Brad Freeman is the studio coordinator at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, and also editor of JAB, the Journal of Artists’ Books. This past October he was invited to Lisbon by the Gulbenkian Museum to give a lecture and to help launch JAB32: The Portugal JAB. The lecture was planned to coincide with an exhibition of artists’ books at the Gulbenkian Musuem entitled Infinite Tasks: When Art and Book Unbind.
The visit was a welcome opportunity for Freeman to reconnect with fellow book artists Catarina Figueiredo Cardoso and Isabel Baraona, who were the guest editors of JAB32. Both were instrumental in soliciting essays from Portugal’s top scholars, publishers, and artists. The fourteen essays in the latest issue reflect the wide range of media that converge on the artists’ book, including experimental poetry, comics, graphic novels, and photography, as well as topics such as visual and material expressiveness, and the apparent lack of art criticism that engages with these new and often radical art forms.
Additional JAB32 essays featured some of the leading Portuguese institutions that collect artists’ books and artists’ publications, including the Gulbenkian Museum and the Serralves Foundation.
Catarina Leitao in her studio.
Isabel Baraona designed the cover of JAB32, as well as an artist’s book made specifically for the issue. The artist’s book is housed in an envelope attached to the inside cover and is part of JAB’s tradition of incorporating a creative aspect to the documentary and theoretical writing of the journal.
More than 200 people attended Freeman’s lecture and the panel discussion afterward. The success of the event is reflected in the fact that the attendees purchased forty-five copies JAB32 during the event. The support of these new JAB buyers will help in paying for the production of upcoming JABs, ensuring the continuation of the Journal’s scholarly inquiry.
To read more articles in JAB, subscribe, or find links to JAB videos, click here.