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[BKARTS] Paradox Swamp at Jaffe Center for Book Arts, South Florida

Book Arts & Letterpress Folks:

Summertime is probably the season that most defines Florida. Even wintertime feels like summer here, to the casual visitor and to those who are not in tune with the subtlety of Florida's shifting seasons. It seems fitting, then, that for this year's summer exhibit at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University's Wimberly Library, we're exploring the core of Florida through the pages of one fascinating book: "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean.

"The Orchid Thief" is FAU's Freshman Reading Project for 2007. This 1998 national bestseller is set in South Florida and is steeped in its culture, its history, and its nature. It is a true story of beauty and obsession––obsession over a particular wild orchid that, in this country, grows in just one place: South Florida’s Fakahatchee Strand. The story dances around Palm Beach orchid collectors, the Everglades, illegal poaching, the Seminole Tribe, and all the quirky strangeness that permeates this green land we call home. The book was adapted ingeniously for film (not your typical “book-made-into-a- movie” movie) in the Spike Jonze film "Adaptation" starring Meryl Streep and Nicolas Cage.

* * * * * *

PARADOX SWAMP: Beauty, Obsession and a Strange Green Land

We've pulled the name of our exhibit from a passage in Orleans' book: "Sometimes I think I’ve figured out some order in the universe, but then I find myself in Florida, swamped by incongruity and paradox, and I have to start all over again.”

Our exploration of the book includes fine press books like "The Orchid Album," published in thirteen luxurious letterpress-printed, hand-colored volumes in London between 1881 and 1897; Florida maps from our Otto L. Bettmann Floridiana Collection; books on the Everglades from our Bessie Dubois Floridiana Collection; textiles and artifacts from the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes; and, of course, a number of artists' books from the Jaffe Collection that fit in to the theme--including a 1948 Plat Book of the City of Miami that's been sealed in tar (an altered book by Miami artists Joe Nicastri and Sherri Tan). Passages from "The Orchid Thief" create a thread that runs through the exhibit, as well, much as they do through the film adaptation.

The idea behind the Freshman Reading Project is that incoming freshmen from all over the world who come to FAU have a common experience to discuss when they first arrive. Here at the Jaffe Center, we figured, why not broaden that discussion? Read the book. View the film. Come see the exhibit. Get a new persepective on what makes our Florida such an odd and intriguing paradox.

PARADOX SWAMP runs through September 5, 2007, throughout FAU's Wimberly Library: the Main Lobby (first floor), the Administrative Offices (second floor west), and the Jaffe Center for Book Arts (third floor east). The link below will provide you with current hours:


The exhibit is available for viewing anytime during regular library hours, but the portion of the exhibit that is located inside the Jaffe Center is available for viewing Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. Additional hours by appointment only... contact me and we can arrange something for you. Contact me, as well, if you would like to see other books in the Jaffe Collection, for that, too, is by appointment only.


John Cutrone Programs Coordinator The Arthur & Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts Florida Atlantic University Wimberly Library 777 Glades Road Boca Raton, Florida 33431 tel 561 297 0455 http://www.jaffecollection.org

The Bonefolder, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2007
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