Remembering Barbara Metz (1930-2011)

Barbara Metz



Barbara Metz, an important force in Chicago book arts, and in the history of our organization, died December 5 in Minneapolis.

In 1983 she co-founded and later directed Artists Book Works on Irving Park, which later merged with Marilyn Sward’s Paper Press to become the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College. She chaired our exhibition committee and taught here and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Loyola University. She also taught workshops throughout the country. The Metz family is establishing a scholarship fund in her name here at the Center for Book and Paper Arts.

Barbara was not only one of the founders of the Center, but also played an important role in establishing the place of book arts in the curriculum of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department. Both through her classes and through her work as an exhibition curator for the Center, she helped establish an exploratory, experimental, and interdisciplinary approach to the nature of the book and its place in contemporary art practice. Her last curated show for the Center was “Betwixt & Between: The Dick Higgins Retrospective,” in 2000.

Barbara will always hold a place of honor here.

From the Book Arts listserv:

I had the pleasure of getting to know Barbara through Chicago Hand

Bookbinders back in 1988 and was grateful her invitation to teach my

first binding workshop (on historic endbands) at Artist’s Book Works

on Irving in Chicago.

Barbara also succeeded me as Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book

Workers finishing up Paper Bound’s run and then guiding her “Best of

the Best” across the US. Both exhibits can be viewed at:

She will be greatly missed.

Peter D. Verheyen

Bookbinder & Conservator

She will be missed. I first became interested in the book arts after taking a class at Artists Book Works. She opened up a new world for me and for this I’ll be ever grateful. I was there with another guy, he worked for AT&T and wanted something different in his life. His name was Amos Kennedy (wonder what happened to him?). Barbara was a great teacher, her memory will live for a long time.

Charles Kroon

Ginkgo Leaf Press