British Museum Memoir 1997

Pamela Spitzmueller, British Museum Memoir, 1997; Gift of the United States Department of Education

British Museum Memoir is bound in a thin sheet of copper. This very light book derives a sense of volume and airiness from its crumpled-paper interior, yet it is surprisingly durable. Pamela Spitzmueller created this fragile and intimate book after a visit to London’s British Museum, where she was both inspired and frustrated by objects in the exhibition cases, which tantalize and invite the visitor but are never fully revealed.

Spitzmueller’s Memoir fascinates and invites the viewer, but the artist’s secret are never fully disclosed. The book underscores the private nature of Spitzmueller’s beautiful drawings, poetry, and confessional writings. “I am a kite caught in the tree, only revealed when the wind lifts and ruffles the leaves,” she proclaims on one of the pages.