Through April 3, 2016

FAU's Wimberly Library:
    First Floor Lobby
    Jaffe Center for Book Arts Lobby & JCBA's Book Arts Gallery

John Eric Broaddus was one of the most inventive and creative artists to approach the book form. He was a prominent figure in the New York City art scene in the 1970s and 1980s as a costume designer and performer but also, perhaps most importantly, as an artist creating books. Most of them were one-of-a-kind books made in an era long before the book form had even a suggestion of acceptance within the art world. Today we call this rich genre artists’ books, but when Broaddus was working in the form, he was forging new territory.

Broaddus (1943–1990) was a self-taught artist, so perhaps this forging of new territory comes out of that outsider status. He lived his art, wearing the costumes he made to iconic places like Studio 54 and Crisco Disco, as well as the annual Village Halloween Parade through the streets of New York. Eric, as his friends called him, was vibrant, outlandish, and was a central part of the artistic community that centered around Greenwich Village at the time. Eric’s inspired life was cut short by AIDS in 1990, a loss felt keenly even now, 25 years later. His legacy, however, lives on in the work he left behind, a muse in itself for artists (and the rest of us).

The books made by John Eric Broaddus are nothing short of genius. He was one of the first artists to work in the book form in terms of taking the book out of its traditional role of information vehicle and into the realm of art. He taught himself how to make books, often using strange materials like upson board and acrylic panels and, in one of his most famous pieces, powdered gelatin (Jell-O Book, 1973). His books typically exploded with color, and he cut into the pages of each to open windows for the viewer into past and future, shifting realms and vision as the pages unfold.

In 1990 Broaddus wrote a statement that speaks volumes about his work and his approach to the book form: "In particle physics 'Spin 1/2'  is a term used to describe the discovery that reality has to spin one way, and back the other way in order to be fully experienced, therefore a second look is always advisable."

What we know now is a second look is always advisable when it comes to the bookworks of John Eric Broaddus. He was a master at engaging us with a world that has the ability to shift and metamorphosize before our eyes with the turn of a page. His books train us to seek the thing we think is our goal. We approach, and just as soon as that goal is in reach, it’s gone. The goal in Eric’s books is rarely what we thought it to be at the start. Each book a universe unto itself.
A memorial service celebrating the life of John Eric Broaddus was held at Franklin Furnace in New York on February 28, 1991. He was honored by his friends and the artistic community in which he was so deeply immersed. The stories are wonderful. Audio courtesy Arthur Williams. Digitization by Florida Atlantic University Libraries' Recorded Sound Archive. Photographs courtesy Arthur Williams with new photography by Charles Pratt.

We thank Arthur J. Williams for his support of this exhibition.

The First Floor Lobby and JCBA Lobby portion of this exhibition is accessible in the public areas of the Wimberly Library. Regular library hours are Monday to Thursday 7:40 AM to 2 AM, Friday 7:40 AM to 6 PM, Saturday 10:30 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday noon to 2 AM. The portion of the exhibition installed inside the Jaffe Center for Book Arts may be viewed Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM..

From I-95 or the Florida Turnpike, exit Glades Road, east. The FAU campus is located just east of I-95 on the north side of Glades Road. If you enter the campus at FAU's main entrance (the one furthest west on Glades Road... and the first one you get to approaching from I-95 or the turnpike), you will enter on West University Drive (formerly Broward Avenue). Continue straight on West University Drive to the traffic light at its intersection with Volusia Street. Turn right onto Volusia Street. You will see a parking garage on Volusia Street, and the Wimberly Library is the next building east of the parking garage..

Visitor parking is available in the library parking lot. The metered system accepts cash and credit cards at the rate of $1 per hour..

Current Exhibition


Fall 2016

Past Exhibitions

Dialogue Book + Art

Spring 2016


Spring 2016

The Last Word

Summer 2015

Elephant House

Spring 2015

Born from folding

 Early Spring 2013


Spring 2012


Late Fall/Early Spring, 2010/2011

Carbon Alternative

Fall 2010

Proceed and be Bold!

Spring 2010

Animated Library

Spring 2010