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Poets & Pictures: A Renaissance In The Art of Book

After previously making stops in New York and Houston, Kyle Schlesinger’s exhibit Poems & Pictures: A Renaissance In the Art of Book opens tonight at the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative (468 Washington Street at Mohawk).

The exhibit focuses on the relationship between visual and language arts. It features more than 60 books produced between 1946 and 1981, as well as several paintings, collages, periodicals, and ephemera.

Among the poets, artists, and collaborators who contributed to this event are Wallace Berman, Joe Brainard, Robert Creeley, Jime Dine, Johanna Drucker, and many others. The UB Poetry Collection donated the bulk of works presented in the exhibit.

Schlesinger, a UB graduate himself, has written several books of poetry, nonfiction, and art. He is the founder of Cuneiform Press, which specializes in artists’ books, as well as books written about other books. His purpose in creating the exhibit was to demonstrate the manner in which literature and art play into each other.

While the primary focus is on books, the exhibit will feature several books that contain art, as well as collaborations between poets and artists. This would include books in which the artist draws a picture, and the poet writes a poem inspired by it, and vice versa.

As the final leg of its three-city tour, the exhibit will be on display from February 25 to April 2. It has already received a fair amount of critical acclaim. When it ran in New York last summer, it was named as a Critic’s Pick by Time Out New York magazine. The opening reception for the exhibit is tonight (Friday, February 25), 6-9 pm.

john hugar