Johanna Drucker's Artist Books
An online repository of facsimiles, metadata, and commentary

Netherland: [How] So Far


Project Statement

I went to Holland in the summer of 1978, travelling from Greece by way of Switzerland with Jean and Karen Bernier, art dealers I had met in Athens. I had made Amsterdam my destination because I knew of a place called the Drukhuis, an old house on a canal in the center of Amsterdam, where you could pay a per diem and print using the equipment. This book and one other, a large suite of prints and letterpress, were produced there (the etchings for the second project were printed in another state-run facility). The Drukhuis was a three story structure, filled with type and presses, all in a state of quasi-disarray, piles of paper, type drawers, and other materials were everywhere. But I found this wonderful elongated type, Verlangde Mercator, I think it was called. Such a wonderful name! Filled with history and suggestions. The text for this book was produced through the course of the first months I spent in Amsterdam, learning, watching, listening, observing. The specific texture of the language came to my awareness at the same time as the sense of the culture and its peculiar, specific limits of permissiveness. (This, also, is part of the title's "how/so far?") This book, very simply, was about that experience. Direct, observed, succinct and tightly scripted, the lines of the writing seemed aptly served by the narrow, compact type.

Production Narrative

Not a hard book to produce, this was a letterpress project that was quite straightforward -- pages of text set in short lines and printed. Assembly of the parts was also fairly easy, since it was mainly a matter of cutting the boards and pushing the wing fasteners through. Making sure the saran wrap was tight and kept in place by the rubber bands.... might have been the most difficult part of the production.

Critical Analysis

Design Features

typographic: Verlangde Mercator, long, tight, condensed, very light.

imagery: None.

graphical: Layout follows conventions for poetry.

openings: Barely applicable, since the pages fold back like a note pad's.



Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


Publication Information

publisher: self-published

publication: 1978-00-00

publication history: One edition was produced.

Aesthetic Profile

artists' books (LCSH)

themes: Holland, permission, social and cultural contrasts.

content form:
poetry (AAT)
experimental text (local)

publication tradition:
artists' book (local)

inspiration: The materials of Dutch domesticity were a distinct inspiration for the form and design of this book. That grey toilet paper, the obsessive need for lace curtains at the windows, provided two major material elements.

related works: Italy, Cuba, and some of the writings about Paris (unpublished) are quite close to this in sensibility.

community: none A time of considerable isolation, though I had a good roommate, wonderful young Dutch woman, I had little sense of an art community or even poetry connections. The US scenes were far away, though I wrote to and for them, with a sense of belief. But no one was there, close, present.

Related Documents

manuscript type: texts

location: other

note: I don't think any manuscript materials remain. Whatever there was would have been left behind in Holland when I left in Spring, 1979.

General Comments

title note: The title is an obvious pun, but the "how" was signalling reflection on the time I had spent in Holland to date.


Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: self-published

place: Amsterdam, Holland

publication: 1978-00-00

edition size: 114


horizontal: 5.5 inches closed

vertical: 3.75 inches closed

depth: .2 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
letterpress (local)

binding: other wing fasteners

bookBlock: paper

ink (local)

other materials: brads, stamps, air mail sticker.


format: codex (AAT) An object sent through the mail.

cover: The cover for this work doubles as the mailing packaging for its travel through the mail. Two stamps appear in the upper right hand corner, a "par avion" sticker, and the address. On one side, wing fasteners hold on a thin sheet on brown paper that wraps around to the back. On the other, The white paper on which the address is written folds around the side where the title of the work appears and then the return address.

color: no


pagination: unpaginated 16 pages

numbered?: numbered

signed?: unsigned



Related Documents

manuscript type: other

location: other

note: Nothing is left that I know of.