Special Collections will host a unique art exhibit in the Reading Room, entitled Bags of America by Wake Forest Art Professor, Leigh Ann Hallberg, which begins on August 17, 2015. This installation features an “artist’s book” of cereal bag drawings titled, Bags of America and an installation of actual cereal bags in the Rare Book Room’s vitrines. The title page for Hallberg’s book was printed on the ZSR Library letterpress. Hallberg has created other drawings of cereal bags using a variety drawing surfaces (mylar, vellum, and board) and drawing media (ink, gesso, graphite). All of these drawings can be viewed on her website.
“Bags of America” is a large, handmade, artist’s book containing a suite of twelve drawings of cereal bag liners. Professor Leigh Ann Hallberg created it as an extension of a series of smaller drawings of the same subject and in response to John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” and the heft of his double-elephant folio work.
Although “Bags of America” shares Audubon’s interest in careful observation, its subject–the detritus of our everyday lives, has a beauty of its own, but will also remind visitors of the impact of the consumer-celebrity culture in which we all participate.
Wake Forest Art History Professor John Curley wrote about the smaller drawings that preceded these: “Through her repeated graphic variations of a plastic cereal bag, Hallberg’s work shows the surprising interchangeability of the ordinary and transcendent. Hallberg chose to draw cereal bags, as if to suggest the daily and mundane nature of this fundamental act of visual representation. Each is a cereal bag, as well as consciously a graphic translation of that bag into an image. These are exercises in perception, a daily dose of de-familiarizing a plastic bag.”