Finalists for International Artist’s Book Award announced

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A Guide to Higher Learning, Julie Chen

© Julie Chen; photo courtesy Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Today the Minnesota Center for Book Arts announced the five finalists for the 2011 MCBA Prize. The prize recognizes exceptional work by book artists from all over the globe. The five finalists were selected from a pool 147 submissions from 22 different countries.

Now, I’m no judge of book arts, but finalist Julie Chen’s work really struck me. It’s titled “A Guide to Higher Learning” and is reminiscent of both a book and a board game. According to a description from the MCBA, “as the text is read, panels are rolled over revealing increasingly complex layers of visual information such as communication models, mathematical equations, diagrams and matrices.”

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A Guide to Higher Learning, Julie Chen

© Julie Chen; photo courtesy Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Chen, a resident of Berkeley, California, was a finalist for the MCBA Prize in 2009 (it’s offered every other year, to coincide with the MCBA’s Book Arts Biennial, a two-day academic symposium on contemporary practice in the book arts).

“My approach to the artist’s book involves intensive explorations of both form and content, says Chen. “I strive to present the reader/viewer with an object that challenges preconceived ideas of what a book is, while at the same time providing a deeply engaging and meaningful experience. Often the reader must engage in unexpected physical actions in order to fully read/view a piece.”

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A Guide to Higher Learning, Julie Chen

© Julie Chen; photo courtesy Minnesota Center for Book Arts

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts will display Chen’s work along with those of the other four finalists during Book Art Biennial 2011, a two-day event at the end of July. The winner will be announced at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, July 30.

You can see the work of the other finalists here. However if you visit the MCBA’s website you may experience technical problems; evidently the announcement of the finalists inspired such a flurry of traffic that it crashed the site.

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A Guide to Higher Learning, Julie Chen

© Julie Chen; photo courtesy Minnesota Center for Book Arts

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