Many of the artists’ books in the Smithsonian American Art & Portrait Gallery Library’s collection tell stories—from personal struggles with addiction, to pictorial descriptions of how to create a human salad, to universal stories of historical conflicts, such as Kara Walker’s book “Freedom: A Fable.”
Who doesn’t love the magic of pop-ups? As the paper engineer/designer of nearly 40 pop-up books, most recently Harry Potter, The Pop-Up Book, Bruce gives an entertaining and informative presentation, utilizing movie clips, PowerPoint, show-and-tell and hands-on demonstrations to introduce audiences — young and young-at-heart alike, to the mysteries and science of movable books.
In the 1950s-1960s, Vojtěch Kubašta, an Austrian-born paper engineer and illustrator working in
Czechoslovakia, created a series of pop-up adventure and fantasy stories combining bold folk art style imagery, distinctive colors, and innovative cut and folded paper styles. Some of his large-scale constructions of this period include Marco Polo (1962), The tournament (1950s), and Ricky the Rabbit (1961).
Wow!: The pop-up book of sports is featured in the Libraries’ current exhibition highlighting innovative book design, Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn, which is on display in the Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery, National Museum of American History, first floor west, through September 1, 2011.
Numbers or Roly Poly Numbers is a pop-up version of a leporello (a book that folds out in an accordion-like manner). A small brightly-colored cube is opened by pulling apart one side to reveal a small pop-up figure in a smaller cube. The process continues as ten cubes— each with a number of figures ranging from one to ten— are exposed.