Five Luminous Towers: A Book to be Read in the Dark

Carol June Barton, Five Luminous Towers: A Book to be Read in the Dark, 2001; Artist’s book with offset print, bulb, wire, board, and Japanese book cloth, (open) 9 x 15 1/4 x 11 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase: United States Department of Education Fund; © Carol June Barton Popular Kinetics Press, Glen Echo, Maryland; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Carol Barton’s residency at the Bogliasco villa in Genoa, Italy, was the inspiration for Five Luminous Towers. The artist visited many towers during her stay and looked at architectural elements that distinguish the various functions towers have served throughout history.

The book opens to display five pop-up towers, each illuminated by a tiny bulb, inviting viewers to a nocturnal reading of Barton’s poems. The reader is drawn into the life of a city, where the bells of the church tower toll to invite the flock for evening vespers and where a lookout tower serves poets and painters to draw visions from the vast profusion of stars.

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