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Nava Atlas is an American artist known as a book artist, writer, vegan cookbook author, and illustrator. Her art and visual books explores the topics of gender roles, cultural bias and animal rights. Her work engages in the fine art and publishing fields, simultaneously.
Past projects include The Narcissist's Library, Hell's Kitchen, Greeting from the Pasture and Unwedding: Why You Can't Get Married; earlier works are Encyclopedia of Regrets, Magdalene Laundries: A Cross to Bear, Je Reve, and Things Women Shelve. Nava also worked in a studio residency at Mass MOCA (2015) and at the Sim Residency in Reykjavic, Iceland (2018). She is located in Hudson Valley, New York.
Atlas makes artists' books, often experimenting with the physical form and incorporating found materials. They are typically produced as limited editions. A number of her works explore women's experience and the constraints of traditional gender roles; Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife (2009), Sluts & Studs (2008), Tomcats & Trollops (2008), (Mis)labeling Hillary (2008), Hand Jobs (2008), Deconstructing Elsie (2014), Why You Can't Get Married: an Unwedding Album (2013), The Completely-from-Scratch Steer-to-Sirloin Beef Slaughter Guide and Cookbook (2012), and Any Man Gets Tired of Toast All the Time (2007). Postal Angst (2012) is an album of imaginary postage stamps. She also makes unique altered books, such as Love and Marriage (2008), a 1950s comic book in which all the dialogue has been replaced with original text by Atlas, and installations that feature text.
Her work has been exhibited widely across the United States and abroad. Works of hers are held in numerous public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Wichita Art Museum. An archive of her papers is housed in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University.
The limited edition Dear Literary Ladies(2010) was expanded into the traditionally published Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life (2011). Atlas then launched Literary Ladies Guide (2011) - an extensive website on classic women authors and their literature.
Atlas, who has been vegan for many years, has also written and illustrated vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. Her first cookbook, Vegetariana, came out in 1984. Other titles include 5-Ingredient Vegan (2019), Plant Power (2014), Wild About Greens (2012), Vegan Holiday Kitchen (2011), and The Vegetarian Family Cookbook (2004). She created TheVeganAtlas.com, a site featuring vegan recipes, lifestyle, and travel.
Installations and exhibits
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Read Me: Artist’s Books, Altered Books, and Related Installations (2014)
Concourse/Discourse Gallery (N. Adams, MA)
In Retrospect (2010-2012)
A traveling exhibit featuring three contemporary artists Nava Atlas, Maureen Cummins, and Ann Lovett, exploring present-day culture through a historic lens. This show visited Abcedarian Gallery (Denver, CO), Hope College - De Pree Gallery (Holland, MI), SUNY Ulster - Muroff-Kotler Gallery (Stone Ridge, NY), Lafayette College - Skillman Library Gallery (Easton, PA), Visual Studies Workshop - Siskind Gallery (Rochester, NY), Wells College - String Room Gallery (Aurora, NY), College of New Rochelle - Castle Gallery (New Rochelle, NY)
The Radwaste and Stonehenge Books (1985-1989)
A traveling exhibition featuring Nava Atlas and Chaim Tabak starting at the Wichita Art Museum (Wichita, KS) and moving to Carnegie Center for the Arts (Dodge City, KS), Washburn University - Mulvane Art Center (Topeka, KS), Pittsburg State University - University Gallery (Pittsburg, KS), Emporia State University - University Gallery (Emporia, KS), SUNY at New Paltz - College Art Gallery (New Paltz, NY), SUNY at Alfred - Nelson Fosdick Gallery (Alfred, NY), and SUNY at Oswego, Tyler Art Gallery (Oswego, NY)
Selected group exhibitions
The Sexual Politics of Meat' This exhibition commemorated the 25th anniversary of the publication of Carol J. Adams's book The Sexual Politics of Meat. The show, taking place at The Animal Museum in Los Angeles, CA from February 25 – April 30, 2017 was curated by three artists, Kathryn Eddy, Janell O’Rourke & L.A. Watson and featured eco-feminist work by fourteen contemporary women artists, challenging the question of “How does someone become something?”.
“Earth SOS” - Flomenhaft Gallery, NYC
“The Measure of All Things: Rethinking Humanism through Art” - The University at Buffalo, NY
"Book Power" - 23 Sandy Gallery (Portland, OR)
“Unintended Consequences” - Slusser Gallery at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
“Reimagining Rosa Parks” - Prince George’s Community College (Largo, MD)
“Art History: Redux” - Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro, NC)
“From Bande Dessinée to Artist’s Book: Testing the Limits of Franco-Belgian Comics” - Center for Book Arts, NYC
“I Do” - Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY
“Is This Freedom?” - Wiseman Gallery, Rogue Community College (Grants Pass, OR)
“Post-Racial U.S.” - New Mexico State University Art Gallery (Las Cruces, NM)
“Under the Wings of Artemis: The Crossroads of Scholarship and Art” - University of Washington Libraries (Seattle, WA)
“A Seat at the Table: An Exploration Through Artist’s Books” - WOCA Projects (Fort Worth, TX)
“With Food in Mind” - Center for Book Arts (New York, NY)
“The Book: A Contemporary View” - Delaware Center for Contemporary Art (Wilmington, DE)
“Fit to Be Bound” - Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, NY)
“Pages” - La Tienda Exhibition Gallery (Santa Fe, NM)
“Pop-Up Now!” - 23 Sandy Gallery (Portland, OR)
“Book + Art: Artist’s Books from the Sallie Bingham Center” - Duke University, Perkins Library Gallery (Durham, NC)
“Bookends: The Book as Art” - Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (Silver Spring, MD)
“Analog catalog: Investigating the Permanent Collection” - Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SUNY New Paltz, NY)
“Dog-Eared: Revealing the Content of Artist’s Books” - Purdue University (W. Lafayette, IN)
“Beyond Reading: Books as Art” - Suffolk Museum (Suffolk, VA)
“Are We There Yet? 40 Years of Feminism” - ARC Gallery & Educational Foundation (Chicago, IL)
“Conceptually Bound” - Victoria Arts Connection Gallery (Victoria, B.C.), Pacific Festival of the Book, The Mohr Gallery, The Community School of Music and Art (Mountain View, CA)
“Conceptually Bound” - Cal. State University - Univ. Art Gallery (Chico, CA)
“Artist’s Books 2007” - Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo, CA)
“The Female Gaze” - Iona College (New Rochelle, NY)
"Book in Hand" - Arts + Literature Laboratory (New Haven, CT)
"Do Not Fold, Bend, Spindle, or Mutilate” - Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science (Sioux Falls, SD)
"Collaborative Concepts" (Beacon, NY)
2005 and earlier
“Recent Acquisitions” - College Art Gallery (SUNY New Paltz, NY, currently called The Dorsky Museum)
“Book Arts” - Hand in Hand Galleries (NYC)
“Humor, Wit, and Whimsy” - Bowie State College (Bowie, MD)
“Painted Surfaces” - Albany Institute of History and Art (Albany, NY)
“Brooklyn Artists” - Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn NY)
- "Bio - Statement". Nava Atlas website, 2017.
- "CV". Nava Atlas website, Feb. 21, 2013.
- Isaacs, J. Susan.The Book: A Contemporary View. Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, 2011, p. 14.
- "Artist's Books: Love and Marriage". University of Michigan Library website, 2017.
- Kanner, Ellen. "Meatless Monday: Nava Atlas and the Art of Plant Power". Huffington Post, Oct. 27, 2014,
- St. Clair-Jackson, Jordan. "About Nava". VegKitchen, June 17, 2010.
- "Exhibit and Installation Views | Nava Atlas". www.navaatlasart.com. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
- "The Animal Museum - The Sexual Politics of Meat". The Animal Museum. 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2018-03-15.