Earlier this week my colleagues and I met with Ed Marquand, creative director of Marquand Books, to brainstorm ideas for the catalog that will accompany our upcoming exhibition William H. Johnson: An American Modern, opening in 2011. As expected of someone with his experience in producing fine illustrated books for art museums, galleries, trade publishers, artists, collectors, and architects, Ed had a wealth of planning and conceptual advice that was very helpful as we begin work.
The catalog is projected to be the lead title in the Jacob Lawrence Series on American Artists at the University of Washington Press and will present essays by noted scholars David C. Driskell, Leslie King-Hammond, Richard J. Powell, Lowery Sims, and Aaron Bryant. In addition to the exhibition’s 20 paintings and works on paper from Morgan State University, it will feature additional works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (the largest repository of Johnson’s works) and photos from the Archives of American Art.
Ed’s take on the museum publishing market, gleaned from visits to some 60 museums over the past six months, was also valuable. He's gotten a sense, he says, of how some museums are taking advantage of the current financial situation to rethink how they organize exhibitions, present permanent collections, and connect with their public, patrons, and members. He says he’s been encouraging clients (and getting little resistance from them) to reconsider oversized, highly academic tomes in favor of smaller books that include an electronic component for the deep research that's of interest to a handful of specialists.
Watch for future posts from me as the catalog wends its way through the editorial, rights and permissions, design, printing, and distibution phrases. In the meantime, check out Marquand Books' blog, particularly the March 10 and 12 posts, respectively, on preparing digital images for book production and controlling publication budgets in tight economic times.
--Ann Carper, SITES editor
Developed by Morgan State University's James D. Lewis Museum of Art, organized for travel by SITES, and funded in part by the Henry Luce Foundation.