What We See When We Read with Francoise Mouly
Tuesday November 11, 2014
New Yorker art director Francoise Mouly moderated a panel on the art and craft of bookmaking with Andrew Hoyem, co-founder of Arion Press; Peter Mendelsund, Knopf’s leading book-jacket designer and author of What We See When We Read; and Julie Mehretu, the widely-exhibited visual artist. Led by Ms. Mouly, who co-founded the groundbreaking comics anthology Raw with Art Spiegelman, panelists explored how illustration, typography and design turn the book into an object of art, memory and desire. As book lovers and book creators, each of the panelists offered personal insights into the role of seeing in reading. The evening was a celebration of the 40th anniversary of San Francisco’s Arion Press, the last surviving bookmaker of its kind, founded by master printer Andrew Hoyem in 1974. A selection of Arion's magnificent artisanal volumes, handcrafted on 19th century letterpress and illustrated by leading contemporary artists, were on display.
The creative spirit of Arion Press is Andrew Hoyem, who founded the press in 1974. Considered one of the most accomplished printers of today, Hoyem is also a published poet and exhibited artist who occasionally includes his own writings and drawings in Arion books. The concepts for all Arion publications originate with Hoyem, who chooses literary texts, commissions new work from writers and artists he admires, and designs the books, including their bindings and typography. In the Press's livre d'artiste series, he has worked closely with distinguished artists, many of whom come to the Press in San Francisco to work with him on projects. In 1989, Hoyem purchased Mackenzie & Harris, the oldest and largest surviving typefoundry in America, employing its trained typesetters as part of his staff of ten. Hoyem runs Arion Press and M & H Type as a self-sustaining business that includes publishing, typography, printing, and custom design services. He has published five books of poetry, including Picture Poems and What If, published by Arion Press. For Arion he has provided illustrations for Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov, How I came to be governor of the island of Cacona by Francis Thistleton, Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott, and Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare.
Peter Mendelsund is the associate art director of Alfred A. Knopf and a recovering classical pianist. His designs have been described by The Wall Street Journal as being “the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction.” He lives in New York.
Francoise Mouly has been art editor of The New Yorker since 1993 and is the publisher and editorial director of TOON Books. Since 1980 she has founded and coedited (with collaborator and husband Art Siegelman) the groundbreaking comics anthology RAW; the New York Times-bestselling Little Lit series; and the TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics. TOON Books, which she launched in 2008, is an imprint of comics for early readers and has garnered numerous awards including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award given to "the most distinguished" book for beginning readers. In the Fall of 2014, TOON Books will launch TOON Graphics, a new line of comics and visual narratives including Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti.
Julie Mehretu studied at Kalamazoo College in Michigan (BA, 1992) and at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal (1990–91). She received an MFA in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. She has received numerous awards including the The MacArthur Award (2005), The American Art Award granted by The Whitney Museum of American Art (2005), the 2002 Penny McCall Award, The Rhode Island School of Design Alumni Council Artistic Achievement Award, RI (2006), and the Berlin Prize: Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at The American Academy in Berlin, Germany (2007). She has participated in numerous international exhibitions and biennials including Documenta 13 (2012), the New Orleans Biennale (2008), the 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006) and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art (2004). She has had solo exhibitions at such institutions as the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2006), and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2003).