Judith Hoffberg:
work and articles

Umbrella Archive, IUPUI University Library

Women of the Book: Jewish Artists, Jewish Themes

Judith Hoffberg, "The Getty Villa: Reminiscences and Renaissance", ArtScene

Judy Malloy

Remembering Judith Hoffberg

Beginning in 1979, with the Artwords & Bookworks exhibition, at the
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, that she co-curated with Joan Hugo,
art librarian Judith Hoffberg (1934-2009) was a distinguished curator and critic
in the field of artists books. Her understanding and appreciation of the role of
artists books in expanding approaches to painting, crafts, printing, narrative,
and sculpture; the major exhibitions she curated; and her longtime editorship of
Umbrella not only brought artists books to a larger audience but also --
fittingly perhaps since she began working in this field through her participation
in the mail art network -- were a means of networking and communication
for the artists who created artists books. In her own work she created both mail
art and mail art installations, such as the collaboratively created The
Umbrella Show
at the University of California at Riverside for which she
received over 400 umbrellas and umbrella art from the mail art network.

The field of artists books includes books produced by fine art presses,
hand made paper objects, constructed paintings, sculptural book objects,
three dimensional graphic art works, conceptual books, photographic books,
and experimental approaches to the book form, to name just a few. A common
denominator, is a creative approach to the idea of the book. Within the
field, there is sometimes disagreement -- understandably considering the
differences in aesthetics and approaches of such diverse creators. Yet the
exhibitions that Judith curated were carefully put together to include a
wide variety of kinds of artists books and to display the books in
situations that not only invited the audience to explore the works but also
created an overall contemporary visual art look.

As an art librarian, Judith Hoffberg worked for the Library of Congress as a
cataloguer in the Prints & Photographs Division, for Johns Hopkins University
in Italy, and for the Smithsonian Institution, among many others. She was also
the founder of the Art Libraries Society of North America.

The exhibitions she curated were hosted by the University of California at
Santa Barbara, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; the San Antonio
Art Institute, the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans; Franklin Furnace
in New York City; Texas Woman's University, the Ringling School of Art and
Design, the San Francisco Center for the Book, and the Oregon School of Arts
& Crafts, among many other places. She was always working on something,
always responsive to artists. I once went by to say hello when she was
installing a show in the Bay Area and saw how carefully she placed each book,
making sure not only that the exhibition had an overall visual impact but
also that each book was exhibited as it was meant to be seen.

Through her arts journal Umbrella, one could follow not only artists
books but also information art and the International mail art network of which
she was an integral part, along with her long time friends, including Anna Banana,
Cavellini, Bill Gaglione, and Ulises Carrion.

Through the years, I very much appreciated Judith's interest in my own work
and the many exhibitions in which she featured my work, including a one person
installaton: 3X5, Visual Card Catalogs in Venice, California, from
September 18 - Oct. 18, 1979 at Artworks, the gallery she co-founded in June
1979. It was the first time I had ever been to Southern California, and after
installing the show, I had a wonderful time talking with Judith and exploring
Venice culture.

With vision and understanding, Judith Hoffberg worked tirelessly to bring the
work of artists who created with the book form to a wider audience. She is
remembered with gratitude and love by many artists throughout the world.

About Judith Hoffberg

Ruud Janssen, The Mail-Interview with Judith A. Hoffberg

"Judith Hoffberg dies at 74; art librarian and curator"
Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2009

Betty Jo Irvine,
"A Tribute to Judith Hoffberg",

International Union of Mail-Artists

Judith Hoffberg (Wikipedia)