The book (member of the genus liber) is neither flora nor fauna. As a species, it conveys art and information, reproduces asexually, inhabits virtually all regions, and is especially prevalent in libraries, bookstores and the homes of readers. The book’s plumage dazzles potential suitors with an array of colors, shapes and formats, including codices, scrolls, palm leafs and tablets. Chameleon-like by nature, the book can be realistic, fantastical or conceptual. It can speak for itself and others, soar like a bird, traffic in fiction or fact or remain stubbornly opaque. Bred chiefly by the writers and artists with whom they coexist, books are at their best comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Though often endangered, the book continues to thrive.
Miriam Schaer is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. She exhibits extensively and is represented in numerous public and private collections, including those at Yale’s Sterling Library, Florida Atlantic University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, Duke University, the Tate Gallery in London, and the University of California. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Schaer has also earned a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, inclusion in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for the Feminist Art Base at the Brooklyn Museum, and an artist residency at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt. Her series of works, Baby (Not) On Board: The Last Prejudice?, about societal bias against childless women, has been exhibited by the International Museum of Women. She is represented by the Central Booking Art Space in New York and Vamp and Tramp Booksellers in Birmingham, Alabama.