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Re: Umbrella

Several days ago, Charles Alexander wrote:

>Has there been a list posted here, or could someone post one, of
>contemporary (meaning ongoing, still publishing) journals & newsletters
>having to do with book arts and artist's books? Does anyone on this list
>maintain such a resource?

I wouldn't want to slight *Bookways*, particularly since I was fortunate
enough to write for it on several occasions before its demise (many thanks
to Tom Taylor and Anita Prewett, not only for the commissions, but for
bringing in an eclectic like me). Nor would I want to slight other magazines
mentioned since this thread got started -- nor a couple that have been left
out, including stalwarts like *Hand Paper Making* or *Letter Arts Review.*
But my favorite book arts magazine remains *Umbrella*. Despite its
inexpensive offset production, in which the saddle stitches are plain
old staples, it covers the whole art -- and cognate arts as well. It has

>wise things to say about artistic
>electronic communication possibilities and also [pays] attention to
>and respect for the artist's book and its history (which goes back at least
>to Blake but later includes Futurists and Dadaists and Fluxus artists

as well as notices re fine press printing, past and present. Most of it is
written by Judith Hoffberg herself -- and the breadth of her literacy in
all forms of book art, as well as mail art and other related, and, just
as important, not so related, modes, makes me look forward to each issue.

It doesn't *systematically* list journals and newsletters, but there's
always plenty to follow up on. I'm not sure a comprehensive list could
be compiled given the scattered nature of individual publications, and
the lack of agreement as to what "book art" means.

As essential as highly focused magaizines may be to people in specific
areas, loss of a larger context and continuity between arts seems one of
the most serious dangers of specialization.

An interesting thing about *Umbrella*: Remembering past issues, I'm sure
there are at least some items that would probably be of interest to just
about everybody who's posted on this list since I've been on it. I'd like
to think that those items would be worth more than disagreements as to
what should or should not be included.

I've given friends subscriptions as Christmas or New Year presents. A
month or so ago, I talked to a friend to whom I'd given such a subscription
several years ago. Since she mentioned something she'd seen in *Umbrella*,
I assume she's continued her subscription. Since her orientation toward
book making is conservative, I also have to assume the mail art and other
unconventional material hasn't bothered her much.

If you're not familiar with *Umbrella*, it might be a good Christmas/New
Year present to give yourself. It's probably a better bet than cuff links
or cologne you'll wear only once or twice.

For information, write Judith Hoffberg at umbrella@ix.netcom.com


Karl Young

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