Black Rock Press earns first runner-up in national book design competition

'Selected Durations' will be recognized by the Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design

"Selected Durations," published by Black Rock Press, features a modern and slightly industrial feel and comes in a wrap-around clamshell box.

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2/14/2018 | By: Bailey MeCey |

The University of Nevada, Reno's Black Rock Press will be recognized Sunday, Feb. 18, at a national awards presentation in El Paso, Texas, as first runner-up for its book design of Selected Durations, a book length poem by David Abel. Selected Durations is an artist book, letterpress printed in a limited edition of 70 copies and produced entirely at the Black Rock Press in the Art Department. The book has a modern and slightly industrial feel as it is printed on a plastic paper-like material with a rubber spine. It comes in a wrap-around clamshell box with bright contemporary colors.

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Director of the Book & Publication Arts Program Inge Bruggeman is proud of the recognition earned for the book in the national competition.

"Our faculty, staff and student workers all participate in the production of our publications," Bruggeman said. "We work very hard to conceive, design and produce thoughtful works of literary and visual art that consider the future of the book in a post-digital age."

The Manager of the Black Rock Press, AB Gorham is currently finishing binding the edition with the assistance of the BRP Redfield Fellow, Lauren Cardenas. 

The book is also meant as a kind of performance tool, so the Black Rock Press has been making video readings or performances to capture this aspect of the book. The first video is of the author, David Abel performing the text in two minutes flat and a second video splices several readings by others together. 

"The text is a poem that makes an attempt to quantify time as a way of understanding or controlling it which, of course, is an impossibility," Bruggeman said.

The pages of the book are translucent so at any given page spread you can see the text simultaneously recede into the previous pages and appear in the future pages to come. Selected Durations will be on display in the Carl Hertzog Special Collections Department for two months, and soon will be available in the University of Nevada Reno's Special Collections. The Black Rock Press will also be starting a new line of poetry publications, which will make use of both text and image in a unique series of trade publications.

In addition to being first runner-up, Black Rock Press was awarded the American Printing History Association Institutional Award for their work in the study and preservation of printing history.

For those interested in purchasing Selected Durations or interested in other books published by Black Rock Press, contact blackrock@unr.edu, or stay connected through Facebook and Instagram. To see the book performed by David Abel and others, check out the Black Rock Press YouTube page.

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