Urgent Museum Notice

British Museum Memoir

Close up of British Museum Memoir

A book whose cover is made of copper is open and standing upright with its spine facing viewer. Three horizontal bands of wound copper wire extend the width of the accordion pleated spine. Crumpled paper comprises the pages of the book.

Pamela Spitzmueller, British Museum Memoir, 1997; Small-grid graph paper, colored pencil, ink, copper sheet, and copper wire, 4 1/2 x 7 3/8 x 4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase: United State Department of Education Fund; © Pamela Spitzmueller

British Museum Memoir
Pamela Spitzmueller

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.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Pamela Spitzmueller
  • Title

    British Museum Memoir
  • Date

  • Medium

    Colored pencil on graph paper, Copper sheet, Copper wire, Ink
  • Dimensions

    4 1/2 x 11 x 7 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of the United States Department of Education
  • Photo Credit

    © Pamela Spitzmueller
  • On Display