Date

2016

Edition Size

10

Media

Aquatint, Collage, Etching, Hand-painting, Handmade paper, Letterpress, Offset print, Photo, Risograph, Rubbing, Silkscreen, Wood block

Binding

Hand-sewn

Dimensions

20.5 × 14 in

Location

Brooklyn, NY

$ 6,000.00

Out of Print


View Collectors

Boston Athenaeum

Chapman University

Colorado College

Library of Congress (LoC)

Smith College Museum of Art

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Delaware Library

Washington University in St. Louis

Booklyn, Inc. presents “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted” in an edition of ten books featuring prints, drawings, and photographs donated by Booklyn artists. The concept, page, and book design were created by Booklyn’s directing curator, Marshall Weber. 

In the spirit of Dada, Fluxus, and Situationist assembling projects, this publication follows the protocols of Booklyn’s 2013 “Streetopia” limited edition assembling book. (This is not to be confused with the 2015 Booklyn “Streetopia” trade book). Artists were asked to consider the title of the book and send ten pieces of artwork; a great creative blizzard of diverse approaches and media then descended upon Booklyn. We humbly thank all the incredibly generous artists and binders who made this project possible!

William S. Burroughs liked to paraphrase the Persian Isma’ili scholar and leader Hassan-i Sabbah who was said to have said “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.” While it is doubtful that the deeply religious missionary said exactly that, there are a range of secular and theological meanings one can apply to the self-evident statement. Thus the perfect title for an assembling book based on the practices of concrete poetry and collage.

The donated artwork has been collaged, rubbed upon, painted, and integrated into a dynamic codex form by Weber. The rubbings are from bronze plaques on the New York Public Library’s “Library Walk,” on 41st Street. Excerpts of texts from the plaques are used to form a cohesive poetic narrative that floats through the book. 

Rare books curator (and Booklyn board member) Abby Schoolman has organized ten fine art binders to create innovative bindings that reflect the books’ lush interiors, including: Biruta Auna, NYC; Uriel Cidor, NYC (5/10); Mark Cockram, London (1/10); Coleen Curry, Muir Beach; (8/10) Gabrielle Fox, Cincinnati (2/10); Celine Lombardi, NYC (3/10); Christine Giard, NYC (4/10); Ursula Mitra, NYC; and Sonya Sheats, Cambridge (MA).

The book is a fundraiser for Booklyn’s Artist Archive program, which helps late-career artists who have worked outside of the conventional art world with the distribution and preservation of their archives for public access.

Writers excerpted in the book include: Julia Alvarez, W.H. Auden, Jorge Luis Borges, Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Gu Cheng, Lucille Clifton, Albert Camus, Langston Hughes, H. P. Lovecraft, Jose Marti, Herman Melville, Joe Napora, Gertrude Stein, Dylan Thomas, and Virginia Woolf.