By Matt Connolly

When Maddy Rosenberg tells people she is, among other things, a book artist, she’ll often get such quizzical responses such as, “So…you’re an illustrator?” Rosenberg hopes to dispel this confusion with Central Booking, a Dumbo-based gallery focusing upon the multi-faceted art form.

A curator and artist who works across mediums, Rosenberg finds herself drawn to the differing ways that book art—which ranges from sculpture to printmaking to pamphlets made on a copy machine—manifests itself. “[Book art] is made by artists who approach some aspect of what a book is,” Rosenberg explained. “It may be text or structure or sequencing. It may be any one of those viewpoints that make it a piece of book art.”

As the gallery’s executive director and curator, Rosenberg works to filter the art form’s playful, multidisciplinary spirit into how she runs Central Booking. Two galleries make up the space, with the first devoted to all forms of book art and prints. Many of the pieces can be handled by visitors, and the price of individual works ranges from $2 to $100,000.

Doug Beube’s work on display at Central Booking.

Doug Beube’s work on display at Central Booking.

The second gallery houses various exhibitions. Keeping with Central Booking’s theme of disciplinary cross-pollination, the inaugural show, entitled “Natural Histories,” focuses on the overlap between art and science. A future exhibition will examine the relationship between art and social anthropology.

Rosenberg also hopes to shake up established conventions of how to lay out a gallery space, paying tribute to the work of individual artists while ultimately seeking to cultivate a larger atmosphere beyond any one piece. “It’s not a traditional installation where there’s one work or sculpture in the center,” she said of Natural Histories. “With this, I could create a whole natural environment: work hanging from the ceiling, work coming out of the walls and into the space.”

It took roughly two years to see Central Booking come to fruition, and Rosenberg does not regret the decision to forge ahead with the gallery’s opening despite the dicey economic climate. With plans to curate special web-based projects and to publish a book-art ‘zine by year’s end, she sees the medium’s future as full of possibilities. “From ‘zines to sculptural pieces to video art: It’s a very open arena,” Rosenberg said.
Central Booking, 111 Front St., Gallery 214 (betw. Washington & Adams Sts.), Brooklyn, 347-731-6559