Columbia College Chicago

World As Text



June 16 - August, 12  

THE WORLD AS TEXT is a summer reading room and exhibition featuring over seventy-five contemporary artist’s books, zines, exhibition catalogs and alternative publications. The innovative reading room is designed by artist John Preus, in collaboration with students from the Columbia College Chicago departments of Art + Design and Interdisciplinary Art, as well as students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A hybrid space crafted out of re-purposed materials to amplify connections between the action of reading and the activity of performance, the reading room features books that were selected by guest curators and contributors including Temporary Services, Maria Fusco, Sarah Bodman, Buzz Spector, Tate Shaw, Doro Boehme and Emily McVarish.

THE WORLD AS TEXT features a concurrent exhibition of works by artists culled from the reading room, curated to amplify the connections between book practices and interdisciplinary art making.  Artists include Edie Fake, Joseph Grigely, Dianna Frid, Heidi Norton, Rebecca Mir, Deborah Stratman, Amanda Repo Taiwo Thomson and Marshall Weber.

Select Press

Click here to read a review by Lauren Weinberg in TimeOut Chicago's Exhibitionist Blog
Click here to read a review by Lori Waxman in the Chicago Tribune

Click here to read a review by Candace Weber in TimeOut Chicago
Click here to read a review by Claudien Ise on

Design Session, May 23, 2011 (Dorchester House)

THE WORLD AS TEXT was constructed during a two week design charrette led by John Preus. With visits to the Dorchester House, as well as art, design and curatorial presenations, the charrette was documented on a blog and in the exhibition catalog.

Visit the design charrette blog 

Beginning with 2nd-hand desks, office chairs, and other implements of reading and writing, the Reading Room will be built and designed by a team of designer/apprentice pairings responding to literary terminology, theory and history as a point of departure for building discreet physical objects and environments.

All speech can be considered a form of quotation, more or less successful attempts to authentically inhabit an existing collection of terms, clichés, and ready-to-hand expressions.  And similarly, all objects could be considered temporary iterations of an epic material morphology. The edifice of language derives much of its vocabulary from the physical world, in turn, lending it intelligibility, significance, meaning, and articulation.  Imagining the built environment as a set of inscriptions upon an inherited landscape, the Reading Room explores the complex interdependencies of language and form.-John Preus

To purchase the exhibition catalog, click here to visit our online store. Or, download it in PDF format here.

For more information on regarding this exhibition, please contact Jessica Cochran, Curator of Exhibiitons

Gallery Hours
Monday - Friday:
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., 
Saturdays: noon - 4:00 p.m. 

to arrange a tour, email book&

education packets for each exhibition are available 
upon request. 

You can also visit the gallery any night during a scheduled event. Click here for directions. 

View Spring 2014 
Events Brochure

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