Music Bo(o)x exhibition in the Reading Room

Music and art. Music and books.

curated by Lynn Sures and John Risseeuw

Duke ellington fmt

above: Duke Ellington by James Todd


on display in Abecedarian Gallery’s Reading Room, Denver, CO  US through August 6


on online here:


Several years ago, Lynn Sures and John Risseeuw realized that they both had created artist’s books based on jazz artists and compositions. Lynn’s VARIATIONS on the Dialectic between Mingus and Pithecanthropus erectus responded to the seminal work by Charlie Mingus and John’s TM

was a tribute to Thelonious Monk and his song Thelonious. John’s Modal is a response to Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue album. John also had prints on Monk, Gillespie, and other jazz greats, so they mused on having an exhibition of artist’s books and prints solely based on jazz and blues.


In Spring of 2010, the 87 Florida Gallery in Washington, DC, agreed to host such an exhibit and soon like-minded artists were located, the gallery contracted a local jazz band for the opening, and the first Music Bo(o)x exhibition was held to great reviews and reception.


It was not possible to tour the exhibit immediately and the work was sent back to the artists at its conclusion. But now a new and enlarged show has been selected. This time, the work chosen has been expanded to include books and prints inspired by other musical forms in addition to jazz and blues. Six of the original 10 artists were able to show work again, along with 5 additional artists.


This is a most engaging exhibit, especially for the music lover. Visual art and book work, responding to music and making the aural visual. You’ll see woodcut portraits of jazz musicians, lost in improvisation, by James Todd. You’ll be All Shook Up with Elvis in Karen Hanmer’s book of the same name. Ed Colker and Dave Brubeck actually collaborated on Open the Gates in which Colker responded to Brubeck’s music The Gates of Justice. Lynn Sures made pulp-painted, watermarked and printed paper in response to her immersion in Mingus’ Pithecanthropus erectus to interweave with the text of Rick Potts. Robin Price’s beautiful tribute to the classical guitar of Pepé Romero is an award winner. John Risseeuw has combined his distinct handmade papers, intuitive placements of text and image, and lifelong passion for the music to bring fusion and astute observation to his books and prints. Intricately hand-cut, strongly-colored papers arrive at an exuberant tempo played out in cj grossman’s cascading accordion book Morning Jazz. Barb Tetenbaum used her characteristically innovative letterpress technique to illuminate the musical score for four voices in Gymnopaedia No. 4. Don Anderson, late UW-Madison professor, spent a sabbatical year listening to jazz and drawing portraits of the performers. Mary Hark’s beautiful boxed portfolio with books and CD honors the extraordinary work of Ghanian palm wine musician Koo Nimo. And Steve Prince’s vivid, alive drawing/relief style puts us in touch with issues as well as the music.


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