Collage, Hand-painting, Ink, Monoprint, Rubbing
18.5 × 22 in
Library of Congress (LoC)
Mono-prints, rubbings, paintings, and drawings of African slave ships and the Statue of Liberty (rubbed primarily from the Union Square, NYC historical plaque portrait of the statue) and rubbings of texts from the Fulton Ferry Park, Walt Whitman memorial in NYC were ripped apart and collaged to provide a poetic and visual concrete palimpsest upon which verses of Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” are written in ink with glass pens.
The result is a magnification and substantiation of the truth of Whitman’s prophesizing about the future of Brooklyn and New York City.
A true homage to the poet, to Brooklyn, and to New York City as a whole.
“Today in Rare Books. Looking at Marshall Weber’s artists’ book of Walt Whitman’s poem, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry (2015) – an exceptionally evocative rendering of this important work by Whitman. The poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” was included in Whitman’s collection Leaves of Grass. It describes the ferry trip across the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn at the exact location that would later become the Brooklyn Bridge. The poem begins before sunset, and continues into the evening with a description comparing the tides to the attraction of New York City. The ferry is the central symbol of the poem. It is associated with the groups of men and women who ride it, who have ridden it, and who will ride it. The coming together of these men and women symbolizes the spiritual unity of people in this world.” – Mark Dimunation, Chief, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, August 19, 2022, Instagram Post
“I had been reading Whitman’s poem and then riding my bike to the pier near the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn bridge, and then riding my bike over the bridge to the Manhattan side, thus putting myself in the exact situation Whitman described in the poem. I was one of the people from the future he imagined. The book’s fragmented collage structure reflects the multiple windows of chronological simultaneity described by the book. The handwritten (and rubbed/frottaged) book has always been one of my favorites. (The back story of the ripped-up prints exponentially adds to the book’s incandescent aura – but it’s still too volatile to be recounted at this time.)”, Marshall Weber