Published 04/27/2020

2019 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award Video Statement for Lenore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe


Greetings ARLIS colleagues and guests, I am Jon Evans, chair of this year’s George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award. I have had the privilege of serving on this committee alongside my colleagues from the ARLIS/NA Texas-Mexico chapter this past year. They include: Craig Bunch, Lauren Gottlieb-Miller, Joel Pelanne, Katie Pierce-Meyer, and Mark Pompelia. Established in 1980, the Wittenborn Award honors the memory of George Wittenborn, a premier New York art book dealer and publisher, who was a strong supporter of the Art Libraries Society of North America in its formative years. This prestigious award is presented annually, recognizing publications that demonstrate excellence in art publishing.

Wittenborn2019 LenoreTawneyWe are honored to announce that the 41st Annual George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award goes to Lenore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe published by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in association with the University of Chicago Press. This superb exhibition catalogue is the largest survey dedicated to Tawney, examining her life, work, and influence. It was the fruits of a distinguished group of contributors: Glenn Adamson, Kathleen Nugent Mangan, Karen Patterson, Mary Savig, Shannon R. Stratton, and Dr. Florica Zaharia. Adrian Lucia of Lucia|Marquand served as project manager, while Ryan Polich provided a sympathetic design. A more fulsome list of the individuals involved in the production can be found within the Wittenborn press release on the ARLIS/NA website. Widely recognized for her groundbreaking work in fiber as well as for her drawings, collages, and assemblages, Lenore Tawney charted a life that was marked by a constant exploration of the physical and the spiritual. She pursued innovative interpretations of traditional practices central to the shifting perception of weaving from a utilitarian craft to fiber art. This overdue reassessment examines her diverse artistic creations, while also mining her rich archival record and exposing her technical advances. Further, the publication is saturated with an array of lush photographs that illuminate the content within and highlight the tactile nature of her practice. This volume exemplifies the Wittenborn Award ethos through its emphasis on scholarly content paired with thoughtful design.

Wittenborn2019 BeyondLineWe would also like to acknowledge as an honorable mention another exceptional exhibition catalogue: Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing edited by Stephen Little and Virginia Moon; designed by Lorraine Wild and Xiaoqing Wang. This publication was produced by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in conjunction with DelMonico Books.

So, without further ado, please join me in welcoming Karen Patterson, curator at the Fabric Workshop and Museum and former senior curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, who will be accepting this year’s George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award for Lenore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe.

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