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In conjunction with the 2024 meeting of CBAA The Association for Book Art Education, the Rollins Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition examining the concept of critical reading. This exhibition will feature text-based contemporary works from the Rollins Book Arts Collection, the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art and juried submissions from CBAA members. Artists’ books have emerged over the last 50 years as a unique form of interdisciplinary contemporary art with a special relationship to what is commonly understood as “the book.” As such, these art objects utilize our shared experiences with reading--both for pleasure and knowledge—and our understanding of books as vessels for sharing expertise in an infinite array of topics. As practitioners of a complex interdisciplinary practice, book artists are uniquely positioned to interrogate cultural assumptions about books, and by extension—our experiences with reading and knowledge—through a critical lens. 

While some book artists seek to dismantle the book as a symbol of authority or singularity, echoing the practice of critical reading from other disciplines, others critique what is going on in contemporary life through a wide range of research topics & personal experiences. Others challenge our preconceptions about the act of reading by pushing experimental methods of communication and comprehension by asking readers to take an active role in making sense of a text, or by producing texts that are designed to provoke and confound. Book art is a genre of investigation, interrogation and renewal that both embraces its link to this important object that changed the trajectory of human evolution—the book—while taking a critical view of that same object through its common use and significance. The real power in these objects is their unique ability to feel both familiar and foreign, to invite the reader into a space where they can engage with an internal reassessment of their previous experiences with books, and their understanding of what it means to read a book. 

This exhibition will include works by contemporary artists working in various media such as Rirkrit Tiravanija and Fred Tomaselli who examine how the representation of language is layered with multiple interpretive possibilities, as well as pieces by William Kentridge and Richard Baker that consider the book as object while conveying the multivalent stories contained within them. Artist’s books from the Rollins Book Arts Collection as well as by members of CBAA The Association for Book Art Education will activate dialogues across media with works from the museum’s collection, providing opportunities to engage in critical reading from diverse perspectives. This synergy between this array of objects-- paintings, drawings, videos, sculptures and artists’ books—will underscore the power of language in its multiple forms to challenge expectations about representation and content.  

Critical Reading is co-curated by Gisela Carbonell, Ph.D., Curator at the Rollins Museum of Art and Prof. Rachel Simmons, Art and Art History Department at Rollins College.  



The curators are looking for artists’ books created since 2020 that address the theme of the exhibition. There is a limit of three artist’s books per submitter, and a total of nine image files (allowing for three views of each artist’s book). Please include a brief bio (150 words max ) and statement (250 words max) about each work you are submitting. Include your last name, title, price (if for sale) and a number in each file name. For example: Smith_Fantasy_$1500_1.jpg 


One work will be chosen from the submissions to be acquired for the Rollins Book Arts Collection. This acquisition will be announced at the CBAA reception on June 7th. 



  • Call for submissions via Submittable opens to active CBAA members Monday, June 12, 2023 
  • Submission window closes Thursday, September 28, 2023 at 11:59 pm 
  • Notifications sent out by November 15, 2023. 
  • Work must arrive at the Rollins Museum of Art no later than 4 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024. 
  • Ship work to: Rollins Museum of Art, Attn: Austin Reeves 1000 Holt Ave. -2765 Winter Park, FL 32789
  • Participants are responsible for shipping to the museum and shipping insurance while in transit to the museum. RMA will cover return shipping costs. While the work is on loan at the museum, insurance will be provided by the museum. 
  • Exhibition opens on May 29, 2024 with a CBAA members reception in conjunction with our in-person meeting on June 7, 2024 from 6-8 pm. 
  • Exhibition closes on December 31, 2024. 
  • One work will be chosen by the curators for the Rollins Book Arts Collection. 



Critical Reading is co-curated by Gisela Carbonell, Ph.D., Curator at the Rollins Museum of Art and Prof. Rachel Simmons, Art and Art History Department at Rollins College. 


Rachel Simmons is an American artist-educator who teaches book arts & printmaking at Rollins College, and her diverse studio practice is informed by both environmental activism, language and personal narratives. Rachel received her BA from Rollins College (1997) and her MFA in Painting & Drawing from Louisiana State University (1999). Endlessly curious about the natural world and our relationship with it, Rachel often collaborates with scholars from other academic disciplines and communities to create new work. She has traveled to Antarctica, Iceland, Namibia, the Galapagos Islands and many of the US National Parks to research environmental issues pertaining to these projects. Her work can be found in public & institutional collections including The Newberry Library, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Baylor University, Yale University, The University of Central Florida, The Berkeley Environmental Design Library, Miami University, Tufts University, Scripps College and many more. Her artist’s books are available through Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, Booklyn, Abecedarian Artists’ Books and 23 Sandy Gallery. Rachel’s work has been exhibited regionally, nationally, internationally at venues such as The San Francisco Center for the Book, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Washington, D.C., and the Deiglan Gallery in Akureyi, Iceland.   


Dr. Gisela Carbonell is Curator at the Rollins Museum of Art at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida. Carbonell received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2009), an M.A. in Art History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2002), and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (1997). Prior to joining the RMA, Carbonell was Director of Curatorial Affairs at Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum. For almost ten years she was Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey, and previously worked as Curatorial Assistant at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, where she discovered her passion for museum work in academic settings. With a background in art history and political science, Carbonell’s curatorial practice often explores the intersections of art and politics in modern and contemporary art and her scholarly interests focus on Dalí’s work in the 1940s. Her recent projects at the RMA include among others, the first solo museum exhibition of American artist Marcus Jansen, E Pluribus Unum (2020), Gallardo/Budoff: Growth, Breadth, and Terrain (2021) exploring dialogues between Puerto Rican artist Frances Gallardo and American artist Nathan Budoff, and the debut of Ghanaian artist Eugene Ofori Agyei, Where is Home? Home is Where I Belong (2023). Carbonell’s permanent collection exhibitions highlight transhistorical and transregional conversations. Recent examples include Multiple Voices/Multiple Stories (2021), Line, Color, Shapes, and Other Stories: Abstract Art Selections from the Collection (2022), and Subject Artist (2022). Currently, Carbonell is developing the first solo museum exhibition of artist Elsa María Meléndez (2023). Carbonell has published articles in Revista 80grados, Journal of Surrealism and the Americas, Diálogo Digital, and Art Documentation (forthcoming) as well as exhibition catalogs and essays.

College Book Art Association