Reading the Amichai poem, “The Jews” at the USHMM
It is hard to describe the feeling as I took the elevator upstairs.
On the eve of Israel Independence Day recently, I presented the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum library in Washington, D.C., with a copy of my work, The Amichai Windows.
I had used a number of photos from the museum’s photo collection. After I finished my artist book, I brought in a copy to show to Lenore Bell, the library director, and Judith Cohen, who was in charge of the photo archive. They fell in love with the work and said that they would try to find a donor.
In my 10 years of making the work, it’s not something I ever anticipated. A year later, though, they wrote to tell me that they had found a donor to underwrite the artist book’s acquisition. So, it was only fitting that I would deliver their copy of The Amichai Windows on the eve of Israel’s Independence Day.
My wife, Laura, and I gathered in a conference room in the library with a handful of librarians, museum employees and volunteers. And then a remarkable coincidence happened. One of the images that I had used in the spread for the poem, “Eternal Window,” contained a photo of a young girl who had survived and later volunteered at the museum. Continue reading
I am happy to report that a private collector in Australia has purchased a copy of The Amichai Windows for her collection. It was simply serendipitous that our paths crossed.
I had ventured up to New York City in early March to participate in two artist book fairs. This was an ambitious undertaking, to say the least, because they overlapped with each other. The Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair took place on Saturday and Sunday on the East side; and the Booklyn Artists’ Book Fair occurred on Sunday on the West side.
On Friday, I went from our hotel to one of the fairs, set up the booth; then, back to the hotel and to the other fair to set up. It was a little hair raising but that was really the hardest part; then, my wife and I split up staffing the two fairs.
By chance, the collector was visiting New York City and heard about the Manhattan Fine Press Fair. She came down the stairs to the basement of the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, looked around and ended up at my booth.
I shared with her the story of how and why I made the artist book, Amichai’s life and work, and of course some of the spreads. She was particularly taken with the beauty of the work as well as Amichai’s poems themselves.
We arranged for her to take a copy of The Amichai Windows back with her on the plane to Sydney. Eventually, she said, she would bequeath the work to a major institution in Sydney so that others can enjoy it, too.
Exhibitors and visitors to the Manhattan Fine Press fair.
About 40 people came out for a program about The Amichai Windows and ensuing reception at the Beineicke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University in New Haven, CT. The program about Yehuda Amichai’s poetry included Rick Black’s slide show and talk as well as a panel discussion with three Yale professors, Barbara Harshav, Shiri Goren and Katie Trumpener.
The Beinecke purchased the first of 18 copies of this limited edition artist book, which combines 18 Yehuda Amichai poems with multi-layered collages of images from archives around the world. The book is fittingly now housed with the Beinecke’s collection of Yehuda Amichai’s archive, which includes original poems, photos, essays and other memorabilia.
The book launch of The Amichai Windows at Tmol Shilshom cafe in Jerusalem attracted a standing room only crowd.
Most of the evening was in Hebrew but I gave a slide show in English. The program also featured Hebrew Literature Professor Ariel Hirschfeld of Hebrew University and Hana Amichai.
My thanks go out to so many people who made the evening possible including but not only Hana Amichai, David Ehrlich, Ariel Hirschfeld and Naama Shahar. And, of course, to Arieh Rudnick who took all of the photos and granted permission to share them.
Hope you’ll enjoy the photo show . . . !
Rick Black at the opening of his exhibition, “A Light By The Window”
The first review of The Amichai Windows, written by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, ran in the February/March newsletter of the American Jewish Libraries.
“Accompanied by an introduction by Robert Alter and an in-depth guide by Rick Black, The Amichai Windows is a towering achievement in American arts and letters. . . it is the culmination of a decade of reflection, research, translation, and artistic imagining and a breathtaking exploration of literary and visual poetics.”—from the AJL Newsletter
Taub, who first saw our artist book at the celebratory book launch at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD, was subsequently inspired to pen a review for the newsletter.
You can read the entire American Jewish Libraries review, which starts on page two, here.
Here are some photos from the exhibition “A Light By The Windows,” in which all 18 spreads of our artist book, The Amichai Windows, were on display at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD.
After Rick Black’s artist talk, we had a wonderful panel discussion with Helen Frederick and Judith K. Brodsky — and lots of questions from the audience. Continue reading
“A poem is like a lullaby that you sing in order to calm yourself.”
A Light By The Window, an exhibition and book launch of The Amichai Windows by artist Rick Black, will be held from 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18th, at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD.
A bilingual Hebrew/English artist book that was 10 years in the making, The Amichai Windows features 18 poems by renown Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. The exhibition will display letterpressed spreads and prints from the book, including multi-layered collages of more than 100 images from archives around the world, replicas of Amichai’s original poems and much more.
Helen Frederick and Judith K. Brodsky, each a leading artist, printmaker and arts advocate, will be on hand to discuss Black’s book, the connection between art and poetry, and the place of limited editions today.
The exhibition will be up from February 15th to February 21st. For more information, please see www.pyramidatlanticartcenter.org
Free admission with light refreshments.