Today, advocacy group and website Designers & Books, the Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART), and the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) launched a campaign to publish a facsimile edition of Depero Futurista, an avant-garde book by Italian futurist Fortunato Depero. Depero Futurista is also known as the “Bolted Book” because the pages are bound with two industrial aluminum bolts.
The bolts allowed the book to be taken apart so each page could be displayed in a gallery-like setting; he called it a “portable museum.” In true futurist fashion, Depero also claimed it was also an “anti-book”: The bolts would destroy the books next to it. Although Depero intended to publish 1,000 copies, it is thought that he only printed about 400.
Depero Futurista contains Depero’s manifesto, “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe,” as well as his work in advertising, graphic design, and typography. The book served as Depero’s calling card when he arrived in New York in 1928. Unlike his time spent in Paris, where he circulated in the high-art world, hanging out with Brancusi and the like, Depero dove into New York’s commercial culture. He loved the Macy’s parades—Macy’s even sold a pillow of his—and worked in advertising and at the Daily News. Every time he wanted to introduce himself, the Bolted Book came along.
Designers & Books hopes that republishing the facsimile edition will allow Depero’s work to reach a larger audience. It will be an exact copy of the original, including the binding and paper stock. Accompanying the book will be a reader’s guide with English translations and essays that examine the book’s design legacy. Another limited edition will be printed in letterpress and will have a bolted and hinged metal front and back covers—replicas of four or five copies Depero made for this friends and benefactors.
If you want a copy of either, visit the Kickstarter page.
(Courtesy Center for Italian Modern Art)