More Than 40 Artist Books Inspire Action on Behalf of the Environment

On view June 26—September 5, 2021, Reclamation: Artists’ Books on the Environment is presented in partnership with the San Francisco Center for the Book

Image of open book
Susan Lowdermilk, I Think That the Root of the Wind is Water

SAN FRANCISCO – After a 15-month closure, the doors of the San Francisco Main Library’s Jewett Gallery will reopen to the public with a juried exhibition of artists books exploring our relationship to the environment at this moment on the planet. Reclamation: Artists’ Books on the Environment is an extension of an exhibition currently on view at the Library’s partner organization, the San Francisco Center for the Book. On view June 26 to September 5, 2021, the show invites viewers to reflect on climate change and its impacts locally, nationally and internationally.

“We look forward to welcoming the public back into the Jewett Gallery to see this gorgeous exhibition of intricate, one-of-a-kind books,” says curator Joan Jasper. “As we experience record-breaking heat and the threat of wildfires, this exhibition is a meditation on the earth’s beauty and what we stand to lose if we continue to ignore the threat of climate change. All or our exhibitions are free and open to the public, and I encourage everyone to check out these beautiful creations at the Library and at our presenting partner, San Francisco Center for the Book.”

Our relationship to landscape and the environment is immensely complicated, intercut with memory and romanticism, as well as economics, politics and power. Language does not help matters. This exhibition’s title of reclamation, for example, refers to the process of claiming something back or of reasserting a right. And yet, reclamation can also mean to bring wasteland or land that was formerly under water, to cultivation. What is considered wasteland seems to be land that is not being “worked”. Other terms carry similar embedded assumptions, such as wilderness, which is defined as an uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region—in other words, land that is free of human presence or development is inherently inhospitable, somehow threatening toward people. This exhibition explores these issues through book arts.

In this exhibition, over forty book artists create works that involve, educate and inspire action about the environment. The artwork in this exhibition takes many forms. Many of these colorful, artistic books integrate pagination with sculptural and material richness, through special paper, painting, paper cuts, letterpress work and bindings, to create a multi-sensory reading experience. 

The public is encouraged to visit the sister exhibition, by the same title, at the San Francisco Center for the Book, on view through September 21, 2021. 375 Rhode Island, San Francisco.

This exhibition is sponsored by: The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library; the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center at the San Francisco Public Library and the Marjorie G. and Carl W. Stern Book Arts & Special Collections at the San Francisco Public Library.


Ryoko Adachi
Frances Ashforth
Javier Barrera
Tony Bellaver
Lizzie Brewer
Valerie Carrigan
John Cobb
Gabby Cooksey
Anne Covell
Florine Delasalle
Linda Ekstrom
M Fagan
Lucy Helton
KT Hettinga
Erika Jaeggli
Susan Lowdermilk
Amanda Marchand
Liz Menard
Sarah Nicholls
Radha Pandey
Nora Pauwels
Camden Richards
Stephanie Russ
Laura Russell
Jill Sebastian
Judith Selby Lang
CB Sherlock
Anneli Skaar
Lorna Stevens
Judith Tentor
MJ Viano Crowe
Annette Vogel
M. Claire White
Susan ("Suze") Woolf


Reclamation: Artists’ Books on the Environment 
On view June 26-September 5, 2021
Jewett Gallery, Lower Level of the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street
More information at


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Kate Patterson
Director of Communications


Junio 18, 2021