Vincent FitzGerald, a Columbia alumnus, is the embodiment of that nexus of creativity. Now, thanks to the generosity of Sylvia and Joseph Radov, the Rare Books and Manuscript Library of Columbia University owns a nearly complete run of the publications of Vincent FitzGerald & Company.
The exhibition, entitled "Themes & Variations: The Publications of Vincent FitzGerald & Co." is also in honor of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of what has grown to be a very remarkable repertory company. As Village Voice theater critic, translator, and Columbia alumnus, Michael Feingold, a member of the company, has written: "In our degraded age of uncaring mass manufacture ... one artist was able to find so many kindred souls to share his love for works that are beautiful, meaningful, individual and scrupulously made."
FitzGerald has brought together the work of such authors as Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Edith Sitwell, Lee Breuer, and David Mamet, with artists such as Susan Weil, Judith Turner, Edward Koren, also a Columbia alumnus, Neil Welliver, Dorothea Rockburn, and James Nares. Texts have been newly translated by Zahra Partovi, yet another graduate of Columbia, and Michael Feingold. Other members of the company include artisans such as book designer and calligrapher Jerry Kelly, paper artist Paul Wong of Dieu Donné Papermill, and printer Daniel Keleher of Wild Carrot Press, in addition to Zahra Partovi, who is also a book binder.
The accompanying catalog, published by Columbia University and Vincent FitzGerald & Co., is divided into seven sections, with essays discussing various works of the Company. These are: "Theater, Music and Translation" by Michael Feingold; "A Poet's Voice" the work of Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, by Zahara Partovi; "Creating Connections" by Judith Turner; "Drawn to the Music of James Joyce" by Susan Weil; "Views of David" the work of David Rattray, by Eileen Myles; "Alternatives to the Traditional Illustrated Book" by Donna Stein; and a final section on the Company's most recent publication, a new edition of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons with etchings by Susan Weil.
The exhibition will also be divided into the same sections as the catalog. All thirty-six books that have been published to date by Vincent FitzGerald & Company will be on display. This will be the first comprehensive exhibition in any research library of the works of the Company. Separate copies of title pages, individual prints, and accompanying boxes will also be shown. The exhibit will also include a wide variety of complementary material such as correspondence, working drawings, and printing plates.
A series of events will be held at Columbia during the course of the exhibition. On April 12, 2000, the Library will sponsor an evening of the works of Rumi, given by translator Zahra Partovi, reading in Persian and in English, Mathew McClanahan, reading in English, and Homa Partovi, declaiming in Persian. Other events, to be arranged by Michael Feingold, include a staged reading by members of The Atlantic Theater Company of David Mamet's The Frog Prince and Harry Kondoleon's The Cote d'Azur Triangle; a performance of Robert Schumann's song cycle "A Woman's Love and Life" by Joan Morris and William Bolcom; and readings of the works of Gertrude Stein and James Joyce.
For further information, see our Web site: http://www.columbia.edu//cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/index.html
In addition to the selections on display in the Kempner Gallery exhibition, a full set of Judith Turner's portfolio The Parthenon Pediments, Selected Fragments will be on view at Columbia's Avery Hall, 100 Level, from March 27 - May 1, 2000.
This exhibition of the work of Vincent FitzGerald & Co. is also an opportunity to bring attention to the spectacular book arts collections held by Columbia's Rare Books and Manuscript Library. When the Rare Book Department was established in 1930, material that had been collected since the founding of the University finally had a place where it could be preserved and used. Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, the first Rare Books Curator, was appointed that same year and began the Library's Book Arts Collection. By 1941, this collection was greatly augmented by the purchase of the library of the American Type Founders Company, one of the greatest collections of its kind in the world. Added to through gift and purchase, the Collection is rich in the working tools of the graphic arts as well as the final products of commercial and fine press printers.
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