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Press Release:

561-297-1164, or
Carol Lewis

‘RETRO TECH: Artists’ Books & Bindings by Karen Hanmer’ Showcases Best Work by Chicago Artist at FAU’s Wimberly Library

               BOCA RATON, FL (February 7, 2008) – The Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University Libraries is sponsoring an exhibition, “RETRO TECH: Artists’ Books & Bindings by Karen Hanmer,” from Tuesday, February 5, through Monday, April 28, at the S.E. Wimberly Library, 777 Glades Road, on the Boca Raton campus.

            Hanmer, a Chicago book and installation artist, showcases her best work in RETRO TECH. Her exhibition includes artists' books, design bindings and even an installation featuring over-sized computer punch cards.

              John Cutrone, programs coordinator for the Jaffe center and the exhibition’s curator, describes Hanmer as one of the up and coming “rock stars” in book arts. “Karen Hanmer is that rare artist who thoroughly understands the vast potential of the book as an art form. Her books consistently unify structure and content in a way that makes her work unforgettable. At the same time, you can tell that she's having a heck of a lot of fun, too,” said Cutrone.

            The Jaffe center, which established FAU as a major national contributor to book arts education when it opened in March 2007, houses more than 8,000 artists’ books. The collection, which includes some of Hanmer’s works, consists primarily of visual books created more for their artistic merit than for their informational content.

Hanmer’s books are intimate and playful. They fragment and layer text and image to mirror the experience of personal and cultural memory. Her themes intertwine memory, history, and the history of science with the archaic act of making a book and the non-archaic act of using the computer as a tool in the process.

            Hanmer’s books also are meant to be handled. The intimate scale and the gestures of exploration required to travel through each piece evoke the experience of looking through an album, a diary or the belongings of a loved one. Her books, however, often take the form of games or puzzles, and each book's structure almost always relates directly to its content. There is a great sense of humor at work here also.

            Hanmer exhibits widely and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to Yale University and Graceland. She has a degree in economics from Northwestern University and has studied at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts and with several notable bookbinders. Hanmer also serves on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, a peer-reviewed online book arts journal, and is exhibitions chair for the Guild of Book Workers.

During Hanmer’s visit to FAU, she will present a gallery talk on Friday, February 22, at 4 p.m. inside of the Jaffe center. The event is free and open to the public. The artist will also teach a two-day book arts workshop, “Flag Books: Interplay of Image and Text,” at the Jaffe center studios on Saturday and Sunday, February 23-24, for all levels. Enrollment is limited.

The cost of tuition and materials for the two-day workshop is $195 for the public and    $135 for FAU students. One work study scholarship covers tuition to an enrolled FAU student. The student would pay $35 for materials. Registration information and the scholarship application are posted at

RETRO-TECH can be viewed in the galleries of the Jaffe center, third floor east of the library. The portion of the exhibition in the lobby of the Jaffe center may be viewed during regular library hours, which may be found at or by calling 561-297-3770. The portion of the exhibition inside the Jaffe center may be viewed Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A catalog of her work is available at

For more information on the exhibition and its related events, contact John Cutrone, programs coordinator for the Jaffe center, at 561-297-0455 or


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