ARTIST'S BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Athenaeum's Erika & Fred Torri Artist's Book of the Month
Multimedia artist Diane Jacobs was born in southern California in 1966. She studied at University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned a master’s in fine art from San Francisco State University. Her work is in major collections, such as the Getty, Walker Art Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She teaches book arts and letterpress; in 2000, she received an Artist’s Book Residency Grant from the Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, New York). She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Diane Jacobs, the creative force behind Knowledgeable, is a seasoned multimedia artist who lives in Portland, Oregon. From her childhood home in southern California she traveled to study printmaking in Italy and received a BA from UC Santa Cruz and MFA from San Francisco State. A gifted teaching artist, she has had several residencies, including one with the Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, New York) in 2000. Her work is included in numerous collections, including the Walker Art Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Getty. She publishes under the auspices of her own Scantron Press.
Jacobs is invested in navigating contemporary issues with wit and word and image play. In light of recent discussion of American universities downplaying the importance of entrance exams, her artfully farcical, but beautifully conceived and executed artist’s book Knowledgeable points out the hidden agendas and cultural exclusion inherent in such a normative measure. As she states on her website’s page devoted to the book (dianejacobs.net/work/202), “Knowledgeable’s questions question the very possibility of standardized testing; here the questions are loaded with emphatic perspective: feminist, non-Eurocentric, non-homophobic, as well as with humor, wit and the joy of putting on the world.” She emphasizes this stance by items such as an oral reading test using a tipped in page of deliberately blurry text and a graph that has no accompanying clarifying information. As a nod to the more open-ended—and therefore subjectively scored--essay section of a standardized exam, one page pictures an empty square and asks the test taker to “Draw a Picture of Yourself.”
Published in 1995, Knowledgeable came to fruition through hand-set type and various forms of printmaking. It comprises a limited edition of 26 copies.
For more information on this delightful and provocative artist, please go online to dianejacobs.net/documents/Resume_2015.pdf.