Medium & Message: The Book Art of Colette Fu and Lothar Meggendorfer

From 11/21/2021 to 03/27/2022

On view with museum admission. Get tickets here.

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.

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.

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

Colette Fu (b. 1969), Uyghur music. Philadelphia: Colette Fu, 2020. On loan from the Artist


Lothar Meggendorfer (1847–1925), Always jolly!: a movable toybook. London: H. Grevel & Co., [ca. 1891]. Bequest of Maurice Sendak. S 2570
Don’t miss: In Conversation with Colette Fu on December 16. The Rosenbach invites you to a conversation with photographer, book artist, and paper engineer based in Philadelphia, Colette Fu, who makes pop-up books from her photographs. Turn the pages of Fu’s methods and inspiration through a dialog with this unique paper artist. Before the conversation, visitors are invited to visit a Colette Fu installation at The Rosenbach. Colette Fu’s interlocutor for the evening will be Judith M. Guston, Curator and Director of Collections at The Rosenbach. Register.

Sponsored by Derick Dreher and Gudrun Dauner, in memory of Frederick W. Dreher III.