Miriam Schaer ~ Brooklyn, New York

Share this page:
   
Miriam Schaer: "I make sculptural books from clothing, found objects, installations, and prints, which explore themes of sexuality, gender, family, society, spirituality. My books house stories which reveal and honor the beauty and struggle of tiny moments: battles won and lost in everyday life. I seek answers to questions that are unknowable. I am based in Brooklyn, and teach in the Interdisciplinary MFA program in Book and Paper at Columbia College Chicago."
   

Bookworks created from garments
Rules of Engagement Apron series
Small edition books by Miriam Schaer

 
   
The Presence Of Their Absence
Society's Bias Against Women Without Children

By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Ariadne's Thread, 2014. Open edition.

8.25 x 10.75"; 90 pages. Digital printing. Case bound with glossy colored hardcovers Signed by the artist on the title page.

The Presence of Their Absence is based on a portfolio of photographic work of the same name. The portfolio of 19 prints, an edition of 3, was created around "Baby (Not) On Board: The Final Prejudice?", an installation of hyper-realistic dolls and mannequins dressed in baby dresses and rompers embroidered with critical quotes said to women without children.

This hardcover edition of The Presence of Their Absence takes the form of a photographic essay accompanied by an autobiographical text describing Schaer's experience as a woman without children, and a survey of hostile attitudes toward this status.

Miriam Schaer: "The Presence of Their Absence is an account of my journey through childlessness both as I've experienced it and as I've seen it expressed in places where comments like 'Childless women lack an essential humanity' represent a widespread belief. Many cultures resent, disparage, and discriminate against childless women, and in extreme cases drive them to suicide. The Presence of Their Absence is a window into that point of view."

Miriam Schaer, statement announcing a panel "From Sentiment to Sexuality: Revisiting the Maternal Body as Threat" presented at the College Art Association Annual Conference 2014: "The Presence of Their Absence explores the disparagement of childlessness and childless women by the maternal establishment, a reigning cultural norm in virtually every country and historical era. Non maternity, whether chosen or imposed by circumstance, falls outside the biological ideal, usually to its disadvantage. Childless, or child-free, women throughout the world face a spectrum of cultural disdain that ranges from simple disrespect to explicit hostility.

"Non-maternity as a normative standard represents an idea as controversial today as when it was suggested by Shulamith Firestone in 1970’s
The Dialectic of Sex. 'Women will not be fully emancipated,' she wrote, 'until they are free from the demands of biology.' Then, she took emancipation’s tools to be concepts like artificial insemination and surrogacy, options that at the time were little better than science fiction.

"Today, these and other alternative maternities are widespread. Yet, rather than release women from maternity’s grip, they have added new pressures to women in pursuit of biological childbearing, often at great cost in terms of health and finances...."

$55


Click image for more

 

 

   
   
Cinderella Ever After
Text by Mary Florio
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2013. Edition of 9.

3.75 x 7.25 x 2"; 56 pages. Digitally printed in Snell Roundhand with an Epson 2200 color printer on 90 lb Whatman Rag paper. Endpapers created on hand-made paper by Melissa Potter and Miriam Schaer. Handbound in shaped drum leaf binding with hyper-packed decorative cord. In cloth-covered clamshell box. Signed by Florio and Schaer. Numbered.

Artists' Statement: "Miriam Schaer teams up again with Mary Florio (The Posture Queen) to create Cinderella Ever After, a revisionist version of the oft-told tale. Housed in highly decorated heart-shaped covers and digitally printed interior pages featuring collages based on Schaer's suburban childhood - a world of idealized women and perfect homes. The images do not illustrate the text, but serve as counterpoint for the imagery in the poem.

"The book is covered by wrapped cords, resembling arteries that crawl over the laser-cut, heart-shaped covers. The densely packed cords twist and turn in and out of the covers in a manner both embracing and strangling, an effect that could have only been produced by Schaer's intensive handwork. The shaped drum leaf binding allows the story to flow from page to page.

"The shape of the book refers back to medieval codex structures, in which heart shaped books were often used for prayer, and to reflect a love of god. Cinderella Ever After contains a different sort of prayer by a narrator who urges Cinderella to flee from her prescribed path, and to change into 'someone you can recognize.' Florio's text contrasts the myth of happy ever after against the reality of finding one's self."

$1,200

Click image for more
   
   

Hands of Josephus: Part III
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2008. One-of-a-Kind.

6 x 10 x 5"; 462 pages. Appropriated text from the works of Flavius Josephus. Materials: beads, wire hand form. Each page, cut in the shape of a hand, is sewn onto multiple beaded cords, then attached to wire hand forms, which are encrusted with beads. Housed in 8.5 x 13 x 4" linen clamshell box.

Miriam Schaer: "Hands of Josephus is a series of altered books, created from a broken down copy of Flavius Josephus's Twenty books of The Jewish Antiquities, The Life of Josephus and the Jewish Wars. Josephus was a 1st-century Jewish historian and apologist who survived and recorded the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. His works give an important insight into 1st-century Judaism, while raising questions about who owns history. The hand of the victor, it seems, always controls . every version of truth. There are five books in this series, created from the original volumes."
$2,000


Click image to enlarge
   
   
Guardian of Sterile Waters
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, [1997]. One-of-a-Kind.

12 x 20 x 6" sculptural bookwork. Materials: ladies' girdle, acrylic, ink, silk, sterile-water ampules, plastic toy laser print, ribbon.

Miriam Schaer: "Guardian of Sterile Water is the third and last of the three books I made to explore my infertility and issues around motherhood. Guardian was created after the treatments failed, using as art materials some of the leftover fertility drugs — specifically the ampules of sterilized water that was to be used in mixing Clomid and Perganol — infertility drugs that were commonly used in the late 90s.

"Inside the bustier, there is a heart-shaped inset box, or cartouche, which holds a heart shaped book. The book's pages are collages of actual medical records complimented by images of infants.

"The bottom of the heart is lined with broken bottles from the ampules of the sterilized water. All three deal with the urge to have a child – that is, to become a mother – and the coming to terms with its unlikelihood in my own life.

"My work in this vein is chiefly a way of asking questions that explore feminine, feminist, and social issues that I sometimes think have no answers. So I try to make sense of things by making art."

$900

Click image for more
   
 

Rules of Engagement Series (Aprons & Book)

Miriam Schaer, interview from Umbrella: "A few years ago, I started working with hostess aprons. That turned into a 20-piece series called Rules of Engagement in which the aprons became canvasses for transferred portraits of idealized women accompanied by hand-embroidered quotes from Sun Tsu's The Art of War. The first apron in the series reads ,"Good warriors take their stand on ground they cannot lose." Two other aprons read, "Victory cannot be made" and "Strike few with many." The interplay between the aprons' domesticity, the women's faces, and the military epigrams creates an interesting effect."

   

Rules of Engagement
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2008. Trade Edition.

9 x 7"; 44 pages. Softcover perfect bound.

Miriam Schaer: "Rules of Engagement is an ongoing series of aprons that depict images of idealized women complemented by epigrams from Sun Tsu's The Art of War which are hand embroidered onto each apron by the artist. [I have] produced a trade edition book which has images of each apron in the series with the epigram on the opposite page."
$35


Click image for more
 
   

Rules of Engagement: Aprons
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 1996 - 1999. Each unique.

Hostess apron. Sizes vary. Color Xerox, transfer, acrylic medium, hand embroidery.

Aprons available, $900 each:

  • #2 Attack where they are unprepared.
         24” x 44”;1996.
  • #3 If the enemy opens the door, you must race in.
         23” x 35” ;1996.
  • #5 The science of insuring victory is a mysterious secret.
          25” x 37”; 1996.
  • #6 The host encounters the guest at the border.
          22” x 37” ; 1997.
  • #7 The pliant and weak will conquer the hard and strong. This       is referred to as subtle enlightenment.
          25” x 40” ; 1997.
  • #8 In the case of the Firmly Unbending, entice and then seize      them.
         24” x 37”; 1997.
  • #11 Resist when surrounded, fight when it cannot be avoided        and obey in extremes.
           24” x 37”; 1998.
  • #12 If you want to weaken something you must certainly        strengthen it.
           24” x 37”; 1998.
  • #14 Victory can be made.
           36” x 23” 1999.
  • #15 Strike few with many.
           27” x 18” 1999.
  • #16 Nothing is harder than armed struggle
           37” x 21”; 1999.
  • #17 Use anger to throw them into disarray.
           56” x 19”; 1999.
  • #18 The best of plans is one that is unknown.
           32” x 21”; 1999.
  • #19 Do not press a desperate enemy.
           31” x 22”; 1999.

 

Click individual image to enlarge

           
Apron #2                                    Apron #3

            
Apron #5                                    Apron #6

             
Apron #7                                       Apron #8

             
Apron #11                              Apron #12

             
Apron #14                                       Apron #15

             
Apron #16                                       Apron #17

              
Apron #18                                  Apron #19


Miriam Schaer: "My work is often about transformation. Using objects created for other ends in my art, so that their reinvention becomes, as it were, subtext to the broader themes my works address. For example, I often use garments - especially bustiers, bras, girdles, kitchen aprons, children's clothing and gloves - as both means and vehicles of containment. Inside their stiffened, shaped, embellished husks - transformed by resin, glue, instinct and paint - I embed unique books and objects reflecting each works gloss on personal, feminine, societal or spiritual issues."
 
   

Golden Apples
By Miriam Schaer
with text by W. B. Yeats
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2005. One-of-a-Kind.

7 x 23 x 4" sculpture using opera gloves. Attached to the palm of the left hand a 2 x 1.75", 9-page miniature book, an accordion structure in apple-shaped pages on which is the digitally printed W. B. Yeats' text, an excerpt from "The Song of the Wandering Aengus." Sculpture housed in linen clamshell box.

Miriam Schaer: "Golden Apples ponders the quest for love. It was created originally for the installation Chapel of Uncommon Prayer. Created entirely of books and book objects using hand shapes and gloves, created using
traditional book binding techniques in a non-traditional way, the exhibition explores the personal relationship to prayer and devotion, in a world with increasingly difficult, often unanswerable questions."

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands.
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

$900


Click image to enlarge
   
   

One Heart
By Miriam Schaer
poem by Emily Dickinson
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2004. One-of-a-Kind.

9.75 x 16 x 7.75" sculptural book. Girdle book with hand-shaped book (4 x 6", 14 pages, combination codex and accordion structure) inset. Materials: girdle, acrylic, silk, Indian hand made paper. Housed in linen clamshell box.

Text is a poem by Emily Dickinson, "If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking," as it appeared in The Complete Poems (Boston, 1924).

Miriam Schaer: "One Heart was created for Six Wives for the Brothers Grimm, six dioramas exploring themes raised by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm and other sources of fairy or folk tales at Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Designed for Brooklyn's more urban, plural environment, the panels depict sculptural figures I created by applying traditional and non-traditional book-binding techniques to pigment-stiffened articles of clothing embedded with objects. Many of the figures open to reveal one-of-a-kind books and additional objects. Serving as the characters' inner voices, the hand-made books contain excerpts from Emily Dickinson poems about the personal tragedies, usually romantic, people secretly endure. The lettering in the text is all hand-cut, reflecting the fragility of their expressions."

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

$1,400


Click image to enlarge

 

   
   

Love and Madness
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2000. One-of-a-Kind.

11.5 x 16 x 9” closed; 11.5 x 17 x 9” opened. Uses a woman’s girdle for book structure. 3.5 x 6 x 2” book inset. Mixed media with girdle, acrylic, ink, dye, chord, linen thread, silk. Inset heart-shaped book sewn on multiple cords, interior text hand-lettered Nietzsche quotation on handmade Tibetan paper.

Miriam Schaer: “Love and Madness is a meditation on Nietzsche’s famous quote about the complexities of relationships. Bound in a heart shaped book, on hyper-packed cords, the book, which cannot break free from the bustier where it is housed, emphasizes the twists and turns that exist in all intimate relationships.”
$1,200


Click image for more
   
   

Rest Stops
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 1996. One-of-a-Kind.

5 x 16 x 2" Materials used sock dryers, silk, acrylic, xerox transfer, and printed matter.

Driving directions as a metaphor for life provide the text in this leg-shaped book created with antique wood sock dryers. The hand-cut text is accompanied by vintage images of an idealized past.
$800

 



Click image to enlarge
   
   

We Are Happy to Serve You
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 1996. Edition of 8

19.25 x 29" 26 pages. Printed gum bichromate on hand cut pages. Bound with a hostess apron.

Subject of this book is the artist's four day career as a waitress. Her waitressing career began immediately after graduation from art school. Includes her reflection on the merits of following one's heart's desire and "ceasing to serve."
$700 (Last Copy)



Click image to enlarge

   

Schaer generally produces sculptural books. She does, however, have several small edition books.
   

The Posture Queen
By Mary Florio
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2005. Edition of 25.

6 x 5 x .5" pamphlet bound in ribbon-tied enclosure. Digitally printed with an Epson 2200 printer using archival ink on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Duo. Type used Futura and Edwardian Script.

The All Girl's Assembly held each year during Miriam Schaer's Junior High School years in Kenmore, New York, outside of Buffalo inspired New Jersey poet Mary Florio's poem. Based on Schaer's memories and memorabilia from that time, Florio creates a new sort of Posture Queen, who stands straight, even under the most trying circumstances.
$85


Click image to enlarge
   
   

Adjusting For The Moon
By Miriam Schaer with Stan Pinkwas
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 2003. Edition of 15.

29 x 7.5" open. Ink jet on hand-painted accordion pages with digitally printed slipcase and ribbon pull.

This is an edition version of Schaer's book that is in the center of her sculptural piece "Altars of the Invisible." This small book illuminates the tensions in personal relationships through the metaphor of early navigation.
$100

 


Click image for more
   
   

Zelda Reflects
By Miriam Schaer
Brooklyn, New York: Miriam Schaer, 1994. Open Edition

3" x 4" 18 pages including cover. Printed offset. Double o-wire binding. Printed offset on multicolored mylar card stock. Signed but unnumbered.

Filled with images of bountiful women from vintage French postcard, and wise words from well-known people. Typeset backwards in mirror type. The pages must be read in the reflection which helps our "Zelda" to reflect, and ponder her options, as she looks back on her year.
$50 (Last Copy)


Click image for more
   

 
Miriam Schaer edition titles out of print:
• Hush

 
   

Page last update: 05.12.16

   
  
Home | About Us | Contact Us | New Arrivals | Fine Press & Artists' Books | Broadsides | Miniature Books | Resource Books | Order/Inquiry

   Copyright © 2013 Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers, LLC. All rights reserved.