Can't Not Look: Democracy in America. Beth Lee.

Can't Not Look: Democracy in America.

Bozeman, MT: 2019. Artist's book, unique, on ecru vintage John Green handmade paper, lettered in brown gouache and polychrome inks signed and dated at the penultimate page, "Beth Lee 2019." Page size: 7.5 x 4.75 inches; 52pp; 37 of which are lettered. Bound: by the artist, French link stitch codex with sewn-on covers, blue-grey cloth over boards with tan with blue-gray highlights cloth spine, hand-lettered label on ivory paper on inset on front panel, CAN'T NOT LOOK, marbled endpapers by Madeleine Durham in matching yellow-blue tones. . The author / calligrapher has selected texts from the writings of the presidents of the United States and organized them in three sections: Civility & Comity, Ethics & Equality, Dangers to Democracy and closes with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, "This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in." Each of the three sections contains two polychrome double-page fold-outs with the different lettering styles - not the elegant, restrained hands of the other selections. While no author is cited for these burlesques, it is Donald J. Trump, i.e. "Sorry Losers and haters but my I.Q. is one of the highest - and you all know it." There is no punctuation; rather the quotations are all run together in various colors, in various sized letters. The result is dizzying. Each of the previous presidents' words is in a different calligraphic size and style; yet the effect is calming and elegant, each page carrying same margins and name of author, number of his presidency and date of quotation running along bottom edge. The "punctuation" is the polychrome double-page fold outs - their chaos in sharp contrast to the restrained elegance of the other Presidents' quotations. The artist / calligrapher has offered no opinions, no commentary, but the reader / viewer is left in no doubt as to the current state of political discourse in this country. The title, CAN'T NOT LOOK, has two meanings: first that we have a duty to look to be informed citizens and second that we are unable to look away, mesmerized by the chaos. Item #11445

Price: $1,800.00

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