|Richard Minsky is the foremost American exponent of modern bookbinding as the art of amplification of the book, container of language and ideas, an art other than its own material form. He dramatizes the physical presence of the book by inventing its narrative image and its metaphor. By visually exteriorizing its inner life, Minsky enlarges the scope and meanings of the book.|
~ Rose Slivka
After seven years studying operations analysis, profit maximization and the history of economic thought, Richard directed his energy into bookbinding, where his radical work revolutionized a field that was bound in tradition. He expanded into fine art publishing, producing museum quality limited editions with other artists and writers, as well as writing and illustrating his own books. This was an extension of the printing business he had started at the age of thirteen, with a small hand press and a few cases of type.
In Richmond Hill High School Richard was the photographer for Domino, the school newspaper, and designed the cover for Nucleus, the Science publication. He kept up the printing business through college, and while in graduate school at Brown University (in Economics) he discovered Daniel Gibson Knowlton, the master bookbinder, in the basement of the Rockefeller Library.
In 1970 Richard was awarded the contract as bookbinder to the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1971 he was hired as the museum's photographer, and photographed over 2,000 paintings and sculptures. He started painting and drawing. This exposure to handling fine art, combined with his interest in bookmaking, inspired him to produce books as works of art.
Minsky was awarded the US/UK Bicentennial Fellowship in 1978, becoming the first book artist to represent America in an international cultural exchange. In 1992 he was the subject of a CNN feature at the time of his 25-year Retrospective Exhibition at HarperCollins. As a teacher he has presented lectures and workshops across the USA, Europe and Africa.
In 1974 Richard Minsky founded the Center for Book Arts, the first not-for-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the art of the contemporary book through exhibitions presented in the context of the public Artists' Workspace, with classes and workshops in all aspects of bookmaking (papermaking, printing, binding, concepts, etc.), and to documenting developments through conferences and publications. Artists and artisans are brought together to enhance each other's instincts and talents. During the 30 years since it began, the Center has mounted over 150 exhibitions showing more than 3,500 artists' works, published exhibition catalogs which have become essential references in the field, and trained thousands of students with a faculty of 40 outstanding professionals. Since 1974, many independent organizations and college based programs based on this model have been established across the USA and abroad.
Richard also composes music and plays the violin, dances the Tango, and fences sabre.