Friday, April 30, 2010

Mao's Little Red Variant

A beige and red paper cover for "Quotations from Chairman Mao."We recently acquired two copies of the first edition of the famous "Little Red Book," Quotations from Chairman Mao (Peking: Central Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, 1964). Why two copies? Because, while they were issued simultaneously, they have variant bindings for their intended audiences. The workers' copy, meant to be shared, was issued with a bright red vinyl cover that could stand the wear and tear of the factory floor or be carried into the field. The party leaders, on the other hand, received theirs in a paper cover.

The ironies abound; not the least of which is that our workers' copy is in much better shape and shows almost no wear at all. To examine both, come to Special Collections and ask to see Rare DS778.M3 A25 1964.

A red vinyl cover for "Quotations from Chairman Mao."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Uncommon Book

A book of cloth pages embroider to look like notebook paper. The Roman numeral IV and the words "Common Threads" are center in black and green thread.Described as a self-consciously hand-made object, "Common Threads" by Candace Hicks is a hand-embroidered canvas book that some have also described as a sculpture.

Because it is shaped like a book, (or our expectations of a book, anyway), and because it has words on a "page," I am still left wondering about its "bookness." The narrative, as such, captures daily events as they emerge and get "jotted" down, (well, sewn in, actually).An embroidered page of writing.

"Her choice of the book as a principle medium is due to the phenomenon of the book as authoritative. Books provide an arena in which fiction can be accepted as fact and observations can take on a mythic narrative quality." -- Booklyn Artists Alliance
A cover page embroidered to resemble a red composition notebook.
Oh, this is Common Threads IV. The artist is still considering how and to what extent a series will emerge.

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