This travel journal, completed in the Alban Hills, south of Rome, uses costume plates and a fragile map from “Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War” published in 1888. The plates were collaged over mono prints which I textured to resemble the stones of Roman construction. The 22 pages, 7.75” x 5.75” x .75”, have a drum leaf binding with a replica Roman coin on the cover. The handwritten text, a quote from Shakespear’s play “Julius Caesar”, seemed appropriate since in many ways we now seem to be “afloat” — the title of the book. There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. William Shakespeare “Julius Caesar” Act IV, Scene III
A Concordat is an agreement or treaty, especially one between the Vatican and a secular government relating to matters of mutual interest. The Reichskonkordat was a controversial treaty negotiated between the Vatican and the newly formed Nazi government. It was signed on July 20, 1933 by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the Vatican Secretary of State, who later became Pope Pius XII. The Concordat effectively removed the German Catholic Church from any opposition to Hitler and gave moral legitimacy to the Nazi regime. By offering recognition from a foreign state it enabled Hitler to come to power. For the Church, it seemed to promise that it could carry out its spiritual mission, however violations of the treaty by the Nazi regime began almost immediately. Some have viewed the Concordat as a manifestation of the Pope’s preference for dictatorships over democracies and disregard for German Jews. The Vatican insisted, however, that they approved the agreement simply to protect the church. The concordat remains in effect to this day. ______________________________ Concordat, 5.5” x 3.75” x .75”, 26 painted, mono printed and collaged pages with mica overlays. Drum leaf binding with leather cover (cut from vintage jacket). Images of wood and stone by 16th century Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider are contrasted with photographs from the exhibition, “Fascination and Terror” at the Nuremberg Documentation Center. The title uses the Gothic font Maximilian Zierbuchstaben by Dieter Steffmann. For additional documentation gathered from the Vatican archives see: Cornwell, John. “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII”, Viking Press, NYC, 1999
Sisi: Empress of Austria
Sisi was born in Munich in 1837. At the age of 15 was married to her cousin the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Joseph. Although the Emperor was very much in love with Sisi, she was stifled by the protocol of the court and wrote in her diary, “I have awakened in a dungeon, with chains on my hands.” Later in life she added, “Marriage is an absurd arrangement. One is sold as a fifteen-year-old child and makes a vow one does not understand and then regrets for thirty years or more, and which one can never undo again.” Sisi was an especially beautiful woman, but had health issues that were attributed to tuberculosis but may have been caused by syphilis, presumably contracted from her husband. She was obsessed with her image and exercise routine. At 5’ 8”, she fasted to maintain her 110 lbs and 16” waist, had a gym installed in the palace and was extreme with her beauty products and routines. Her hair cascaded to the floor and required several hours a day to style. Sisi had four children, the first three raised by her dictatorial mother in law. The fourth, Marie Valerie, she retained in her control. She said, “My other children were taken away from me at once. I was permitted to see the children only when Archduchess Sophie gave permission. She was always present when I visited the children. Finally I gave up the struggle and went upstairs only rarely.” Fluent in Hungarian, Greek, English and French, Sisi was an unhappy woman and a restless, obsessive traveler, visiting Madeira, Morocco, Algeria, Malta, Egypt and Turkey and establishing homes in Corfu, Madeira and Venice. In a poem she wrote: “I wander lonely in this world, Delight and life long time averted, No confidant to share my inner self, A matching soul never revealed.” As she aged she said, “Ah, the horror of growing old, to feel the hand of Time laid upon one’s body, to watch the skin wrinkling, to awake and fear the morning light, and to know that one is no longer desirable! Life without beauty would be worthless to me.” She carried a hypodermic for cocaine in her travel medicine case. During one of Sisi’s illnesses, her daughter, Valerie said, “Much worse than the ailment is Mama’s indescribable despair and hopelessness. She says that it is a torment to be alive, and she indicates that she wants to kill herself.” In 1989, her son and heir to the throne, Rudolf shot his young mistress then several hours later put a bullet through his own brain at the family hunting lodge, Mayerling. After the suicide, Sisi only wore black and her spa-to-spa drifting intensified, as everyone around her fretted about her dark depressive spells. At age 61, on a street in Geneva, Sisi was stabbed by an anarchist. No one realized the extent of the injury and she subsequently died. Hearing the news of her death, her husband whispered, “No one knows how much we are loved” and adds, “Nothing will be spared me on this earth” Sisi, 7.25” x 5.25” x .25”, 10 pages, drum leaf binding with watered silk over board cover. Edition of 4
Begun on a trip to Arizona, this small book explores our appalling treatment of Native Americans. Vintage photos of Apache Indians are collaged onto small eco printed tags which are placed into a pocket accordion, designed to fit into a well-worn leather pouch. The colophon describes the subjugation of the Apache tribes as they fought to defend their homelands in the Southwest. Prospectors and settlers, supported by the might of the United States government have gained their land, natural resources and wealth while the Apaches have lost their lifestyle and their culture, religion and ceremonies have fallen into decline. 5.5″ x 3.75″ x 1.75″ closed and 5.5″ x 28″ open with 10 inserts printed back and front.
“Family Portraits”, made from the cover of a vintage leather bible, is designed to be viewed standing. It is 12.5″ x 9.5″ x 3.75″ with a spine the width of the metal closures. Since the pages were designed to hold “Family Portraits”, I chose engravings picturing women of the bible by Gustave Dore. The text accompanying the images reads: Eve and Adam “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.” Genesis 3:20 Delilah and Sampson “If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” Judges 16:17 Judith “This is the head of Holofernes … The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman!” Judith 13:15 Mary Magdalene “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much.” Luke 7:47 The Virgins of Jabesh-Gilead The Benjamites found “four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them.” Judges 21:12 A vintage wood and metal box holds the book in a velvet cradle.
Casuarina, also known as Australian pine, is an invasive species in South Florida and the Everglades. Both the leather cover and the pages of this book are eco-printed with casuarina and other botanicals. “Casuarina” is 7.75″ x 6″, a double accordion with 14 eco printed pages. The text reads: Native to Australia, Southeast Asia and the south Pacific islands, Casuarina is an evergreen tree with long, grayish-green branchlets resembling pine needles. Originally planted in Florida in the late 1800’s as a windbreak and for shade, its seeds are widely spread by birds. Casuarina is an extremely aggressive and densely rooted species that smothers its struggling competitors under a heavy blanket of needle-like litter. It displaces sand-binding native dune and beach vegetation, encouraging coastal erosion, changing soil chemistry, degrading wildlife habitat and making nesting difficult for sea turtles and other reptiles that dig cavities in which to lay their eggs. The Plant Conservation Alliance names this species as an Alien Invader. It is listed as a Category I invasive exotic species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, “invading and disrupting native plant communities in Florida”. Possession, collection, transportation, cultivation and importation of Australian pine are prohibited by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Ten related concertina books, each unique, which reference the concept of DNA and our ancestry are now in the collection of the Beinecke Library at Yale University. The paper is Arches cover black with a horizontal pocket containing vintage photographs, documents and ephemera. Fragments of text from the colophon are written throughout the pages in graphite. The covers are red and white quilt squares over book board. Each book is 6” x 22.5” folded to 6” x 4”, with 8 pages, housed in a black archival box 6.75” x 4.5” with a tintype on the cover. Information from the colophon reads: DNA Your body contains 50 trillion tiny cells, almost every one of them containing the complete set of instructions for making you. These instructions are encoded in your DNA, (deoxyribonucleic acid), a molecule composed of two chains which coil around each other to form a double helix. In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. There are 23 pairs of chromosomes, one set inherited from the mother and one set from the father, Twenty-two of these pairs look the same in both males and females. The 23rd pair, the sex chromosomes, differ between males and females. Females have two copies of the X chromosome, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. Chromosomes are further organized into short segments of DNA called genes. Each person has the same set of about 20,000 important genes. The genetic information contained in the DNA is called the genetic code. The DNA molecule carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of humans and all known living organisms. Over time DNA collects mutations, which are then inherited. By comparing this inherited information, geneticists can infer our evolutionary history and provide clues to a person’s ancestry. This series of books uses vintage materials to evoke the memory of past generations. As unique as we each are, our ancestry has much in common.