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Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” This atypical exhibition catalogue, its finely crafted wooden casing, and all of its accoutrements document and celebrate the art created during Andrew Ranville’s Walden-esque artist residency on an undeveloped 91-acre island. It’s a fitting contribution to the inheritance of generations and nations showcasing artwork that recalls Thoreau’s experiment in the woods. 



The DeVos Art Museum

Quantity Produced


Production Cost

Production Time

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

5 × 7 in

Page Count


Paper Stock

Neenah / Environment / Desert Storm / 80C

Number of Colors




Perfect Bound


Hoefler Text

This piece is available for purchase for $110


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Project Description

The DeVos Art Museum is presenting the first of an annual series of exhibitions in partnership with the newly established Rabbit Island artist in residence program. The 91-acre Island is located in Lake Superior off the Keweenaw Peninsula and has never been developed with the exception of a small log structure built by a fisherman in the 1800s.

After spending over a month on the island last summer, Michigan born and London-based artist Andrew Ranville will return to Rabbit Island to become the first official artist in residence, creating work for the exhibition at the DeVos Art Museum. The exhibition will contain photography, video, sculpture and sound recordings made by Ranville, giving a feel for what it might be like to spend an extended period of time on the island." – From the museum website.

Instead of producing a typical exhibition catalogue, we wanted to create a kit that better represented the artist, and the concept of the exhibition. The kit consists of a box (made to look like a book) that is CNC cut and laser engraved (the title of the show on the "spine" and the outline of the island on the front), an essay book containing four essays relating to the artist, USB containing sound recordings from the island, compass/match safe container with strike anywhere matches, a map of the island, an envelope containing 5 photograph postcards taken by the artist while staying on the island, and a pencil, to write your own observations in the "field notes" section of the essay book.

Production Lesson(s)

This was a great project that pushed all of our ideas of what an exhibition catalogue is. We are located in a very rural area of the Midwest -- Upper Peninsula of Michigan -- so it makes it difficult to get projects produced up here. Myself, the director of the museum, and the artist, felt it was important to support local businesses, but quickly found out that most of the objects we wanted in the kit were no longer being produced in our region, or no one had the capabilities to produce them. We are lucky that the museum is part of Northern Michigan University and were able to use the equipment in the School of Art and Design, so all of the wood used was cut and laser engraved at the school. Other than trying to find the right materials/objects used, the project went remarkably well and I attribute that to the continuous communication between myself, the museum director, and the artist, who were all very involved. The bulk of the work was done while the artist was staying on the island, which has no electricity or any form of communicating to the outside world, so he would take a boat, almost daily, to the mainland and discuss the project with us.”

Post Author

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Duncan Robertson

Former intern at UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

March 15, 2013


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UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Bloomington, IN. More…

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