Blueprint for Counter Education










 “One of the most extraordinary books ever issued by an American commercial publisher,” Blueprint for Counter Education was designed as a portable, interdisciplinary learning environment for a new, politically-charged, process-based model of education. Originally issued by Doubleday in 1970, the publication consisted of three large posters and a “Shooting Script” and offered a fluid cosmology of radical thought and syncretic bibliography conceived in the classrooms of the sociologists Maurice Stein and Larry Miller and given form by the gifted designer Marshall Henrichs. In 2016 Blueprint was reissued in facsimile with an added booklet of reflections and interviews by Harvard’s Jeffrey T. Schnapp (VC’75) and the designer Adam Michaels, founder of the graphic design studio Project Projects, published by Michaels’ Inventory Press.

The Art Library editions of both the original issue of the publication and the reprint will be on view in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Focus Gallery, through October 2, 2017, courtesy of the Center, the Library, and the Creative Arts Across the Disciplines Initiative.

In addition there will be an Agnes Rindge Claflin Lecture by Jeffrey Schnapp and Adam Michaels about the publication and its contemporary relevance on Thursday September 28 at 5:30 in Taylor 203, followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibit in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

On the morning following the Lecture, Talking About Teaching will host a teach-in workshop for the Vassar community led by Jeffrey Schnapp and Adam Michaels beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Taylor 203 entitled: “BLUEPRINTING: PROJECTS FOR THE AFFIRMATION Of NEW EDUCATION,” supported by The Program for Teaching Development at Vassar College, the Tatlock Chair of Multidisciplinary Studies, and the Art and Media Studies Departments. Breakfast and Lunch will be included. 

A related exhibit of Adam Michaels’ work is on view in the Art Library main reading room entitled: “Inventory Press LLD and the Design of Contemporary Arts Publishing” September 27 through October 15.


Library Cafe 2017 Fall Season

The Library Cafe is a radio interview program broadcast Wednesdays at Noon during the academic year on WVKR (91.3FM) hosted by Vassar Art Librarian Thomas Hill.  Featured each week are conversations with authors, artists, curators, and librarians about books, exhibitions, libraries, and the formation and circulation of knowledge. The program begins for the 2017-18 academic year on Wednesday, September 20 at noon with an interview with author, pilot, and Vassar alumna Sally Van Wagenen Keil (VC ’68) on her narrative history of the Womens Air Service Pilots corps, Those Wonderful Women in Their Flying Machines.  Also featured on the roster for this semester are interviews with Vassar’s new President Elizabeth Bradley about her book The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Us Less (Public Affairs, 2015), Vassar Professors Molly Nesbit and Tobias Armborst (Midnight: The Tempest Essays; The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion), and an interview with the conceptual artist and art historian Michael Corris (Leaving Skull City: Selected Writings on Art).

Barbara Beisinghoff Residency


This autumn, as the Vassar campus begins to undergo its yearly change from leafy green Arcadia to the clear white light of Winter, it has undergone another transformation toward transparency through the energies of the internationally acclaimed graphic artist Barbara Beisinghoff.  Resident on campus with the filmmaker Eva Wal from September 19 to October 14, Barbara’s campus-wide installation, “When Light Touches Paper,” includes an exhibit of her artist’s books and prints that sprawl between the Van Ingen Art Library and Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.


It also includes the metamorphosis of campus trees, most notably the great London Plane tree on the Library Lawn, into “Poetrees” of couchéd paper fragments of texts from poets including Paul Celan and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Trained as an etcher, Beisinghoff’s work has evolved into a sculptural relationship with hand-made paper, upon which she inscribes watermark and water-jet-carved figures that can only be seen with backlighting.

Included in the Art Library portion of her exhibit is her “Room for a Clairvoyant.”  This is a space populated by semi-transparent prints with texts derived from the German novelist Christa Wolf’s 1983 novel Cassandra, based on the story of the tragic prophetess of Troy. The showcase of artists’ books in the reading room of the Art Library contains a series of imaginary books from Cassandra’s library, which include stories of contemporary emancipated women, for Beisinghoff explains that “such a wise woman, able to see across time, would have to have had a library.  Also included are “Tau Blau” or Dew Blue — a work whose paper is made out of flax grown on her estate near Hannover, and the biographical “Allmannigfaltige,” which features images of six of Goethe’s women inscribed into his color theory.


A film of Barbara’s stay on campus, “Wölbe Dich, Welt” = “Grow Vaulted, World” by Eva Wal is continuously showing in the Room for a Clairvoyant in the Art Library before Mid-Term week.

Barbara will give a gallery talk Thursday October 6 at 5:00 p.m., beginning in the Project Gallery of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

On Wednesday October 5 at noon on WVKR (91.3FM)  The Library Cafe, hosted by Art Librarian Thomas Hill, will feature a 45 minute interview with the artist about her artist’s books and etchings, installations and public commissions, and her residency at Vassar College.

On Tuesday October 11 at 5:00 p.m. in the Class of 1951 Reading Room in the Main Library Barbara Beisinghoff wil be participating in a symposium on artists’ books with artist Werner Pfeiffer, Women’s Studio Workshop executive and artist Ann Kalmbach, and Special Collections Librarian Ronald Patkus.  A reception will follow.

The residency of Barbara Beisinghoff and Eva Wal is sponsored by the Creative Arts Across the Disciplines initiative, a program funded with a grant from the Andrew W. Melon Foundation. The theme of this year’s residency is “touch.”

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Dancing, 2015. Barbara Beisinghoff. Waterjet and watermark drawings on handmade paper, 135 x 110 cm.


Poetree, Vassar College Library Lawn. Barbara Beisinghoff. Text by Paul Celan and other poets. Handmade couchéd paper on bark.