“With this show, we usher in a new era of a legendary book arts gallery,” says Jordan Eddy, Gallery Director and UNSEEN co-juror.
For this international exhibition of book arts, form & concept partners for the first time with 23 Sandy, an online book arts gallery run by owner/director Erin Mickelson. Eddy and Mickelson teamed up with two-time Fulbright recipient Barb Tetenbaum to select 76 works by 65 artists, ranging from traditional codexes and interactive and exquisite corpse-style works to reactive sound art books and sculptures.
23 Sandy has roots in Portland, Oregon, where founder Laura Russell maintained it as a brick-and-mortar space from 2007 to 2017. Russell subsequently shifted the business to an online model, and bequeathed it to former employee Mickelson in 2020. Mickelson recalls, “I said I should probably sleep on it, and then five minutes later, I was like, ‘Yes, of course! How could I say no?’” Now the business is making another transition, as Mickelson establishes a 23 Sandy headquarters and showroom in the Agua Fria neighborhood and launches UNSEEN at form & concept.
“This is a 23 Sandy takeover in every sense of the word!” says Eddy. Mickelson continues, “The conversation started at a studio visit, as we discussed the massive but at times unseen forces that can shape our lives and practices, from global warming to Covid-19 to systemic racism. We’ve seen these issues burst into broader view in the past few years.” The call for UNSEEN, which received 250 submissions from across the globe, asked artists to consider the invisible forces that can shape our lives and surface in unexpected ways—physically, psychologically and philosophically. “In many ways, a book itself is the perfect vehicle to explore the seen and unseen. There’s a discovery process of turning the pages. Books are multifaceted sculptures, and you can never see all of them at once,” says Eddy.