A Cool Yule Christmas Concert with The Light Crust Doughboys

You’re invited to attend A Cool Yule Christmas Concert

with The Light Crust Doughboys


Thursday, December 15 at 7pm at Perkins Chapel on the SMU campus.

Join us for a reception at Bridwell Library after the concert.

The concert and reception are free and open to the public.

We hope to see you there!




Video of Lecture: Celebrating the Danse Macabre with Kahn & Selesnick

Bridwell Library and SMU’s Department of Art History welcomed the collaborative artist team Kahn & Selesnick to campus September 21–23 for a number of public events around the opening of Bridwell’s autumn 2022 exhibition, Lead Stealing the Danse Macabre: Changing Roles & Identities in the Modern Dance of Death.

View Bridwell’s current exhibition online or in person at Bridwell’s Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries. The exhibition will remain open until December 16, 2022.

The Bridwell Quarterly Summer 2022 & The Bridwell Quill Issues 47–49

Please enjoy “Of Antiques and Mindfulness” issues 47–49 of Anthony Elia’s newsletter The Bridwell Quill along with Issue 16 of Bridwell Library’s The Bridwell Quarterly (Summer 2022).

If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at mried@smu.edu. Happy reading!

Celebrating the Danse Macabre with Kahn & Selesnick 

Visit Bridwell’s Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries
Exhibition open from September 12–December 16, 2022


Meet Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, the gallery’s featured artists at Bridwell’s Celebrating the Danse Macabre event.

Bridwell Library and SMU’s Department of Art History welcome the collaborative artist team Kahn & Selesnick to campus September 21–23 for a number of public events around the opening of Bridwell’s autumn 2022 exhibition, Lead Stealing the Danse Macabre: Changing Roles & Identities in the Modern Dance of Death 

  • Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick will present on their collaborative process and the range of visionary artworks produced over the span of their career on Wednesday, September 21, 5:30-7:00 in Prothro Hall’s Great Hall (sponsored by the Department of Art History). RSVP Requested. 
  • Bridwell Library will host a hands-on show-and-tell with the artists, Thursday, September 22, 10:00 am—noon in the Benefactors Room. Space is limited. RSVP Required. **Only 20 seats available!
  • Everyone is welcome to the official opening of Bridwell’s exhibition, Thursday, September 22, 5:30-7:00. We are thrilled to host Kahn & Selesnick as the featured speakers, addressing several of their recent works prominently featured in the exhibition. These include 100 Views of the Drowning World, Madam Lulu’s Book of Fate, Dr. Falke’s Oraculum, The Carnival at the End of the World, and four panoramic Danse Macabre photographs. This evening’s events will take place in Bridwell Library’s Blue Room, Gill Hall, and Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries. Refreshments will be served. RSVP Requested. 



Biography: Kahn & Selesnick  

Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick are a collaborative artist team who have been working together since they met while attending art school at Washington University in St. Louis in the early 1980s. Both were born in 1964, in New York City and London respectively. They work primarily in the fields of photography and installation art, specializing in fictitious histories set in the past or future.   These may include: documentary-style panoramic and square photographs that combine absurdist fantasy and bogus anthropology; elaborately crafted artifact, costumes and sculpture, often constructed of unlikely materials such as bread or fur, painting and drawings ranging from large scale works on plaster to pages of conceptual doodling. Kahn lives in Morlaix, Brittany, France, and Selesnick in Kingston NY.  

Their current work features the recreation of the Truppe Fledermaus’s Memory Theatre of 1932 with its full complement of Batfolk, Greenmen, Rope-Slingers, and Death-Dancers in all their Carnivalesque glory.  Kahn & Selesnick have participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions worldwide and have work in over 20 collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, they have published 3 books with Aperture Press, Scotlandfuturebog, City of Salt, and Apollo Prophecies. Their most recent book, 100 Views of the Drowning World, is available now from Candela Books. 

Read more on Kahn & Selesnick’s website.

From SMU to Samarkand: Bridwell Director Visits Central Asia

August 24, 2022

By Anthony J. Elia, Director of Bridwell Library

Elia poses with Peruna, SMU’s mascot, in front of Gur-i Amir Complex and mausoleum of Timur in Samarkand.

During the month of May, I spent three weeks traveling through the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, in what is often considered the center of the ancient Silk Road.  While this historical confluence of markets, trade routes, and nodes of transcontinental commerce reaches deeply into the past, the term Silk Road is relatively new in comparison.  It was first used in the work of the German geographer Ferdinand von Richtohofen (1833-1905), who employed it to describe the expansive human networks across Central Asia, which were known for their particular commerce in silk, hence Seidenstrasse or Silk Road(s).

My travels took me more than 2,000 miles across the geographically and culturally diverse terrain of this economically burgeoning country, from its very modern capital city Tashkent to the ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva; from the dried-up Aral Sea in the far northwestern autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan (and its towns of Nukus and Moynaq), where a thriving fishing industry once dominated the region, to the lush, fertile, and agriculturally vibrant Fergana Valley.  In this region you will find cities like Andijan, Margilan, and Kokand, which offer wide selections of fresh produce, regionally specific cuisines, unique artisan wares, and major historical sites.  This includes a museum devoted to the life and history of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire and author of the Bāburnāma.

The country is dynamic and diverse in its ecology, terrain, people, society, and culture—there are expansive deserts, towering mountains, mighty rivers, and breathtaking valleys.  Across the country people from almost every regional background come together and share in all aspects of social intercourse.  Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Kazakhs, Russians, and of course, Uzbeks, among many others populate city and country alike.  And people practice a variety of religions, participate in numerous social, cultural, and political activities, speak any number of languages, and eat an impressive array of delicacies.


Left: Khiva old city at night. Center: Ships in the dried up Aral Sea in western Uzbekistan. Only a fraction of the inland sea remains. Drought is one of many similarities between this Central Asian nation and Texas. Right: Nukus, Karakalpakstan, western-most region and autonomous republic, Uzbekistan.

One of the most distinct observations about my travels in Uzbekistan was how rich its historical culture was and how influential that long legacy has been on a global scale.  From antiquity and the medieval era nearly a thousand years ago, some of the most radical and influential individuals in history populated these hills, plains, and cities, including the father of modern medicine, Ibn Sina; the polymath and mathematician Al-Khwarazmi, after whom we get the word algorithm; Al-Biruni, the father of geodesy (the study of the earth’s shape); and astronomers like Al-Kashi and the most renowned, Ulugh Beg, who had one of the world’s largest observatories in medieval times; and not least of all Timur, grandfather of Ulugh Beg and the founder of the Timurid Dynasty, who is often cited as one of the most significant military strategists in world history.  The swath of historical space and time reaches far into the antique past, earlier than the conquest by Chinggis Khan and even the Sogdians who occupied Afrosiyab in present-day Samarkand, all the way up through the rich, complex, and contested histories of modern Uzbekistan.

The country’s literary culture is vibrant and proud.  The pinnacle of classical Chagatai literature and poetry was exemplified by the Hanafi mystic ‘Ali-Shir Nava’i (d. 1501).  And in subsequent centuries a flowering of writing has ensured a prosperous climate of reading, writing, and literacy.  Today there are bookstores everywhere in both the larger cities and smaller towns.  Many parks are replete with promenades, fountains, lawns, and snack kiosks, and almost never absent of book sellers in temporary booths or on curbsides.  In one major park in Tashkent, there were no fewer than twenty book shops along a thoroughfare, with dozens more individual book sellers pushing their wares on old carpets along the sidewalks.  The selections are bountiful, varied, and sometimes uncommon—in one bookstore in Khiva, I found several books that I’ve not seen anywhere else in the world, nor have I since been able to find them online or in any library catalog.  The richness of a place like Uzbekistan is enhanced by such discoveries and the realization that there’s much more to be found when we travel to places that are off the beaten path of traditional travel.  And we are lucky, if we can find something that connects us to our interests or to new friends and colleagues in another place on the other side of the world.


*Upon my return, I penned another piece for the Dallas Morning News comparing the environments of North Texas and Uzbekistan.

The piece is available on the SMU blog without a paywall.

The Bridwell Quarterly Spring 2022 & The Bridwell Quill Issues 44–46

Please enjoy “The Ballad of Time Travel” issues 44–46 of Anthony Elia’s newsletter The Bridwell Quill along with Issue 15 of Bridwell Library’s The Bridwell Quarterly (Spring 2022).


If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at mried@smu.edu. Happy reading!https://blog.smu.edu/quarterly/files/2022/06/The-Bridwell-Quill-Spring-2022jn.pd

Bridwell Edible Book Festival (BEBFest May 3, 2022)

Bridwell Edible Book Festival

— BEBFest 2022 —

Tuesday, May 3 • 1:30pm–3pm

Gill Hall, Bridwell Library



Thank you to all who participated & voted in this year’s BEBFest.

We are excited to announce the BEBFest 2022 winners!


1. MacBeth Cake by the “MacBakers”

2. Tell Tale Heart by Rachel Holmes

3. La (Fo)-Caccia di Diana by Aria Cabot

4. Queer Lessons by Michelle Ried


Congrats to all and thanks again for your participation.

Winners will soon be contacted with information about their prizes.



“The Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allen Poe

Created by Rachel Holmes

“I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings”

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! – tear up the planks! – here, here! – It is the beating of his hideous heart!”




“La (Fo-)Caccia di Diana” by Giovanni Boccaccio.

Created by Aria Cabot

A taste of Boccaccio’s first literary work, Diana’s Hunt, more salty than salacious, with more yeasts than beasts.




Macbeth Cake from Act 4, Scene 1

Created by the “Macbakers”

Caroline Roman, Simone Melvin, Kennedi Watts, and Sylvia Bloom (Senior English Majors at SMU)

We were inspired to make this cake when our Shakespeare professor (Dr. Dan Moss) sent us an email with the competition information. He knew we were bakers because we had brought cookies to class one day, haha! Macbeth is one of the tragedies we read in class that we are very partial to. Dr. Moss suggested we make following cake:

“I think [Caroline] and Simone should bake an edible book using all the ingredients of the Witches’ brew in the cauldron scene. Pretty sure the English Department has a supply of newt eyes, frog toes, Tartar’s lips and birth-strangled babes in the main office, if you can’t find those in grocery stores due to supply-chain issues. Just ask Matthew [Biggin].”

The cake is just that, with the famous “Double, double…” passage on the pages of the book. We made a fondant tongue, lips, nose, and intestines, to name a few.

There are now two iterations of the masterpiece of Macbeth in the world.




“Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight & Narrow: What all Christians Can Learn from LGBTQ Lives” 

By Cody J. Sanders

Created by Michelle Ried 






Bridwell proudly announces its 2nd Annual Bridwell Edible Book Festival (BEBFest). In our first year we held an Edible Book Festival “test run” within Bridwell only and had our entries exclusively online (due to COVID safety issues), where staff shared their images in a Box folder. Because of its success, this year we are opening up the field to a larger crowd and welcome entries from the entire SMU community. We will continue with the online submissions and sharing; though, for those who wish to bring their edible books in person, Bridwell will host an event on May 3rd where entrants may share their edibles with others in a party format.  This will take place in Bridwell Library’s Gill Hall.

Below, entries from Bridwell’s first BEBFest: Anthony Elia’s Book of Genesis, “God created” (in Hebrew sounds like “brie cheese”), Arvid Nelsen’s Leaves of Grass, Jane Elder’s Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie, and Michelle Ried’s Dead Sea Scrolls made of Rugelach.



The rules for the Edible Book Festival are as follows: 

  • Entries must have a book or library related theme and may have a short description accompanying them 
  • Entries are usually comical, clever, witty, or have double-meanings, but they don’t have to be
  • Entries must be made of something edible, but do not have to be entirely edible (i.e. you can have props!)
  • Entrants may be from anywhere within the entire SMU community
  • Entrants may only submit one entry
  • Group or team projects are welcome, one entry per group
  • Submissions in the form of digital photograph will be sent to Michelle Ried in Bridwell at (mried@smu.edu) by Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022 at 2PM, but can be submitted earlier
  • For those who wish to participate in the in-person event, it will be held in front of Bridwell—weather permitting—on May 3rd at 1:30-3PM.  After 2PM, and once you’ve submitted your digital image of the edible book, edible book artists may offer their works up for community consumption or sampling
  • All members of the SMU community are eligible to vote, whether or not you’ve submitted an entry  
  • A voting link will be available on the Bridwell News Blog from Tuesday, May 3rd at 4pm through Friday, May 5th at noon (Central Time).
  • Judges will be asked to vote on their top 3 picks and the winners will be announced at the end of the week.


SAVE THE DATE: https://libcal.smu.edu/calendar/libraryevents/BEBFest2022 

Maître d’art Didier Mutel Lectures at SMU April 7 & 8

Maître d’art Didier Mutel Lectures at SMU


RSVP: April 7, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.


RSVP: April 8, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.



*Lectures are free and open to the public

French Maître d’art Didier Mutel to Speak at SMU April 7 and 8, 2022

The book artist, engraver and printer Didier Mutel, who has been making books and engraved prints since 1988, is also an instructor at the Institut Supérieur Des Beaux Arts, Besançon, France, where he is training the next generation of engravers and book artists.  Didier’s dual role in the world of engraving as both a printer and a teacher has led him to think carefully about the history of engraving as well as its future.

His first talk will address the history of his atelier (founded in 1793), contextualizing its activities from 1793-present. He will further touch on the history of the artist book in France to 1991. This talk will take place at the Smith Auditorium of the Meadows Museum from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Using concrete examples of his work held by Bridwell Library Special Collections, Mutel’s second talk will address the production of artist books in his own studio practice – a practice which, since 1988, has sought to redefine the parameters of printmaking and artist books, incorporating historical perspective and awareness with modern-day technique and forward-looking methodology. This talk will take place in the Blue Room of Bridwell Library from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2022.




Founded in 1793, ATELIER DIDIER MUTEL is the oldest etching studio in France. From a historical and artistic point of view it represents centuries of knowledge and a very high level of handcraft production. The studio is well recognized in France and abroad. The studio is highly specialized in traditional etching and printing processes, from conceptualization through to the final execution. Through very specific projects the workshop mixes traditional techniques and skills with contemporary techniques. The aim is to reopen the artistic field of etching and to carry on very challenging projects. Didier Mutel apprenticed to the studio in 1988, joining there his master Pierre Lallier who ran it from 1968 to 2008. The studio moved from Paris to the Jura and after 5 years of renovation and its grand opening took place in 2014. 


DIDIER MUTEL has been producing artists books and engravings since 1989. Born in 1971, he entered the Ecole Estienne at 15, then studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, and continued his studies at the l’Atelier National de Création Typographique à l’Imprimerie Nationale. From 1997 to 1999, Didier Mutel was in residence at the Villa Medici in Rome where he produced two collaborative books. In 2008, the Atelier Georges Leblanc closed, and Pierre Lallier transferred a significant portion of the historical equipment to Didier Mutel. In 2009, Didier Mutel purchased space in Orchamps in the Jura, where he reinstalled the workshop. Since 2003 Mutel has been teaching at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux Arts of Besançon and is regularly invited by American universities for presentations and special courses.


ATELIER DIDIER MUTEL is a Member of the Grands Ateliers de France, and in 2013 Didier Mutel received the prestigious title of Maître d’art. Most recently, he was awarded the Prix Liliane Bettencourt pour l’Intelligence de la Main, a juried prize for “exceptional talent” that recognized his recent book, R217A (2016), as a work “resulting from a perfect mastery of techniques and savoir-faire of artistic craft” as well as demonstrating “innovation, and contributing to the evolution of this knowledge.” His most recent work includes the monumental The First Atlas of The United States of Acid (2017), Sidereus Nuncius (2018), Melencholia (2021), and the ongoing series, The Birds of Acid (2019- ).


The Bridwell Quarterly Issue 14 Winter 2022 & The Bridwell Quill Jan-Mar 2022

Please enjoy “The Carpenter & the Fig Tree” issues 41–43 of Anthony Elia’s newsletter The Bridwell Quill along with issue 14 of Bridwell Library’s The Bridwell Quarterly (Winter 2022).









Friends and colleagues who will be in the Dallas area March 7–9, please join us for our one-of-a-kind avant-garde festival of music, lectures, food, artists’ books, poetic performances, and exhibits related to John Cage and his musical world! Bridwell Library and Perkins School of Music presents ~ A FESTIVAL OF FORM: John Cage & the Infinite Human at Bridwell Library (SMU)—March 7-9, 2022.

RSVP for some or all events. FREE and open to all.

Theology & Art of the Score: An Exhibit Accompanying A Festival of Form



An Exhibit on Cage’s Musical World

Bridwell Library

Theology and Art of the Score is an exhibit that comes out of various interdisciplinary projects that took place at Bridwell Library over the last year.  During the Dante Festival in late August 2021, the musical work produced by composer Gabrielle Cerberville titled “the sky is falling” blended together elements of literature, history, theology, art, and music in a provocative and unorthodox manner through the production of musical scores without notation or paper, but instead of acrylic paints on plexiglass.  Out of the tradition of John Cage and later Earle Brown (1926-2002) and George Crumb (1929-2022), this form of composition and notation continues to bend historical ideas of form and push the limits of composition and the score.  Brown advocated open form notation and is most known for his work December 1952 (left), a graphic score of image rather than traditional staves and notes, while Crumb split apart and reassembled the notation system into particularly radical representations for interpretation and performance (below right).

During the Fall 2021 semester, Meadows music classes visited Bridwell Library to view various historical and modern representations of musical notation, scores, and metal printing blocks for printing sheet music.  The lectures and discussions with students focused on how industrialization and technology facilitated the evolution of musical instruments (e.g. more metal in pianos), the growth of orchestras, and the experimentation with musical sound, silence, and noise at the same time that developments in printing technology were occurring.  This also prompted us to question how emergent technologies affected what constituted not just experimentation, but a complete dismantling of forms, whereby music, art, literature, history, theology, and the world itself were being restructured down to their subatomic essences.  At the start of the 20th century this included Schoenberg and Stravinsky in music; Matisse and Picasso in art; Joyce and Woolf in literature; Braudel in history and Tillich in theology.  The world that people knew of in the early part of the last century was ruptured on all accounts during the First World War, and the succeeding 1920s onward left open a door to an infinite potential for form.

It is no surprise then that the current Bridwell Symbiosis exhibit begins with works of this period, around the time of the First World War, and that some of the works we will hear at the March 9th evening concert will feature music written between 1910 and 1930.  In the process of working with students and discussing with colleagues these various themes, it became apparent that by contending with ideas of form we were able to be more critically engaged in the the work of a university and its parts.  And this is no more present in Bridwell Library, where the elements of theology on a grand scale transcend any divisional category or discipline.  Theology, therefore, becomes the fluid, organic, and holistic realm of all arts, a category with and without classifications, because it is meant to be the fullness of human expression—at least for those engaged in its systems of belief!

To be clear, many of those composers and writers and artists featured in both the Symbiosis exhibit and the Theology and Art of the Score exhibit were neither religious nor theological.  But their works provide vision and opportunity for the many students, scholars, clergy, and lay people seeking higher meaning in their quotidian practices and spiritual lives.  The Art portion of …Art of the Score signals the variegated creativity that each of these composers has offered, some more modestly than others.  Yet, each enlivens the notion of what constitutes the process of development, writing, and artistic execution in writing music and the score itself.  Overall, Theology and Art of the Score is meant to be an exercise of participation, where people today can come together and experience the notions of form that spread across the narratives of time and space, of color and style, and of context and realities—all of which may give us slight hints or forceful suggestions that the worlds we live in are not always clear and what we expect, but instead full of ambiguity and uncertainty.



The works in the exhibit Theology and Art of the Score represent primary sources related to John Cage and his world.  Works include letters and ephemera by some of Cage’s influences and teachers, such as Igor Stravinsky, Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and Lazare Lévy, acquired by Bridwell for this event.  Selections of writings and drawings by Cage are on display, as well as a chamber (slide) opera by Dave Jones and William Kent, which is a pivot between the avant-garde notions of early 20th century modernist music and its contemporary movements represented in the artist books found in our major Bridwell exhibit Symbiosis of Script, Font, and Form (in the Prothro Galleries).

*Navigate to our A Festival of Form blog learn more and to RSVP.