The Rosenbach Announces a New Exhibition — Medium & Message: The Book Art of Colette Fu and Lothar Meggendorfer [press release]

A piece by Lothar Meggendorfer titled Im Stadtpark: ein Bilderbuch zum aufstellen mit ausgeschnittenen Figuren currently on display in The Rosenbach’s new exhibition. Credit: Courtesy of The Rosenbach.
A visitor viewing a piece by Colette Fu titled A day in the rice terraced fields currently on display in The Rosenbach’s new exhibition. Credit: courtesy of The Rosenbach.

For immediate release 

December 8, 2021—The Rosenbach is proud to announce a new exhibition now open to the public, Medium & Message: The Book Art of Colette Fu and Lothar Meggendorfer.

Lothar Meggendorfer (German, 1847-1925) is known as the originator of the modern movable book; Colette Fu (American, b. 1969) is one of its most distinguished present-day practitioners. For all their differences of time period, gender, ethnicity, and world view, Meggendorfer and Fu share a gift: the ability to record moments in history that resonate for people of their time.  Their book forms are similarly created with materials and simple mechanics that appear complex, but the style and the final artwork differ dramatically.  Fu’s and Meggendorfer’s works document–whether explicitly or implicitly–the colonialist impulses layered within the cultures they observe, and which have engendered a lasting and corrosive cultural legacy.

“In this exhibition, The Rosenbach’s interpretive team presents the work of two extraordinary book artists, one who worked in the 19th century and one who works today.” says Judy Guston, Curator and Director of Collections. “We ask the viewer to consider how Meggendorfer’s and Fu’s technical skills and artistic choices affect their perceptions, and how we can better understand the cultural and social contexts in which each created the works on display. The exhibition’s interactive component engages visitors by showing the moveable books in action and shares artist Colette Fu’s visual and musical influences, as well as her statement on her work.”

Visitors to the exhibition will be asked to explore the designs and forms that define each artist’s career, consider the messages found within their work and the role of art in social commentary, and discover the meanings central to both artists’ creations, delving into the inspirations, themes, and messages that span both oeuvres.

“Constructing pop-ups allows me to combine intuitive design and technical acuity with my love of traveling as I try to understand the world around me.” Says the artist, Colette Fu. “With pop-up books, I want to eliminate the boundaries between people, the book, installation, photography, sculpture, fine art, and craft.”

On display will be original book art by both artists, along with interpretive texts. An interactive component in the gallery shows both artists’ books in motion, and shares the inspirations for Colette Fu’s contemporary masterpieces.

Medium & Message: The Book Art of Colette Fu and Lothar Meggendorfer will be on view through March 27, 2022. Support for the exhibition comes from Derick Dreher and Gudrun Dauner, in memory of Frederick W. Dreher III. Full details can be found at

Alongside the exhibition, The Rosenbach will present a series of in-person programs related to Medium & Message: In Conversation with Colette Fu on December 16, a three-part Movable Books & Mechanical Art workshop led by artist Rosae Reeder beginning on January 22, and The Uyghur Dinner Table with Chef Ahmet Mamud on February 1. More information and tickets are available on our website:


The Rosenbach creates unique experiences for broad audiences through programs inspired by its world-class holdings of literature and history. The Rosenbach is located in Center City Philadelphia and is open to the public with growing content available at all times on The Rosenbach is affiliated with the Free Library of Philadelphia.