Exhibition dates: February 2020 – April 2020
Venue: San Francisco Center for the Book, San Francisco, CA

Click here to go directly to the (retro)(intro)spection application.


Retrospection (noun)

ret·​ro·​spec·​tion | \ ˌre-trə-ˈspek-shən

1. The action of looking back on or reviewing past events or situations, especially those in one's own life.

2. The act of thinking now about something in the past.


Introspection (noun)

in·​tro·​spec·​tion | \ ˌin-trə-ˈspek-shən

1. A reflective looking inward

2. An examination of one's own thoughts and feelings

3.The examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes.

INTRO :: For their inaugural exhibition of 2020, San Francisco Center for the Book invites artists to interpret the past, consider the future, and reflect upon where we are going. A juried exhibition, (retro)(intro)spection will showcase artists books which look backward, inward, outward, and forward in a variety of ways.

THEME :: What’s in a word? What about a prefix?  Retro- can be used to describe furniture, artifacts, graphic design, fashion, and interiors. Retroactive (taking effect from a date in the past), retrocede (to go back), retrocognition (backward knowing) and retrograde (moving backwards) are words that lead us to the past where might learn something about where we are in the here-and-now.

The etymology of intro- encourages artists to look within, gain and gather perspective. What about the suffix -spection? It means to look, see or observe, having evolved from the Latin Specere (to look at) and the Proto-Indo-European language root spek (to observe).

Artists are frequently inspired by the past and aim to make work which speaks to future audiences, subsequent generations. Tandem processes of introspective questioning and retrospective storytelling often come together in the artist book format—giving reader and creator the opportunity for personal reflection. Artists books tell us stories by using narrative, structure, materials. Each of these aspects help the artist to communicate a perspective, one that is singularly unique to themselves and the work.

(retro)(intro)spection seeks to explore the crossroads where artists books and artistic process intersect. When do our amorphous ideas become real, at what point? What is the role of introspection and one’s personal past when applied to artists books? In the act of looking back as well as in, the curators hope that artists will be inspired by their body of work, regarding the path or discovering the throughline that brings them to the present, creating work to speak not only to future audiences, but also to subsequent generations.


MEDIA :: This exhibit is open to handmade book and paper arts related works created either in edition or as a one-of-a-kind work. Artists’ books, sculptural books, book objects, altered books, installations, zines, and broadsides are all encouraged.

CURATORS :: Maureen Forys (Happenstance Type-O-Rama) and Jennie Hinchcliff (Exhibition Manager, San Francisco Center for the Book)

JURORS (proposed) :: Alisa Golden (Never Mind the Press / Author, Making Handmade Books), Lisa Beth Robinson (Somnambulist Tango Press / Professor, East Carolina University, Greeneville, NC), and Steve Woodall (Achenbach Collections Specialist, Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco)


September 1, 2019 : Submission deadline

September 2-30, 2019 : Jurying of artworks

October 1, 2019 : Exhibited works announced

October 1 – November 1, 2019 : artwork arrives at San Francisco Center for the Book

February 7, 2020 : Exhibition opens at San Francisco Center for the Book
February 7 - April 19, 2020: Exhibition run dates

PRINT CATALOG :: San Francisco Center for the Book will publish a full-color print catalog to accompany the exhibition with essays by the jurors. Submitting artwork for the exhibition constitutes an agreement that images may be used for publicity purposes both in the printed catalog, as well as online via social media.

ENTRIES :: A maximum of two works may be submitted per artist. Publication date of each work must be 2013 or later. Entries must be received online no later than 5:00 pm PST, September 1, 2019; there will be no exceptions. All artists submitting to this exhibition will be notified via email. San Francisco Center for the Book reserves the right to decline any accepted artwork upon delivery if the condition or quality is other than represented in the electronic entry. All submissions must be made online.

FEES :: A $20 non-refundable entry fee covers up to two works and is payable upon submission. To clarify: the entry fee covers one or both works; it is not a per work fee. When submitting your application, you will be required to pay via Paypal or major credit card.


If you are interested in entering your work for jurying, you are required to use the CaFE platform. Click here to go directly to the (retro)(intro)spection application.


USING THE CaFE PLATFORM ::  in order to be considered for exhibition, artists are required to apply via the CaFE web interface. There is no fee to register/create an online portfolio via CaFE. If you are a first time CaFE user, please complete the following steps:

  • Visit https://www.callforentry.org. Click on the “Artist Sign Up” button (upper right hand corner.) You will be prompted to agree to CaFE’s terms and conditions of use and then create an online CaFE profile.
  • Once you have created a profile, you must upload image files to your CaFE portfolio; these images will be used to jury your work for (retro)(intro)spection. Clicking on the “My Portfolio” tab will take you to CaFE’s image upload window.
  • After you have successfully uploaded your images, search for the (retro)(intro)spection call for entry under the “Apply To Calls” tab. You can search for the (retro)(intro)spection call for entry by using the “Search” feature towards the top of the page.

Please note: CaFE will block the artist’s identifying information prior to viewing by jurors, but note that it is the artist’s responsibility to remove their name and press name from the images and artistic statement before they submit.

IMAGES OF YOUR WORK FOR JURYING :: You may submit up to four images for each piece you are entering in this show. Please make sure that your images are high resolution and adequately represent the work you are interested in exhibiting.

  • When selecting images for juror consideration, DO NOT include title pages (or pages which include personal/press names) or colophon pages. Any submission materials that include identifiable artist or press names will be removed from consideration.
  •  Composite images are not acceptable. One view per image submitted only.
  •  Black backgrounds on your images are not acceptable. Please photograph your artwork on a neutral gray or white background. Black backgrounds do not show artwork to the best advantage, books lose shadow, dimension and scale on black backgrounds.

CONTACT INFO :: inquiries should be emailed directly to Jennie Hinchcliff at exhibitions@sfcb.org

Thank you for your interest in (retro)(intro)spection. We look forward to seeing your work.