The Alison Knowles retrospective at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) looks at the fifty-year-long practice of the artist, a core member of Fluxus, the avant-garde art collective founded in 1962. This is her first comprehensive exhibition, spanning the entire breadth of her still-active career, from her 1960s intermedia works to her 2000s participatory and relational art.
The approach for the book was to dissect and mimic Knowles’ methods of production and the role bookmaking plays in her practice. Each unique cover is created from makeready press sheets produced during the printing of the interior pages, taking inspiration from the ready-made vernacular of Knowles’ work. The cover of her publication with Something Else Press, the inspiration for the title of the retrospective, is what you’re greeted with when you open the book; the colophon of Loose Pages, a collaboration with Coco Gordon, sits directly next to the books’ colophon.
The plates and the chronology are interwoven, providing points of reference to the larger context of Knowles’ practice and her role as an educator and founding Fluxus member. The die-cut section dividers are a reenactment of The Big Book, an interactive, life-size book that could be stepped or crawled through. These dividers are described by Megan N. Liberty of the Brooklyn Rail as an “echo [of] the multidimensional forms of Knowles’s own work, not as a gimmick, but as a consistent reminder that we are also holding a work of book art in our hands.”
Trim Size: 8.75 x 12 in.
Number of Pages: 272
Binding Method: Oto-bound softcover with full flaps and makeready cover
Paper: Lessebo Design and GardaPat Bianka
Typefaces: Dico Mono Slab (Pieter van Rosmalen), Editorial New (Mathieu Desjardins and Francesca Bolognini), GT America (Grilli Type), and Plantin (Monotype)
Creative Director: Kimberly Varella
Art Director: Kimberly Varella
Book Designer: Kimberly Varella
Jacket/Cover Designer: Kimberly Varella
Production Artist: Sam Wagner (Content Object)
Other Credits: Contributions by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Lucia Fabio, Lauren Fulton, Hannah B Higgins, Maud Jacquin and Sébastien Pluot, Alison Knowles and George Quasha, Karen Moss, Julie Robinson, Kristine Stiles, and Nicole L. Woods; Manuscript Editor: Deirdre O'Dwyer; Color Separations: Echelon Color; Book documentation by Ian Byers-Gamber
by Alison Knowles: A Retrospective (1960–2022)
Book and Cover
Winner - AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2022
Book Title: by Alison Knowles: A Retrospective (1960–2022)
Design Firm/Agency: Content Object
Publisher: The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers Inc.
Author/Editor: Edited by Karen Moss with Lucia Fabio
“An artful orchestration of paper shifts, die cuts, and other references to printing, including the make-ready cover seems wholly appropriate to the spirit of Fluxus.”
“Really thoughtful approach that brought the sense of play and certain knowing cues from Knowles’s work to the design, but also created enough distance for the work to be viewed in and of itself. Elegant design.”
- 50 Books Winner