Dave Wofford is one of those guys that everybody seems to know. I can't even remember when I met him but he and his letterpress/fine art book/graphic design enterprise Horse & Buggy Press are Durham institutions. Dave approached me about doing a 20th Anniversary exhibition of his work from the press at Cassilhaus and I was completely on board but unclear about exactly what that might entail. WHOA. Dave had big plans! He wanted to mount the show here and then travel it to CAM Raleigh. He wanted to have custom furniture designed for the exhibition. He wanted to have a music room. He wanted to have a stocked liquor cabinet. We wanted to have 5 programming events featuring authors/poets/musicians/makers during the run of the show. He wanted to feature a gigantic amount of beautiful work. He REALLY didn't want to overwhelm me.
Fortunately Dave is an organizing machine. I would get these 5 page emails almost daily with excruciating detail of when he was going to install which pieces and where they would go and how they would connect to each other and what did I think. Dave has such an incredible design sense that it quickly became clear that I just needed to say, "Dave that sounds great. Have at it." It was certainly the most ambitious and involved exhibition we have ever mounted. Guys started showing up installing shelves and leather chairs and custom bench cushions started appearing.
Dave has built such an extraordinary community of artists and makers and he conducted them like a symphony. Folks he had worked with 20 years ago and just last week were all featured and came together to help produce this extraordinary remembrance and celebration. We opened in early May 2016. What he wanted most was for people to spend time with the 18+ books he had created. Real time. Not like a normal art exhibitions where pieces get a glance or a short dwell time. He decided to schedule reading days where people could just come and spend time with the work. Rather than reinvent the wheel here I am linking to Dave's newsletter here which details the participants and programming during the run of the show.
The exhibition looked magnificent.
And the crowds were enthusiastic.
One of the highlights for me of the programming events was Allan Gurganus' reading from his short story It Had Wings which Dave produced a beautiful limited edition book version of.
Thank you Dave for bringing so much beauty into the world.
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”