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Students enrolled in Concepts in Sculpture, a course taught by Alastair Noble, assistant professor of art, constructed a large-scale, collaborative book sculpture in front of Skillman Library for display until the end of the semester.

The sculpture consists of a series of approximately 1,000 stacked books, donated by the Quadrant bookstore in downtown Easton, and is separated into three parts. The first piece on the left (facing the library) is shaped into a spiral standing waist high. The middle structure stands 8-10 feet in height and takes on the form of a tree trunk. A third composition appears to cascade down the stairs to the right.

Noble’s class is also exhibiting “altered books” on the staircase to the bottom level of the library as part of its exploration of the use of books as sculptural media, altering the shape and integrity of books to redefine their purpose. Altered books has become a genre in contemporary art in which the artist renders books illegible and can trace its origins back to Picasso and Kurt Schwitters, who frequently used newspaper clippings and found objects in their works.

“In these altered book sculptures, each student draws out a wide variety of characteristics associated with the book,” explains Noble. “Some projects address the literary content of the book; others reveal its physical, symbolic, and informative nature. In all cases the printed texts are no longer legible although they may be referred to in the form.”

The sculpture designers were Angela Boyd ’06 (York, Pa.), a biology major with a minor in art; Kathryn Donnelly ’06 (Princeton, N.J.), a double major in history and art; Ryan McCaughey ’06 (Medford, N.J.), a double major in economics & business and art; Christopher Merrick Engr ’06 (Fort Washington, Pa.), an A.B. degree engineering major; and Louis Wulwick ’08 (River Edge, N.J.), a double major in anthropology & sociology and art.

The project complements Lafayette’s Roethke Humanities Festival. This year’s theme, “The Book Re-Visioned: Crossroads of Traditions and Technologies,” celebrates books and their many interpretations and permutations through exhibitions, readings, workshops, lectures, performances, and special events.

Recently, Noble worked with Trustee Scholarand civil engineering major Jessica Haase ’07 (Glenn Rock, Pa.) through the EXCEL Scholars program to install another site-specific sculpture, Zang Tumb Tumb II, at University of Arizona.

He has displayed his sculptures and other works in solo exhibitions at Robert Pardo Gallery, N.Y., Center for Visual Arts Gallery at Brookdale College, N.J., View Gallery, N.J., New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Va., Nerlino Gallery, N.Y., Stux Gallery, N.Y., and Marian Goodman Gallery, N.Y., among other venues. His work has been featured in dozens of group exhibitions, including a show at Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy.

Noble has also written reviews over the past several years for Sculpture and has produced other published articles, including a piece in Journal of Architecture.

Categorized in: Academic News