|Introduction and Acknowledgements|
The Bienes Center’s exhibition, Paper Engineering: The Pop-up Book Structures of Vojtěch Kubašta, Robert Sabuda and Andrew Binder, is the second to examine the complex and entertaining art of pop-ups.
The first exhibition, held in 2001, entitled Pop-up: Peek, Push, Pull… provided viewers with a general overview of mass-produced, popular twentieth-century pop-up and movable books from the collection of the Boca Raton, Florida, book collector and Bienes Center supporter, Geraldine Roberts Lebowitz. Of the 96 titles exhibited, only four were by Robert Sabuda and just two were by Vojtěch Kubašta yet they captivated the attention of the Bienes Center staff and the general public and the idea for the current exhibition was born. Adding a local component seemed necessary and appropriate and so a selection of pop-up artists’ books by Andrew Binder of Ft. Lauderdale was included.
The artists represented: Kubašta, Sabuda, and Binder all have distinct artistic styles yet their purposes in building pop-ups is the same: to bring to life, in an emphatic and dramatic manner, the ideas and images on the pages of their book creations.
In his works published in the 1960s, Kubašta created 3-dimensional stage-like presentations that have great depth and, almost always, charming movement. His designs for well-known and obscure fairy tales and other children’s stories are theatrical in a very dramatic sense. The pages are filled with images depicted in vibrant and unusual colored hues that evoke children’s fantasies and adult longings. They draw the reader into the stories and bring them alive through sometimes simple, but just as often, complex spatial depth and movement.
Robert Sabuda, the contemporary children’s book illustrator and author, pop-up artist, and paper engineering, has popularized and refined the art of pop-ups to such a degree that he has garnered celebrity status. He frequently appears in the national and international media as an articulate and compassioned advocate for pop-up and movable books and continues to bring joy and awe to children and adults with his innovative, complex, and startlingly intricate engineered pop-up designs.
The one-of-a-kind pop-up book structures of Andrew Binder, a Ft. Lauderdale artist who also makes artists’ books, are visual and intellectual mechanisms that illustrate in a very personal manner the inner workings of a very gifted and original artist. Through his books, he is especially articulate in transmitting to the reader/viewer the intense and personal processes he traverses in the struggle to bring his visual and textual ideas to fruition.
The Bienes Center for the Literary Arts, The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library would like to thank the following individuals for loaning their treasured pop-up books to the exhibition: Gerry Bohning of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, a retired Barry Univer¬sity professor of children’s literature and a Vojtěch Kubašta collector; Geraldine Roberts Lebowitz, a pop-up book collector who resides in Boca Raton, FL; Andrew Binder, a Ft. Lauderdale artist and winner of the 2001 Florida Artists’ Book Prize; and Ruth and Marvin Sackner of The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Miami Beach, FL. Without their generous participation the exhibition would not have been possible.
James A. Findlay