Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

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In 2014 the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will host an international book exhibit, “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.”, a project to memorialize much of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad on 5th March 2007.

The coalition handling the project, asked each Book Artist who joined the project to complete three books (or other paper material) over the course of a year, books that reflected both the strength and fragility of books, but also showed the endurance of the ideas within them. We asked for work that reflected both the targeted attack on this “street of the booksellers” as well as the ultimate futility of those who try to erase thought.

You can see some of the booksellers via the al-Mutanabbi Street Project in photos by Iraqi photographer Ghassan A. Malik.

Below you can see some images artist Scott McCarney did for the exhibit. When the exhibit arrives next year you will be able to see the book in real time.

Scott McCarney is an artist, designer, and educator based in Rochester, New York. He received formal design training at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond VA) in the 1970s, and earned an advanced degree in photography from the University at Buffalo/Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester NY) in the 1980s. His primary art practice has been in book form since 1980 and spans many media, from offset and digital editions to sculpture and site-specific installation. His books combine his academic background in photography and design with a love for the corporeality of craft and philosophic possibilities of sculpture. His works are widely distributed and can be found in the library collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Yale University Arts of the Book collection, among others. His work is shown internationally (Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melbourne, Australia; Budapest, Hungary) as well as close to home (Hallwalls, Buffalo NY; Everson Museum, Syracuse NY; Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester NY). His teaching and lecturing itinerary is varied and eclectic, carrying the banner of artists books to Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Mexico, and South America. He currently teaches in the College of Imaging Arts and Science at Rochester Institute of Technology.

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