Reading Dick & Jane with Me

Visual Studies Workshop Press, paperback, 24 pages, 8 1/2 x 7 inches, stapled single signature, printed offset
Edition size: 1000. 1989.

Reading Dick & Jane with Me, is an artist’s book created to interrupt the authority of old elementary school textbooks called ” The Dick and Jane Readers.” These textbooks of the 1940’s and 1950’s, used to teach reading, presented a white upper middle class suburban family as normal life for most Americans. Although the average American at that time was working class, the artist as a young girl thought these depictions meant that her family must be an aberration outside normal family life. Simple, repetitive sentences are constructed to simulate the rhythm of the old readers. Fragments of snapshots of the artist’s brothers and sisters and children from her neighborhood stand in for elementary school students who now “talk back.”