Creative Laboratory for the Book - Office of Organizational Leadership Skip to main content

Creative Laboratory for the Book

Amee J. Pollack, MFA
Undergraduate Program Advisor
Department of Art & Design, MGSA

Amee oversees the undergraduate program in the Department of Art & Design at Mason Gross School of the Arts (MGSA) where she is responsible for the academic and career planning of all majors. Additionally, she has been a maker of artists’ books and sculptural works for 30+ years and has taught within the genre of book art and print. Her books and constructions, under the banner “Spitz & Pollack”, are in the permanent collections of over 50 organizations such as the Cooper Hewitt-Smithsonian Design Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Getty Research Institute, and Yale University.

Project Sponsor
Raphael Ortiz
Distinguished Professor, Art & Design

A creative space for the exploration of the book art form aims to increase cross-discipline creative collaborations and social bonds within the undergraduate population at Rutgers. Over the course of two terms, Art & Design (A&D) majors and other majors paired together in the enterprise of making artists’ books would be guided through: (1) ideation; (2) aesthetic choices/intentions; (3) working with text and image in concert; (4) mock-up development and functionality; and (5) final professional execution of an artwork (small limited edition or on-demand printing or unique works). The book format lends itself nicely for collaboration because everyone currently has a sense of what constitutes a book or may constitute a book. Moreover, the art form, born from both literary and visual art influences, continues to be ripe for possibilities and interdisciplinarity. To help facilitate this journey, students would be introduced to the genre of book arts and its cultural value through a mini retreat as well as to other Rutgers art resources (the Art Library, Zimmerli Museum, and Alexander Library Special Collections). Given our virtual reality, the Lab can initially move forward with events over Zoom at different stages of the project(s). Ultimately, the hope is that there will be a physical presence with in-person interactions, perhaps at the Art Library with possible book and/or printing presses. Outcomes include: Non-art majors would develop useful visual thinking skills and literacy and would potentially delve into their major/discipline in a new dynamic way. A & D majors would share their knowledge and reach outside their circle to develop a wider social network and to be introduced to new perspectives or disciplines. Both could benefit from the presentation value of the book on interviews or in portfolios (for jobs or graduate school) and the development of strong interpersonal skills that comes from collaborations. The expectation is that there will be 10 discipline-diverse pairings yielding 7 finished artists’ books. The work will be celebrated at an exhibition in the Art Library and/or MGSA Galleries.