That is the question we hear a lot at the beginning of the new academic year as students explore Butler Library and end up here, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, aka “The Pink Palace.”
Is there difference between a “castle” and a “palace?”
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia’s principal repository for primary source collections. The range of collections in the RBML spans more than 4,000 years and includes rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; posters; art; comics & cartoons, and oral histories.
Forming the core of the collections: 500,000 printed books, 14 miles of manuscripts, personal papers, archives and records, and 10,000 (and counting) oral histories.
Tbilisi, Ilia Zdanevich’s hometown, became a haven for artists of all stripes during the Russian Civil War. In this multi-lingual environment where feuds among artistic schools had been suspended, Zdanevich worked out the principles of “mature” zaum and a corresponding approach to book design.
This exhibition, curated by Thomas J. Kitson, begins before the First World War with Zdanevich’s apprenticeship as a propagandist for the Larionov group in competition with Futurist rivals and proceeds through masterworks he designed and typeset as a founding member of 41°.
We include a selection of works by his brother and collaborator, Kirill, and a display of interconnected items associated with other poets, composers, and visual artists who frequented the Fantastic Tavern, center of Tbilisi artistic life between 1917 and 1920.
The exhibition is part of “Displacement and Display: The Ongoing Revolutions of Ilia Zdanevich,” a Global Humanities project led by Professor Valentina Izmirlieva (Slavic Department) and sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Humanities at Columbia University.
The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Bakhmeteff Archive of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Global Studies unit of Columbia University Libraries