Tia Blassingame

Past Present: DC Unbound

Tia Blassingame

Past Present: DC Unbound

Edition Size



Etching, Handmade paper, Leather, Letterpress, Lithograph


Loose pages, Paper case


Artist Book


16.5 × 8.25 × 0.4 in


$ 3,200.00


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Yale University, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library

Tia Blassingame’s Past Present: DC Unbound is a set of two loose-leafed books which juxtapose racial relations in Washington D.C.’s Jim Crow era to those of present day. Within both books, Blassingame relies on the lyrics of popular American songs, including negro spirituals, as well as text from bumper stickers, news articles, and travel books that distinguish white-only versus African American accepting establishments. Blassingame proposes that segregation has not lessened over time although its modes might have changed.

Past Present: DC Unbound is printed on handmade paper made from the artist’s own clothing and Rives paper. Photolithography, handset letterpress, polymer letterpress, and etching were used. Both books are loose sheets seperated by individual belly bands and are housed in a Cave Paper wrapper.