Karen Hanmer

Artists' Books & Installation

Gallery: History & Culture

New Work History & Culture Sculptural & Movable Book Structure Modelse Toys & Games Science & Technology Place/Time Altered Bindings Civics Lessons Photo-Based Work Archive Thrifty Picks

Title: To Serve and Protect

To Serve and Protect

To Serve and Protect


To Serve and Protect: Containers, conveyances, and cosmic happenings | 2014

(view additional page spreads here)

Deluxe $350
Chapbook $60

Pigment inkjet prints on Mohawk Superfine. 32 pages. Edition of 100. 7 x 5 x .25”

Deluxe: Sewn Boards binding, covered in full, custom psychedelic marbled paper by Pamela Smith, Bugra double folio endsheets. Presented in slipcase with marbled paper accent, numbered 1-40.
Chapbook: Pamphlet in inkjet-printed, flower power paper wrapper by the artist, numbered 41-100.

To Serve and Protect: Containers, conveyances, and cosmic happenings began as a response to the theme “vessel.” Vehicles, containers for food, and other period receptacles provide a framework for the artist’s musings on life in the 1960s and 1970s. Ostensibly about banal period items such as the wicker-wrapped chianti bottle, electric frying pan and Chevy Nova, thirteen micro essays touch on Vietnam, fashion, the Cold War, cuisine, the economy, the women’s liberation movement, and other issues reflecting Americans’ perseverance, and our often misguided quest for peace and stability.


Karen Hanmer has done it once again with "To Serve and Protect". Combining just the right amount of humor, history, culture, social critique and personal narrative, Hanmer tells us how over a dozen objects from the 1960s and 1970s shaped not only her life but that of an entire generation. Each item—the crock pot, microwave oven, Apollo Lunar Module, Chevy II and the mood ring—tells its own little story. Each story is full of cultural references, societal history as well a personal vignette. All of this and more, bound in a psychedelically elegant little volume that looks like it could have come from the time of which she speaks.

Eric Alstrom, book arts instructor and Head of Conservation & Preservation, Michigan State University Libraries