Books As
Aesthetic Objects
A unique collection of contemporary
rare books The core of the original
gift to FAU in 1998

They All Laughed

By Karen Hanmer
2002

Artist Book; they all laughed; karen hanmer; 2002(Click to view larger image)

Chicago artist Karen Hanmer makes one of the best uses we've seen yet of Hedi Kyle's popular Flagbook structure: she uses the planes of the opposing panels to contrast two themes: archival documents about the Wright Brothers' first manned, powered flight are presented alongside the lyrics from the George and Ira Gershwin song "They All Laughed." The song is essentially a love song that runs down a list of ideas that folks once thought were crazy: that the world is round, for instance, or that humans could fly.

They all said we could never be happy.
They laughed at us and how!
But ho, ho, ho!
Who's got the last laugh now?

The pastedowns are reproductions of a Western Union telegram sent from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina by Orville Wright. If you open the book just right, you can read the telegram in its entirety, describing the successful first flights of the Wright Brothers' airplane.