What if your Book Club was led by the very people who created the books you were reading? MASS MoCA has invited Johnny Carrera and Tom Phillips, exhibiting artists of “Life’s Work,” to lead discussion and join audiences for refreshments in our second adult-oriented Book Club educational program. At 6pm on Wednesday, April 3rd, you’ll have the opportunity to hear their thoughts on their own work, each other’s work, the books both projects are based on — and ask them those questions you’ve been wondering.
Phillips’ “A Humument” is a series of treated book pages on “A Human Document,” the Victorian novel by W.H. Mallock. For the last 40 years, Phillips has been continuously altering the individual pages of the book, each edition creating a new concrete text poem. The image above shows the transformation of one such page into a self-portrait of Phillips, accompanied by a few words thoughtfully selected out of the original text. Each page acts as its own individual artwork, yet the words also carry their own separate narrative throughout the volume, complete with recurring characters and story arc.
Maryland-based artist Johnny Carrera has taken on his own life’s work for over fifteen years. Carrera’s project, like Philips’, starts with an existing book: in this case, the original engravings of the 1859 American Dictionary of the English Language originally printed by the Webster’s company. Carrera’s Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary transforms his source to create a new lexicon of words, images and meaning. Together these projects not only offer insights into the working process of two artists but also allow viewers to rethink, books, images and the nature of time.
The event will take place in the “Life’s Work” exhibition, and is FREE to members and students, and $5 for all others. Coffee & cake, wine & cheese will be served.