Poetry Is Not A Luxury

Exhibition Run Dates :: Friday, July 10 – Sunday, December 20, 2020

Curator :: Maymanah Farhat

San Francisco Center for the Book gratefully acknowledges the loan of this exhibition from the

Center for Book Arts in New York City, NY.

Poetry Is Not a Luxury considers how book arts have contributed to the recording of oppositional subjectivities in the U.S. The exhibition is titled after Audre Lorde’s 1977 essay on the intersections of creativity and activism that were not only essential to her own work but to a diverse group of feminist thinkers at the time. Recognizing that both creative work and activism are driven by subjectivity, Lorde argues that for women poetry is not a luxury but a vital necessity, as it provides a framework through which survival and the desire for change can be articulated, conceptualized, and transformed into meaningful action.

Poetry is Not a Luxury features artists who approach book arts in a similar way, namely as experimental media that foreground subjectivity and lend to intimate aesthetic experiences with the aim of drawing attention to sociopolitical issues. Since the mid twentieth century, artist books, broadsides, mail art, and zines have been essential to artists seeking to bring greater awareness to ongoing marginalization and oppression (e.g. incarceration, gentrification, immigration, and war), arguably due to the widely recognizable and accessible nature of these art forms.

Featured artists:

Aurora De Armendi with Adriana Mendez Rodenas; Zeina Barakeh; Janine Biunno; Ana Paula Cordeiro; Joyce Dallal; Nancy Genn; Gelare Khoshgozaran; Brenda Louie; Nancy Morejon with Ronaldo Estevez Jordan and Marciel Ruiz; Katherine Ng; Miné Okubo; Martha Rosler; Zeinab Saab; Jacqueline Reem Salloum; Patricia Sarrafian Ward; Jana Sim; Sable Elyse Smith; Patricia Tavenner; Christine Wong Yap; and Helen Zughaib.

Exhibition curated by Maymanah Farhat.

This exhibition has been organized by the Center for Book Arts with special support.


Exhibition Sponsors :: SFCB gratefully acknowledges the following supporters for their continued support of SFCB's exhibition program:

Grants For The Arts | The Kahle Austin Foundation | Anonymous

Exhibition Catalog :: A fully illustrated catalog of this exhibition will be available for purchase from SFCB's online store.

Related Programming For This Exhibition :: TBA