Two upcoming Faulconer Gallery exhibitions will demonstrate the history of printing and publishing in China—from intricate woodblocks to intriguing political posters. Opening Sept. 23, “From the Book Forest: Commercial Publishing in Late Imperial China” and “Chinese Propaganda Posters, 1949-1979” will feature printing techniques that have shaped information sharing across cultures and generations.
A third related exhibition in Burling Library, “From Papyrus to Kindle: A Glimpse at the History of Printing in the Western World,” illustrates technology’s influence on publishing, particularly in the West.
“These exhibitions provide a glimpse into the explosion that new communication technologies ignite—whether commercializing printing in China 700 years ago or the rise of the Internet over the past 20 years,” said Lesley Wright, director of Faulconer Gallery. “'From the Book Forest’ surveys some of the remarkable similarities to Western publishing in the rapid growth of texts spawned by commercial publishing. In the 20th century, communist China made masterful use of propaganda posters to unify the country’s ideology, showing that images can be as effective as text in conveying a message.”
Deborah Rudolph of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeley curated “From the Book Forest” from the library’s collections. Grinnell alumni connections in Shanghai facilitated the poster exhibition from the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum, and Nanjing University, a long-time international partner of the college, facilitated the visit of three master craftsmen from Yangzhou who will conduct multiple public demonstrations, Sept. 23-Oct. 3.
Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Libraries and the college’s Center for International Studies will host the following related public events in September and October:
• Sept. 20, 4:15 p.m.: Opening reception for “Propaganda Posters” with gallery talk by Yang Pei Ming of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center.
• Sept. 23, 5-7 p.m.: Opening reception for “Book Forest” with demonstrations of woodblock carving, printing and bookbinding by visiting artists from Yangzhou, China, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Demonstrations also conducted Sept. 24, noon-2 p.m., 3-5 p.m., and Sept. 25, 2-4 p.m.
• Sept. 26, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by Nanjing University history professor Xia Weizhong on the shift of the Late Ming period printing industry to private enterprise; translated lecture.
• Sept. 29, 11 a.m.: Scholars’ Convocation on Chinese consumerism by modern China historian Karl Gerth, a 1988 Grinnell graduate; Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.
• Oct. 4, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by “Book Forest” curator Deborah Rudolph on the rise of commercial printing during the Ming era.
• Oct. 6, 11 a.m.: Scholars’ Convocation by Robert Darnton, university librarian at Harvard University, on “Books and Libraries Post-Google.”
• Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.: Open mic night, co-sponsored by Grinnell Review, featuring original written works by Grinnell students and others who wish to share writing samples.
• Oct. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Panel discussion by Grinnell faculty members Tim Arner (English), Samuel Rebelsky (computer science), Ralph Savarese (English), and Richard Fyffe (librarian of the college) on “The Future of the Book” in their disciplines. They will be joined by panelist Bruce Whiteman, former head librarian at UCLA.
• Thursdays, Sept. 29-Dec. 8, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: yoga with Monica St. Angela, co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. Mats provided for beginners and experienced practitioners.
All events are in Faulconer Gallery unless otherwise noted. “Book Forest” and “Propaganda Posters” will share the gallery through Dec. 11 with the Walter Burley Griffin architectural exhibit. The gallery will be open Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday.
The Burling Library exhibition “Papyrus to Kindle” will close Nov. 21. For more information about the exhibitions and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery.