Open Book: Marjorie Welish

Oaths? Questions?

Marjorie Welish, James Siena

Granary Books, 2009. Item #GB_145

7 x 11 in., 32 pp., cloth over boards with Plexi slipcase.

Commissioned by Granary Books to create an innovative book-object, Marjorie Welish conceived it on a graphical / lexical nexus wherein the nature of seeing the page and reading the page continually challenge each other; and she invited artist James Siena to interpret this conception in his own way, both in visual and verbal terms. To the end, the most conspicuous feature is the very structure of the book: transparent pages interleave opaque pages, the very turning of these induces a dynamic and problematic set of choices to be engaged. 

Ruth Lingen printed the images on Somerset Book in Brooklyn; the typographic layout, by Marjorie Welish and James Siena, was printed letterpress by Art Larson at Horton Tank Graphics in Hadley, MA. The book was bound in printed cloth over boards, with a binding structure designed by Daniel E. Kelm and Kylin Lee at the Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton, MA and produced by Kylin Lee at the Blue Eyed Cicada Studio also in Easthampton. Steve Clay, Philip Gallo, and Judy Tobar provided additional assistance. This is from an edition of 50 copies, of which 36 are for sale. As new.


Exhibitions and presentations include 

Before, During and After: The story of a work,” solo exhibition at Denison Museum, Granville, Ohio, 2011.

Les Espaces du Livre / Spaces of the Book,” a conference on conception, production and distribution of innovative artists’ books, Trinity College, Cambridge University, 2013. Published subsequently. 



Athenaeum LaJolla,  Beinecke Library (Yale),  British Library,  Cambridge University Library,  Columbia University, Emory University,  Getty Library,  Harris Collection (Brown University),  Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Library of Congress,  Lafayette College,  Louisiana State University,  Metropolitan Museum of Art,  New York Public Library Spencer Collection,  Ohio State University,  Smith College,  Stanford University,  SUNY-Buffalo,  University of Alberta (Canada), University of California San Diego,  University of California (Santa Barbara),  University of Chicago,  University of Delaware, University of Minnesota,  University of Utah,  York University (Toronto)


Artist /critic Marjorie Welish received her first solo show thanks to Laurie Anderson, then curator of the Whitney Museum Art Resources Center. She has exhibited most recently in New York, Bonn, Paris, and Cambridge, England. Welish has received many grants and fellowships, including: Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, The Fifth Floor Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and Trust for Mutual Understanding (supporting an exchange between the International Studio Program, New York and the Artists’ Museum, Łódź, Poland). In 2006, she received a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellowship to teach at the University of Frankfurt, where she also worked on a limited-edition constructed art book, Oaths? Questions? in collaboration with James Siena, published by Granary Books in 2009 (and now in the collections of the Beinecke Library at Yale, Columbia University, the Getty Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art). In 2010 with a Fulbright, she was at Edinburgh College of Art. In 2015 she was nominated for the award Anonymous Was a Woman. Writing on her work may be found in Of the Diagram: The Work of Marjorie Welish (Slought Foundation), which assembles papers given at a conference on April 5, 2002, at the University of Pennsylvania. Welish’s collection of art criticism is Signifying Art: Essays on Art after 1960 (Cambridge University Press). More information on the artist may be found at  Marjorie Welish, a member of the board of the International Studio and Curatorial Program, writes art criticism for Art Monthly [U.K.]  Her art is represented by Emanuel von Baeyer (London).

Artist James Siena received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. For over two decades, the artist has taught at New York’s School of Visual Arts in the Masters of Fine Arts department. He is a board member of the Corporation of Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY; the National Academy of Design, New York, NY; and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. In 2021, Siena was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York, NY.

Siena’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Baronian Xippas, Brussels, Belgium; Dieu Donné, New York, NY; Galerie Xippas, Paris, France; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Pace Gallery, New York, NY; Pace Prints, New York, NY; Pierogi 2000, Brooklyn, NY; The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA; Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA; and the University Art Museum, University of Albany, New York, NY; among othrs. His work is in numerous institutional collections including the Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

No Comments

Post A Comment