Eleanor Rubin: Blind: Seeking Refuge, 1937 (artists’ book acquired 2012 by Boston Athenaeum)
From: Eleanor Rubin: An Artist’s Impressions
August 02, 2012 at 07:36PM
BLIND: SEEKING REFUGE, 1937, Braille printing plate, immigration document, handmade paper (2002) Acquired by the Boston Athenaeum, July 20112 for its collection of artists’ books.
Artwork of mine that has a relationship to blindness was just acquired by the Boston Athenaeum. The particular artwork is a one-of-a-kind artists’ book about my uncle’s immigration to America in 1937. It was extremely unusual for a man who was blind to be admitted to the USA at that time. Joseph Levi (b. 1903) had an active life as a concertizing pianist in Mannheim Germany and, after immigration to the USA, his life as a pianist and composer continued in Los Angeles until his death in 1979. What might catch your attention particularly in the artwork above, (Blind: Seeking Refuge 1937) is that the structure of the book is made from a Braille printing plate. In this instance, what you see is a plate that was given to me on a visit to National Braille Press. These zinc plates would ordinarily have been recycled, (smoothed out and then embossed again with Braille and used again to print magazines). When I asked for and received a couple of these plates, I had no clear idea what I might do with them. They interested me as a printmaker. It was at a workshop c. 2002 about making paper and creating artists’ books that I made the “book” that you see above