An Art Ruckus


Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss

Exhibit C: Anthropocene Landscapes

Paintings by Zachary Skinner

On display in No.3 Reading Room’s windows July 8 – August 14, 2021
Second Saturday outdoor event with the artist, 2 – 6 pm, July 10
469 Main St. Beacon, NY 12508

EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss is a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction. A global coalition of artists and creators committed to shining a light on all forms of extractive industry—from mining and drilling to the reckless plundering and exploitation of fresh water, fertile soil, timber, marine life, and innumerable other resources across the globe— the Extraction Project will culminate in a constellation of nearly fifty overlapping exhibitions, performances, installations, site-specific work, land art, street art, publications, poetry readings, and cross-media events throughout 2021 and beyond.

No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works is participating as a venue in this “ruckus” by presenting projects by several artists working to shine this light through photography, printmaking, publications, installation, video and painting throughout summer and fall, 2021. For the month of July into August, re-scaled reproductions of Zachary Skinner’s original paintings will be on display in the reading room’s storefront windows as an outdoor exhibit. Of this work, Skinner says:

I attempt to represent human encounters with a damaged post-industrial landscape. The imagery draws from scientific realities about our present-day environment and impending threats to our existence on Earth. My primary concerns are the need to confront climate change, the polluting of our land, resource wars, and the displacement of disenfranchised peoples and whole ecosystems in the name of progress. My work illustrates that, when confronting these realities, the path to a sustainable future lies within our shared inner strength and creativity.

My paintings reflect my conceptual interest in the Anthropocene landscape and geo-engineering. Some recurring motifs in my work are invented structures that interact with sunlight, wind, and/or rainwater, as well as inhabited nomadic huts, all situated within a barren landscape. Along with portraying these structures, my work tells a narrative of the increasingly violent weather of climate change, and the technological sublime, to reflect on the dangerously dysfunctional interdependence of man and nature. I create paintings that flow freely between authenticity and parody, fetishized forms and flatness, the Romantic sublime and post-apocalypse, invention and destruction. -ZS

Also on view on Second Saturday only, original intaglio and relief prints from this series.

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About his work in printmaking, Skinner states:

Printmaking challenges me to instill precision and clarity onto the most fleeting, inexpressible aspect of my landscapes: changes in atmosphere, climate, and violence to the land. The inconsistencies I cause to the plate: scratches, slips, imperfections, give life to the landscape. My faults in the process of manipulating the ink, and the unique surfaces of each piece of paper breathe a bit of chaos, dust, and air into the land. 

Representing human encounters with a damaged post-industrial landscape, this body of work draws from concrete realities about our present day earth. Murray Bookchin writes about a split that happened between the Human and Nature, via the transition from Nomadic Life, into Societal Life. Could our environmentally destructive legacy of Pollution, Nature-domination, Environmental-Colonialism, and Neo-Liberalism have been avoidable? How might a person in this alternate timeline survive, and relate to the land?  I imagine this parallel story, where engineering, and surviving the harsh elements, is in the hands of a wandering nomad. Although the human figure isn’t present, we see life scenarios through inhabited spaces, and simplistic technologies to interact with the elements. Some mechanisms generate wind-power, hydro-power, or solar, and some are shelters with a duel function of collecting rainwater for plants and drinking. In the structures’ precariousness, and sometimes futility, they reflect on the fragile relationship between humanity and nature.

Printmaking is an inherently democratic medium. It makes sense that if art is meant to inspire change in this world, it needs to be accessible. Ideally, the economics of art could be for the greater good, but also sustainable for the artists and cultural institutions we love.

To that end, for each print purchased, a percentage goes to Earthjustice, a nonprofit fighting to protect the Earth in the courts. Chances are, if you support another environmental cause (for example the Sierra Club, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, or the Humane Society U.S.), Earthjustice is representing them in courts thanks to the contributions of eco-conscious donors. As a special initiative, in conjunction with Extraction, Photo Book Works and I will donate 20% of proceeds from the prints to Earthjustice, these prints will be available through August 9th. Prints may also be purchased by contacting 


An Art Ruckus

Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss

Exhibit B: Bethlehem Steel, Hudson River Industry, & the Union Electric Power Plant

Prints by Kyle Gallup

Bethlehem Steel

On display in No.3 Reading Room’s windows June 2 – July 6, 2021

Second Saturday outdoor event with artist, 3-7pm June 12

469 Main St., Beacon, NY 12508

EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss is a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction. A global coalition of artists and creators committed to shining a light on all forms of extractive industry—from mining and drilling to the reckless plundering and exploitation of fresh water, fertile soil, timber, marine life, and innumerable other resources across the globe— the Extraction Project will culminate in a constellation of nearly fifty overlapping exhibitions, performances, installations, site-specific work, land art, street art, publications, poetry readings, and cross-media events throughout 2021and beyond.

No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works is participating as a venue in this “ruckus” by presenting projects by several artists working to shine this light through photography, printmaking, publications, installation, video and painting throughout summer and fall, 2021. For the month of June into July, rescaled reproductions of Kyle Gallup’s original litho prints will be on display in the reading room’s storefront windows as an outdoor exhibit. Of her work, Kyle states:

In the 1990’s through the early 2000’s I worked on a series of paper lithographic transfer prints that were one-part documentary and one-part painterly expression of disappearing industrial sites I was seeing on trips through the Northeast and the Midwest. The series began as a way to capture big, built forms in the environment. 

While working on this series, human backstories emerged. The day my husband and I photographed the Bethlehem Steel plant—the images I’d use in the printmaking process—we hadn’t realized that the plant had closed only weeks before. We were with our son, a toddler at the time. The laid-off employees and their families were out on their porches in town holding garage sales to generate cash. We spoke with them about their difficult situations—being out of jobs that they had held for years. There was much uncertainty and anxiety. Our son was given a stuffed animal that he happened to see in a box with a lot of other toys. The seller insisted on giving it to him and wouldn’t take any money from us. 

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where my father was a civil engineer.  I made prints of the Union Electric Power Plant on the Mississippi River, using his job site photos from a floodwall project along the river in the 1970s. The plant had powered the “Palace of Electricity” during the 1904 World’s Fair, which brought my great-grandmother’s family to St. Louis at the turn of the century. On weekends, my dad would take the whole family to the river where the job was in progress. The floodwall was constructed to protect the power plant as well as the downtown. The nature of the printmaking process creates a disintegration of the plate and because of this, the Union Electric Power Plant looks more like a large steamboat on the river. The plant was originally coal-fired, changing over to oil in 1972, then to natural gas in 1996. -K.G.

Kyle’s images were taken in the 1990’s as the basis for photo-litho prints which are reproduced and resized for this display. Kyle grew up a short drive away from the industrialized stretch of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, and has lived near the Hudson River in New York City for decades. Both rivers have been used for industrial sewage, coal fired power plant and factory sites and the transport of industrial materials by barges. Some of these structures have been demolished, some remain. It’s a reminder of how nature is perceived by industrialists and capitalists who believed it’s for the taking by those most willing to put it into “highest and best use.” To them, unspoiled natural sites were seen as wastelands available for such purposes, which often meant development supposedly serving a “greater good” that made them wealthy while polluting our air, water and earth for decades.

Our country is filled with such sites and many ecological battles have been waged over them. Many have been the source of illness and premature death of residents in low-income areas and communities of color. Environmental racism is a well documented by-product of the extractive industries. One such fight happening right now in NY is the re-opening of the nearby Dansakammer power plant on the Hudson River for so-called “clean” energy. A decision will be made soon about the fate of this site.

Meanwhile, we watch as new “green” economies turn to mining metals such as lithium for e-car batteries out West. What new monstrosities and poisons will be unleashed in the race to improve our atmosphere and climate? When capitalism calls the shots about the direction of change, we can be sure that underlying their motives is greed. New zones are now under contract for mining tech metals, so we’re only trading one form of poison for another. It just depends on what they’re willing to sacrifice, what we’re willing to accept. There are no easy answers, yet it appears that the dominant voices of industrialists still control the “solutions” that are rapidly being determined in the new “green” economies. I have yet to hear a word from those in power about conservation, less consumption, re-use and repair, mass transit solutions and alternative technologies for batteries. It always falls to individuals to hold industry and the government to account as citizens and as consumers. This is on top of the already challenging work of day-to-day survival. We are becoming exhausted and this is what perpetuates the cycle.

In two or three decades, the middle years for today’s school-aged children, they will be contending with yet another extractive industry’s pollution for metals required for our tech and e-vehicles. Must poisoned earth and water be the tradeoff for cleaner air? In our rush to stop climate change are we overlooking the earth’s surfaces that we also depend on for life? We need holistic solutions to stopping the climate chaos causing 90-degree days in May in northern states and extreme drought across the planet. Ask those with water shortages how they feel about fracking or mining. We must not abide new sacrifice zones. They are not the answer. I am so grateful to all those who are working to find better solutions to heal our planet before it’s too late.

Kyle and I both have fathers who worked on such sites; hers as a civil engineer who always weighed in with his father, also a civil engineer, about what he saw as necessary regarding environmental concerns and often disagreed with the plans of the Army Corp of Engineers. My father was a machinist in a factory near the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN who struggled with the dangers and pollution inherent in his work. Both he and his father, a railroad worker, died from industrially acquired cancers. Kyle and I are certain, that if our fathers and grandfathers were still with us in this time, they would be would be putting their talents to use on behalf of a sustainable planet. Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren are engaged in this work in the hope that our children and grandchildren will be able to abide in a time of healing and repair of our home on Earth. -PMR

Kyle Gallup is an American artist living in New York City. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, instilled in her a love of the prairie and wide-open spaces.  As a painter she traverses the line between known and invented landscapes. She has developed an intuitive approach to her work that combines observation, experience, and memory. She received a BFA from Tufts University and the Boston Museum School. In 2019 she was invited to be the first international resident at Colart and Winsor & Newton Paints in London, UK, where she experimented with the historic paint company’s new line of environmentally friendly Cadmium-free watercolors. She has shown her work in the US, Canada, and Britain. Her work is in private and corporate collections, including Robert Blackburn’s print collection in the Library of Congress.

Hudson River Decaying Piers

Union Electric Power Plant, St. Louis, Missouri

Hudson River Transfer Station Relic

Union Electric Power Plant, St. Louis, Missouri
The Megazine

Also available for viewing and purchase is the Extraction project’s Megazine exhibition guide that includes writing and artwork by participating artists and organizations serving as sites for this global art ruckus.

Please visit to learn more.


An Art Ruckus

Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss

Exhibit A: Walking the Watershed by Ronnie Farley

Schoharie Reservoir, Gilboa, NY

EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss is a multimedia, multi-venue, cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction. A global coalition of artists and creators committed to shining a light on all forms of extractive industry—from mining and drilling to the reckless plundering and exploitation of fresh water, fertile soil, timber, marine life, and innumerable other resources across the globe—the Extraction Project will culminate in a constellation of nearly fifty overlapping exhibitions, performances, installations, site-specific work, land art, street art, publications, poetry readings, and cross-media events throughout 2021 and beyond.

No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works is participating as a venue in this “ruckus” by presenting projects by several artists working to shine this light through photography, printmaking, publications, installation, video and painting. The first in this series of exhibits will be Walking the Watershed, a photo installation and book by the photographer and writer Ronnie Farley, who was featured here in November. Ronnie’s devotion to the issues of sustainability of life in a time of hyper-capitalism, colonialism and global climate chaos caused her to ponder the system that provides and delivers water to the millions of people living in NYC. Beginning in April, 2019, Ronnie collected water in a covered bucket with friends at the Schoharie reservoir in upstate New York and began a series of walks down to Manhattan, following the Catskill aqueduct route. The 150 mile trek took months. During this journey, Ronnie documented the route of the water and the people along the way in still and video formats, to be produced as a book and short film. Through the act of walking with the water, it is Ronnie’s hope to raise awareness of the distance New York’s water supply has to travel, and create a dialog about the rural/urban relationship regarding resources and economic stability.

Photographs from Walking the Watershed will be on display beginning in April on the second anniversary of the start of her walk, since which time, we entered the long period of the Covid-19 pandemic. This installation will take place in the windows once again when the weather has eased, for viewing from the sidewalk. There are limited copies of the Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss Megazine catalog and exhibition guide, that can be acquired by request for pick-up during the exhibition period at no cost beginning in April. The book version of Walking the Watershed is slated for publication in Spring, 2021. Please follow this blog for updates.

Meanwhile, more about the Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss project can be viewed here:

You can view Ronnie Farley’s Walking the Watershed project here:


Earth Keepers: Native Portraits


Photographs by Ronnie Farley

No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works
469 Main St., Beacon, NY
 September 14 – November 9, 2020

Five Generations and Scouts are on view in the storefront windows.

The reading room remains closed until further notice, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 




Five generations of the Tso-Wilson family faced with relocation at Big Mountain, on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, 1986



Scouts, Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride, Centennial of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1990



Mae Tso, Diné cleans wool from her sheep for rug weaving at her home in Big Mountain on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, 1986(Navajo)

Mae Tso, Diné, cleans wool from her sheep for rug weaving at her home in Big Mountain on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, 1986



Leota Lone Dog Lakota, Mohawk, Delaware

Leota Lone Dog Lakota, Mohawk, Delaware, Washington Square Park, NYC



Mary and Carrie Dann, Western ShoshoneCrescent Valley, Nevada, 1992

Mary and Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone, Crescent Valley, Nevada, 1992



Esther Yazzie before speaking about uranium mining on Navajo lands, at the Indigenous Uranium Conference at the United Nations, 1989

Esther Yazzie before speaking about uranium mining on Navajo lands, at the Indigenous Uranium Conference at the United Nations, 1989



Women at Standing Rock, S.D (?)

Winona LaDuke, Pura Fe Cresconi, Jennifer Kreisberg, and her son Wakinyan sing to Winona’s horse after her trek from Minnesota to Standing Rock, North Dakota during the pipeline protest, 2016



About the Portraits

The portraits on view are selections from Ronnie Farley’s book Women of the Native Struggle, 1993. This body of work began in 1985 through her activism and engagement with the Diné (as the Navajo call themselves) in an area of northern Arizona called Big Mountain, where thousands of Diné were being forced from their lands for a federal national energy policy that had been developed decades before. This land was determined to be a “National Sacrifice Area” by the U.S. Department of Energy in order to extract coal and uranium from the site. Spearheading many of the fights against these policies were women, including those who refused to give up their flocks of sheep to allow for the mining that was slated for their lands. Like the Earth, they would not move.

It was this resistance by the Diné women and many other women from a multitude of tribal communities across the country that moved Farley to make portraits of these leaders. Their devotion and stewardship of the land that permits these nature-based Indigenous peoples to survive became the central focus of this book, which is being updated with two decades of new material for a new edition titled Earth Keepers, for publication in Fall, 2021.

In this time of reckoning with racist injustice, it’s important to put into view the Indigenous women who have struggled against sexist, racist and genocidal policies for centuries. These women are the survivor-daughters of survivor-daughters. They are little-known and set upon with stereotypes, forced assimilation and the destructive pathologies of a people subjected to wars and governmental policies to remove them from their lands, remove them from their culture and remove their identity in order to “save them.” This is the very definition of genocide.

All American immigrants, regardless of national origin, race, or time of arrival, have either participated in, or benefited from the genocide of the original inhabitants of this country. Indigenous peoples who were here many millennia before European contact, who had a multitude of languages, cultures and life ways were overtaken by colonialism, a strictly capitalist enterprise of greed and racist attitudes that justified the exploitation and genocide of Indigenous people and the natural resources they depended upon for their survival. Slavery is often called the “Original Sin” of the United States, but the genocide and forced removal of Native peoples from their lands paved the way.

The current Federal government is still in conflict with many tribes over land and treaties. Many local and state governments still attempt to alter or rescind them. Hundreds of treaties have been broken without proper or sufficient reparations given for what was taken. There is still much work to do to address this horrific chapter in the founding of the United States. There is a need to recognize and rectify the damage done to a multiplicity of people across this nation and this must be a part of the reckoning of these times. To ignore it is to perpetuate it. Native Lives Matter, because the survival of all life hangs on the balance of Native Wisdom and the unbroken connection to the Mother of us all – Earth.   –PMR & RF

 “E is for Earth, A is for Animals, R is for Respect, T is for Trees, H is for Home—what the Earth is.”                                                                                                           –Star Trudell, Cree, age 9

Earth E is for Earth A is for Animals R is for respect T is for Trees H is for Home—that the Earth is. Star Cree Age 9

Joanie Dragavon with Star Trudell at the Big Mountain support house in Flagstaff, Arizona 1986



About the Artist

Ronnie Farley is an award-winning fine-art and editorial photographer whose published works include; Women of the Native Struggle: Portraits and Testimony of Native American Women (Crown), Cowgirls: Contemporary Portraits of the American West (Crown/ Thunder’s Mouth Press), Diary of a Pedestrian: A New York Photo Memoir (Third Eye Press), New York Water Towers (KMW studio) and Ghost Plane (Third Eye Press).

Farley’s work has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is included in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York, The National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, The Nicolaysen Museum in Casper, Wyoming, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth Texas, and the Kultur Bodensee in Salem, Germany. Her images have appeared in Rolling Stone, USA Today, Sierra Magazine, Western Horseman and The Sunday Times of London. In addition to her own photography, Ronnie Farley’s career includes working for the Associated Press in New York City over a span of twenty years as a photographer, a photo librarian, and a national photo editor. Farley lives in Beacon. You can see her work at:

We include here a message of hope and inspiration from artist, activist and Earth Keeper Buffy St. Marie:

Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte Marie, Toronto, 2009

Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte Marie, Cree, before her concert in Quebec, 2009


Different Ways to Talk

Slippage as Form

Visual Poems by Edwin Torres


No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works
469 Main St., Beacon, NY
July 7 – September 10, 2020


Top: Slippage 4a [tell me how to]   Slippage 5c [we’re doing the best that we can]
Bottom: Slippage 7a [in isolation i found creation]   Slippage 3b [we move to re]


Despite the phased reopening of businesses in New York, No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works will remain closed for the time being. But as it’s summer, with many folks out-and-about, Beacon’s Main Street is coming back to life at last, so I felt it was time to reactivate the reading room by installing the visual poetry of Edwin Torres in the storefront’s windows as 17×22″ archival pigment prints.

I’ve admired and followed Edwin’s work for many years and had scheduled an exhibit of his work for earlier in spring, but like many things, this had to be postponed. However, the storefront windows are a perfect place to present these dynamic poems that Edwin calls “Slippages” which are the visual corollaries to his spoken word poetry that employs sound and vocalizing as much as meaning and language. Edwin’s performative work as a poet from the Nuyorican diaspora, accompanied by his visual graphic work within the tradition of Concrete Poetry and Asemic Writing, situates Edwin in a rare and remarkable place. He excels in both forms, flowing from one to the other, cross-referencing the literal, the aural and the visual. These are not separate bodies of work, but a hybridity of forms in an ongoing dialogue that results in new possibilities for insight. Of his visual poetry, Edwin writes:

These pieces are about the dynamics of human connection, using the alphabet as a form for making new realms. I’m interested in our seventh sense; consciousness, connected to the etheric body, that subtle body hovering over the physical body—the slippage between realms as a form for language—the spaces between the immediate and the known, a negative/positive dynamic that sets root in language.

What happens to how we talk with each other, as we enter the world we inhabit—our perceived form? Can we look at the world we’ve made for ourselves and notice the slippage between the senses—our seeing-hearing-talking voice? Where, in there, can we discover our basic survival skills; how to be, how to learn, how we’re doing?

By stripping away imagery to its core reception, dynamic landscapes of space and volume are offered as totems of incomplete mobility, etheric possibility—no answers here, no stopping. In using the graphic shapes of the marks we grew up with, of gestures we’ve embodied, can the alphabet we know evoke new talking, in ways beyond the poem, beyond the visual? Or maybe we need to understand each other first, before something new can start?


PBW_slippage3 copy2blur Ba_12             Slippage 3g [i want you to read me]

2020_slippageBW6 copy1
Slippage 7b [in isolation i found creation]


PBW_slippage3 copy2blur Ea
Slippage 3e [tight blur]


PBW_slippage3 copy18
Slippage 2b [the effort to remain ambiguous]
PBW_slippages6 copy6
Slippage 6b [the purposeful invention of desire


PBW_slippage3 copy2blur A
Slippage 3b [night blur]
PBW_slippages6 copy14
Slippage 6c [the purposeful invention of desire]


2020_slippageBW2             Slippage 4d [shout shot]


All images are available for purchase as archival pigment prints. 
Please contact photobookworks@gmail for further information.


About the Artist:

Edwin Torres is the author of 9 books of poetry including, XoeteoX: the infinite word object (Wave Books), Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press), The PoPedology of an Ambient Language (Atelos Books), and is editor of the inter-genre anthology, The Body In Language: An Anthology (Counterpath Press). Anthologies where his work appears include, Fractured Ecologies, Who Will Speak For America, American Poets In The 21st Century: Poetics Of Social Engagement, In/Filtration: A Hudson Valley Salt Line, Postmodern American Poetry Vol. 2, Kindergarde: Avant Garde Poems For Children, and Aloud: Voices From The Nuyorican Poets Café.

Edwin is a lingualisualist; rooted in sight and sound, and has performed his multi-disciplinary bodylingopoetics worldwide. Fellowships include, NYFA, PEN America, The Foundation for Contemporary Art, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and The DIA Arts Foundation. He has exhibited his visual text at Chicago’s Center For Book Arts, in an exhibition entitled “Poesis: A Visual Language,” and was part of The Drawing Center’s “Open Studios” residency in NYC, where he first developed his slippage forms.

He has created/destructed/emerged with a wide range of collaborators, including locally as Sowndhauz, an electro-lingo duo with Matt Harle on sownd. Edwin has always explored the boundaries of form and presentation, of his work, Eleni Sikelianos says, “There are experimental poets, Torres may be the experiment.”


This summer, Edwin is giving a virtual workshop through The Liminal Lab entitled, “Feel Recordings: Hearing The Voice Of The Body.”


To order books by Edwin Torres, visit Small Press Distribution:


Edwin Torres is a resident of Beacon, NY and his bio can be viewed here:






What’s Going On?

Millions March, NYC 12-13-2014

Day of Anger Millions March, NYC December 13, 2014, photo by Paulette Myers-Rich






Minnesota Center for Book Arts Justice for George Community Print Project, letterpress printed broadside in response to the murder of George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Read more about this poster and download a copy here:

Black Lives Matter formed in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2013. The following year, on December 13, 2014, the Day of Anger Millions March was organized as a national response to recent police deaths, including that of Eric Garner, who officers accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” were tragically echoed on the streets of Minneapolis, by George Floyd, five and a half years later on May 25, Memorial Day, 2020. The police were called by a store clerk, claiming Floyd was trying to pass a fake $20 bill.

My home-place is Minneapolis-St. Paul. I was born and raised in St. Paul, as was my father and my children. My grandmother, in Minneapolis, just off Lake Street and Cedar, where the recent riots burned out hundreds of cultural, educational and economic assets of this diverse community. Both cities are multi-generational home-places for me and I have seen much injustice in both cities over my six decades. It is not for lack of trying to make change. Indeed, St. Paul has had more success with police reform than Minneapolis for various reasons, but Minneapolis has remained intractable.

So, after many, many instances of police brutality in a city located in “flyover land,” I never thought I’d see George Floyd’s murder result in such a massive, global uprising. Floyd’s murder clearly isn’t the first time we’ve experienced it there since 2013. There were 18 days of protests in front of the police station in North Minneapolis after the death of Jamar Clark by police shooting in 2015. The shooting death of St. Paul resident Philando Castile in 2016 by a suburban cop, livestreamed by his girlfriend on Facebook, made national news and his murder brought thousands out into the streets of MSP, also for weeks. Freeways were frequently occupied and shut down by demonstrators and hundreds sat in front of the governor’s mansion, as they did last week. So learning of Floyd’s murder through hometown friends and media sources was a sadly familiar news story for me, coinciding with the recent murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and countless others since the “Day of Anger Millions March” in 2014, pictured above.

Yet, today we find ourselves in the midst of ongoing global demonstrations and marches during a deadly global pandemic disproportionately affecting Black and Brown people, who despite the dangers of exposure, are out in daily protest. Their righteous anger over far too many police killings with no accountability is joined by allies worldwide in recognition that the murders have escalated, not abated. Demands for accountability and immediate change are in response to the long-time resistance for reform by the police, and the ongoing killings that are accepted by this nations’ racist institutions going all the way to the top.

Despite years and years of ongoing protest, there still has been no justice for those who just want to go about their day without the threat of death by militarized police forces and the so-called justice system. As is said, no one is free while others are oppressed and it is once more that the streets are full of people who are demanding change. I stand with them, as do two of my beloved book art organizations I want to present here, in thanks and support of their endeavors.

Book arts centers are sites of social change and empowerment for those who have not been permitted by gatekeepers to speak up. Because of these centers, I’ve thrived as an artist and as an individual. They’ve inspired and empowered me to open my artist-run reading room in Beacon, paying it forward in a modest way by featuring the work of a wide array of artists and poets and continuing to print books for writers I admire, while making my personal work.

MCBA/Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis, is also a home-place for me. It’s been a cultural organization that has nurtured thousands of young people over their 35 years. MCBA gives young people the tools, the skills, the mentoring, the funds and the platform to raise their voices using printmaking and the book arts as vehicles for expression and sharing. They have been printing, displaying and handing out the letterpress printed broadside in honor of George Floyd you see here on this page.

I’ve also been a long-time member of the CBA/Center For Book Arts, in NYC and had the pleasure of taking classes there as well as participating in exhibits and fundraisers. The CBA is also a site for empowerment of marginalized voices and is fundraising through sales of their broadsides featuring the work of Black poets they’ve published over the years.

I also want to mention the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, here in the Hudson Valley. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to visit or work there, former students have and it’s made a major difference in their development. It’s been a center of empowerment for women through the book arts for decades.

I’ve never shied-away from speaking up or printing books on matters of social justice and I won’t be silent now. Reading Room book funds have been spent on new acquisitions in support of these efforts, as well as being diverted to support direct action on behalf of cultural organizations in MSP that need to be rebuilt after being destroyed. And there are many small press and artist-made books and zines on social justice topics in the Reading Room’s archives that will be available by appointment once I reopen after the Covid crisis is over. This is a safe space for anyone wanting to read and learn more from these works.

So, in honor of all those who work on behalf of justice for Black lives, please know my hands are never idle, my shelves are full of books that may now be hard to find and I continue to work towards a deeper understanding of how to bring about lasting change. That there are so many beloved people who were killed by racist, militarized police for far too long is a crime crying out for justice. We all must do our part. My part here is to send you to places I know that have a long-time mission of social justice through art education, with their own projects giving direct aid to the impacted communities and for the individuals who are out in the streets, while continuing the mission of supporting marginalized voices. Black lives matter.   -PMR





Sun / Sill


A Selection of Sun Drawings by Rosaire Appel


No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Work’s physical site in Beacon closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak on February 29th. In retrospect I’m very relieved that I did so, although at the time I was thinking, perhaps I’m being too cautious, as I was offering visitors hand sanitizer so they could handle books without concern. As it turns out, there was no way to sustain this. As it turns out, being in such intimate proximity with others, looking over a shoulder at book pages, or sitting beside one another sharing space in this way was quite dangerous and we didn’t yet know how bad it was to become. And now, here in mid-May, here in NY, we are still waiting for the time when it’s safe to resume.

I set up No.3 Reading Room as a site where readers can experience handling limited-edition, handmade and innovative book projects by artists and small, independent presses that are not widely found in traditional bookstores or galleries. The exhibits integrate books, works on paper, photography and poetry in installations that encourages visitors to spend time holding, reading and exploring these selections. So, now in the time of social distancing and sheltering at home, the physical has given way to the virtual. That makes it impossible to experience many of the works on display and in the archives in the way they are intended. Yet there is also a great deal of material that I can share that works well online.

As a case in point, in the recent exhibit Reach, A Selection of Drawings and Artist’s Books by Rosaire Appel, several unique books from her Sound Pages series were available to be handled. The forms and materials activated work that was designed not just for the eye, but for hands, ears and nose. Pages are not simply a surface or conveyor of information, but are a significant part of the content, offering a sensational, interactive experience to the reader. To show an image of a page or a spread online is to sever the piece from it’s context in such a way that it denies the viewer any real sense of it, and it denies the work its complexity. Some things must be experienced in person. Rosaire’s books are made to be handled. The exhibit title Reach implies this and she rewards the viewer’s effort to be present in a most satisfying way. I so enjoyed watching visitors slowly turning the pages, remarking about how satisfying the sound, how soft the feel, how full it felt in their hand. And I miss this very much. Sharing space and objects in this intimate way is a deeply meaningful experience. And I am sad that I had to cut short what was to be a two-month long exhibit with a presentation by Rosaire in late March at the closing of her show. 

However, Rosaire is a prolific, adventurous artist who uses all manner of tools to capture the world as she experiences it. I’ve seen her near daily sun / sill images online the last few months and invited Rosaire to present them here in place of her physical works. These are meant for the screen and are delightful to look at in a dark time. They are no less substantial than her physical work. They exist thanks to the sun, to binary code, to the magic of the virtual and to Rosaire’s tremendous vision and sense of play. They are perfect for this moment. Below is her statement about this body of work that I am so honored to share in celebration of a truly inspiring and generous artist. Many thanks Rosaire, for bringing in the light.  -PMR


Sun / Sill




In mid-January the sun comes in the window of my study at a particular angle in the morning, briefly. This happens every year. There’s a ledge directly in front of the window and anything put there immediately exhales its shadow.  By May the sun’s hour of arrival has shifted, and its light has acquired a glare that lasts all summer. Thus this light situation is temporary – which makes me work quickly and without a lot of calculation. Work? It is more like play: there is no goal. Put something in the sun and see how it is transformed. It’s a game that started over 10 years ago. In those early sessions I used small objects  (miniature bottles, hardware, plant-life, pins). Then at some point I came across some Lee filters from my photographic days – these are 1”x 3” strips of colored acetate, every color you can imagine. The color shadows were truly delicious – and the simple strips, creased once or twice to stand upright, pushed the compositions toward architecture.

This year  I discovered a cache of  my ‘negatives’ from the 1990s. These are 3×4” laser prints and drawings on acetate. In the darkroom, I would slip them into the enlarger and project light through them onto light-sensitive paper. Much of this series involved line-screens and moire patterns, but I also drew on the acetate. I experimented with this for several years. Few of the results survived but several notebooks of ‘negatives’ did, and this year I began re-using them.

I think of this sun-inspired activity as practicing, the way a musician practices, but visually. Some of the things I come up with influence other projects, sometimes in ways that I don’t recognize until years later.

As the sun moves out of range each year I feel I’ve had enough and sort of resolve that the project has ended. But so far, every year when that shaft of sun inches into the room some object catches my attention and the interrogation begins anew.  -Rosaire Appel, 2020













Closed for Now…

RR #1 12x12 print @20

Like many other organizations that are cancelling or postponing events, No.3 Reading Room will be closed until further notice in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Please email if you have any questions, and check back for updates on when we will reopen. Thanks for your patience and stay well.