The old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” takes on new meaning at the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art in Solvang. “ReOpening The Book” is a new art exhibition, with some “nonmaterial” books on display at the museum using only shadows and light.

Debuting Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit features works from 23 California artists. The public is invited to join in the celebration and meet the artists. An opening reception will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m., and a pre-reception gallery talk with the curators commences at 4 p.m.

Viewers are invited to explore the many ways artists probe the definition of what constitutes a book, searching for new and unexpected forms of this familiar object. Books will hang from the ceiling, crawl up the wall, cover table tops and fill the imagination. Some works challenge the conventional book format and become sculptural objects; some pop up; others play with layers.

“For this exhibition, we've chosen a range of book works to stretch our minds,” explained Pamela Zwehl-Burke, curatorial team leader. “Semi-recognizable books made of unusual materials, objects which carry language, visual juxtapositions and series, containers holding sequences and series, objects which have covers and centers, altered books, and limited edition productions which bring together several ways of experiencing an event or story.”

Understanding a book as an artwork invites a reflection on the properties of the book form itself. Much like any act of reading, an artists’ book is a physical experience that allows a connection with the medium on an individual and personal level.

“You will want to interact with and hold these objects,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, executive director of the Elverhoj Museum. “We’ve tried to make as many as practicable available to you to touch and feel. You may find your own ideas taking shape in bookish form.”

Future bookings

Upcoming exhibit programming includes three workshops, beginning with the Feb. 17 family oriented “Oddball Books to Make & Take,” as well as two options for adults.

Artist presentations by William Davies King and Mary Heebner will be presented on Feb. 24 and April 14.

The grand finale “Bookapalooza!” on April 28 includes an interactive show, tell and challenge with a reception following.

Pre-registration is required for the workshops. More information can be found at or phone the museum at 805-686-1211.

Exhibiting artists are: Mariona Barkus, Beverly Decker, Linda Ekstrom, Noah Erenberg, Julie Filatoff, Linda Foster, Holli Harmon, Mary Heebner, William Davies King, Thomas Larson, Jill Littlewood, Nora McKinnon, Lisa Moore, Sara Norquay, Mary Price, Harry Reese, Sandra Reese, Felicia Rice, Elena Siff, Cynthia Stahl, Nina Warner, Monica Wiesblott and Pamela Zwehl-Burke.


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