CBPA Curator of Exhibitions and Programs Interviewed by Monica Westin

Bad at Sports has just published a thoughtful email exchange between arts writer Monica Westin and CBPA’s Jessica Cochran. Westin has been impressed how the CBPA Curator of Exhibitions and Programs is tuned in to both theoretical questions and practical issues related to the evolution of the book. Jessica Cochran sets “a new standard for book centers, which aren’t always known for their gallery shows—and expanding my own understanding of the genre of artists’ books and works on paper,” says Westin in her thoughtfully illustrated article. Westin goes on to note that Cochran’s curation of the newest CBPA exhibition considers through various engagements with the book-object and emerging concepts of reading in new media contexts as sites for contemporary art practices.


As part of the preparation for the new show, Cochran led a graduate course with InterArts MFA students, who assisted in the research and installation of the exhibition. The show opened this past week, and includes work by Tony Cruz, Gareth Long, Judith Leemann, Matthew Girson and Moyra Davey. In her curatorial essay for the exhibition catalog, Cochran proposes that these artists perform a ‘remediation’ of sorts as they site the book object (whether codex or e-reader) within a broader visual project. She says “Through aesthetic assertions and discursive frameworks, artists address not only the book as cultural object, commodity, and transmitter of a specific set of ideas, but also the activity of reading itself.” She notes that “While not ‘pure,’ a mimetic activity takes place, and the book’s original text is rarely altogether lost.” In presenting this exhibition, Cochran aims to show that “the book object, when it is sited within a contemporary artwork such as a photograph, installation, or sculpture performs meaning in an incredible way.” The social dimension of reading in a physical sense, and corporal proximity to others, continues to inspire and intrigue Cochran’s curatorial work.

To read the complete interview, click here.