this, state controlled cultural institutions supplied everything to artists, including the distribution of their work.

While known to Cuban critics and curators since the early 1990’s, the work of many Cuban artists, including the feminist painter Rocio Garcia, were relatively unknown in the U.S. Censorship and retribution somewhat subsided in the early 1990’s while Cuba was hit by a crippled economy, which produced the influx of global interest in the work. As a result, the prices of the work of Cuban artists more than tripled. The government saw the possibility of offsetting economic losses in other sectors and joined forces with Cuban artists to disseminate Cuban Art internationally.


Amy Francheschini + Michael Swine: 2010 Imprint Artists in Residence


Oct 15, 2010 to Jan 16, 2011

This exhibition documents the making of the new edition in SFCB's 2010 IMPRINT Residency and provides an entry point and tools for the audience to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry – not only to imagine, but also to participate in and alter the devastating effects of waste on our ecology by using play to experiment with systemic change.


May 7 - Sept 19, 2010


Traditionally, Loteria is a game of chance played with 54 cards that represent significant Icons in Mexican culture. Aardvark Letterpress Co-owner Cary Ocon and designer/artist Rick von Dehl had been refining an idea for a letterpressed Los Angeles version of the game of Loteria for two years. For Aardvark, the idea was to ask artists to select and interpret some part of the Los Angeles experience in their own style within the design frame and layout von Dehl created for each card. Ocon talked some of the artists who came in for other printing purposes into creating cards but it was slow going, being that he was in the midst of running an already demanding printing business. In March 2008, Lisa Jane Persky began working with Ocon as co-curator. Within days they had gathered up Dan McCleary, Sammy Harkham, Andre Miripolsky, Ed Wexler, Greg Colson, artists with strong ties to Los Angeles, and the artists brought artists and the game was truly on. In this spirit of collaboration, Ocon and Persky refined and developed the full scope of Los Angeles Loteria, forming it around the Aardvark Letterpress business model: a crossroads of Los Angeles, a family place, a model of democracy, a melting pot. With that in mind Aardvark and artists began to create a gift for their city, a fine art edition like no other, and priced to be accessible to new collectors. Loteria Series I is a signed and numbered edition of 100 each of 18 19 ¾ x 13 inch works on Cranes Lettra 220 with the Aardvark Letterpress ‘chop’. Currently the prints are priced at 375. ea. and 6,250. for the suite of 18 (which includes a bonus 19th card). Available at . List of Artists (alphabetical): Greg Colson, Richard Duardo, Angel Gonzalez, Daniel Gonzalez, Sammy Harkham, Karen Kimmel, Claudia Laub, Dave Lefner, Mel Lim, Marc Lumer, Dan McCleary, Andre Miripolsky, Cristina Padron, Somsara Rielly, Casey Ryder, Rick von Dehl, Ed Wexler, Ernesto Yerena. Exhibition includes the First image of Aardvark's Loteria Series II, a powerful impression by scratchboard artist and former cinematographer, David Trulli.

Three images from Los Angeles Loteria: An Exploration of Identity. Credit: All photos courtesy Aardvark Press, Lisa Jane Persky and the Artist


January 15 2010 through Earth Day, April 22, 2010


This exhibition explores the making of Restless Dust, created by Gail Wight during her one-year Imprint residency at SFCB in 2009. The exhibition also features previous works by Wight. Gail Wight has spent more than twenty years infusing playful irreverence into scientific investigation. Working primarily with installation, computer, text, and performance, Wight investigates issues concerning biology, the history of science, and technology. Providing context for her current project displayed here, the recently released SFCB Imprint Publication Restless Dust, are two early works in the exhibition: In Meaning of Minuscule 2006, an interactive Plexiglas sculpture of an enormously enlarged microscope, viewers scroll through images magnified at different scales, displayed on the microscope's stage, that reconstruct the history of technologies of magnification; in Cabinet of Curiosities 2001, an interactive CD encased in a wooden cabinet that is based on 17th century precursors to natural history museums, each object in this cabinet of curiosities leads to a small time-based meditation on the nature of evolutionary science.

A former sculptor who incorporates her fabricating skills into her work, Wight holds an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute where she was a Javits Fellow, and a BFA from the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art. Wight has exhibited internationally, including venues such as the Natural History Museum of London and Cornerhouse, Manchester (England), Ars Electronica (Austria), Exit Art (New York), Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan, WI) and the Physics Room (New Zealand). She has worked for a research project on cognition at MIT, in the Exploratorium's Performance Program, and has held residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, at Capp Street Project, the Exploratorium, the Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center, and Headlands Center for the Arts. After earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, Wight taught at Mills College. Currently, as an Associate professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Art Practice at Stanford, she teaches classes in emerging media and experimental media art, which provides the opportunity to work with scientists. Her ongoing dialogue with scientists has allowed her to "theorize in a poetic way." In that spirit, Wight was invited to participate in SFCB's Imprint residency program, and has spent the past year creating a dialogue in three dimensional book form with Charles Darwin. Restless Dust is a limited edition of 50 signed and numbered artist books, each housed in a wooden box containing a multi-media installation. Wight's text invites Charles Darwin's ghost to sail to San Francisco and wander with her through the greater Bay Area terrain. The resulting sculptural book celebrates the unique species of the San Francisco Bay Area, presenting the nervous system of an animal chosen for the way its system reflects in a significant way, either through contrast or similarity, the world of human emotion. The book examines ways in which Darwin's legacy has impacted contemporary Bay Area culture and acknowledges the fragile and endangered state of many of our local flora and fauna caused by environmental degradation. The project's illuminated birds, hand-bound letterpress-printed artist's book, and screen-printed box lid make this among our most ambitious and unique residency publication to date. The body type is completely set by hand using metal type for letterpress printing. Images carved in linoleum are also printed on a letterpress.





Printing in the Street. Highlights from our Roadworks Steamroller Prints Street Fair.

Once Upon a Book Second in a series of children's book exhibitions, this show explores the creative process in the work of six critically acclaimed illustrators. You can see the exhibit online by clicking here

Wings for Words: New Bookworks from Korea and Japan Bookworks from fourteen professional artists working in South Korea and Japan today.

2008: Livros do Cordel: Books on a String Celebrating the famous livros do cordel, the printed folk literature of northeastern Brazil.

New West Coast Design: Books This exhibition presents some of the best book artists on the west coast, with a high level of craft being the common denominator. You can see the exhibit online by clicking here

2007: Mutanabbi Street: An Exhibition of Broadsides Broadsides protesting the March 5th, 2007 car bombing of Mutanabbi Street, an old and established street for bookselling in the heart of Baghdad's literary and intellectual community.

Black/White [and Read] Black/White [and Read] seeks to advance an artistic challenge - to deliver a powerful graphic statement, eschewing color, and utilizing solely black and white imagery.


Art of the Book 2007 Recent Student Works


Eileen Hogan's Poetry Box Investigating the relationship between words and images

Bartkowiak's Best Book Art from the Hamburg Archives.

2006: The Calendar PCBA Member Show 50 Books/50 Covers Winners from the AIGA's 73th annual competition in 2006. X Libris Our 10th year anniversary exhibition.

Found In Translation A touring exhibition of multi-lingual artists books, prints, and digital and video documentation.

Photo Books Now Photo artists imagine myriad new possibilities for the book You can see the exhibit online by clicking here

2005: The Calendar PCBA Member Show 50 Books/50 Covers Winners from the AIGA's 72th annual competition in 2005.

Multiplicity for Millions: the Art and History of Rubber Stamps Featuring dozens of rubber stamp sets, both vintage and contemporary, from the collections of L. Scott Helmes and Picasso Gaglione.

Swiss Impressions: Romano Hanni and the Art of Metal Type The stunning technique and design mastery of Basel designer/printer Romano Hanni.

Journey to the Source: Handmade Books from Cuba A look at Cuba's Ediciones Vigía fascinating handmade books.


The Calendar PCBA Member Show 2004: 50 Books/50 Covers Winners from the AIGA's 71th annual competition in 2004.


Show Me a Story: Children's Books & the Technology of Enchantment This show explores the intangible workings of children's books, with a focus on design and structure.

Reading the Future: Experimental Books from Yale Works from from the students in Yale University's MFA Graduate Design Program.

Fateful Attractions: Fine Printing and Bookmkaing in Santa Cruz Works from the vibrant community of Santa Cruz fine-press printers and bookmakers.

Convergences: Works by the Teaching Assistants from the Mills College Book Arts Program Exhibition of work done by TAs in the Mills College Book Arts Program.

2003: Paper, Ink, Fresh Perspectives: Letterpress at SFCB Exhibition of original work printed at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

50 Books/50 Covers Winners from the AIGA's 70th annual competition in 2003.

Massin in Continuo: A Dictionary A touring exhibition devoted to the French graphic design artist Robert Massin.

Site and Passage: Inside Artists' Books This exhibition marks the culmination of the Center's second yearlong course on the artist's book.

Inside Cover An exuberant and witty exhibition of international artist's books.


XOXOX: Heart Art, Valentines and Love-letters Celebrating the Art of Romance.


2002: Revealing the Mysteries: The Development of the Artist's Book in the Bay Area This exhibition pays homage to the development of book arts in the Bay Area over the past half century.

Zines! This exhibition showcases an international collection of eye-popping zines, ranging from black-and-white photocopied editions to elaborate letterpress productions.

The Relevant Structure An exhibition that showcases relevant structures, in which form genuinely supports the text (a portion of Through the Looking-Glass).

The Artist's Book:Unlimited Engagement This exhibit marks the culmination of a year-long class dedicated to sustained inquiry into the nature of the artist's book. You can see the exhibit online by clicking here

Celebrating Teachers as Artists An exhibit of works by our local instructors. You can see the exhibit online by clicking here XFR: eXperiments in the Future of the Book In the summer of 1999, the Research in Experimental Documents (RED) group at PARC asked San Francisco Center for the Book for help recruiting book artists to work in the parc Artist-in-Residence program.

2001: Jack Stauffacher, the Years Away: 1955-1963 The show encompassed the discoveries, friendships and projects of Jack Stauffacher when he left the San Francisco-based The Greenwood Press.

Reading the Cards Many book artists and printers have found inspiration from the symbols and structure of cards

Convergence: three fine bookbinders Historical, Traditional and Experimental Bindings of Michael Burke, Dominic Riley, and Joanne Sonnichsen

Books from S.F. Waldorf High School book arts 2001: a student odyssey Celebrating a spectrum of booksworks inspired by teachers + classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book. 


2000: Learning Curve/s 20 Years of Book Arts at Mills College


What Is Reading? A Pacific Center for the Book Arts exhibit

Back East Artist's Books from the North Eastern States

XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading Volumes (of vulnerability) An International Artist's Book Project

FLT 2000, RT: CHI - SFO Works by the members of Hand Bookbinders of Chicago come to San Francisco

Wolfgang Lederer Retrospective Bridging Many Worlds Of Book Design,

1999: So-Called Books Diversity in Artist's Books from Southern California.

Breaking Type: The Art of Karl Kasten Faux Post Artists' postage stamps from the collection of John Held, Jr.

Purgatory Pie Press Works on View RSVP: Invitations for All Reasons A lovely look at other people's favorite mail.

1998: Art Making Book Making Art Boundless: Liberating the Book Form West Coast Book Artists of the 1970s Hand Bookbinders of California presents: Greatest Hits Form / Spirit: Anna & Arne Wolf 1998 Distinguished Book Artists Makeready: Finding Art in the Unexpected 1997: CCAC: 25 Years of Book Arts Flashback: Graphic and Book Art of the Psychedelic Era You call THAT a Book? Artists Books from Local Collections Design Bindings: Hand Bookbinders of California Introductions: The Art of the Business Card Pages of Sin: Beat Era Book Arts 1996: A Girl, a Guy, a Landscape: a Novel on the Wall