Jack Ginsberg has donated over 3000 pieces to be accessed by the public

Wits Arts Museum (WAM) is showcasing thousands of global books art by exhibiting books from the new Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts until the beginning of July.

The books were donated by South African art collector and philanthropist, Jack Ginsberg.

Ginsberg, 72, told Wits Vuvuzela that the pieces of artwork as well as the thousands of additional items donated to WAM took about 50 years to build. There were over 3000 pieces of artwork donated.

“The genre of book art began in the [1970s],” Ginsberg said.

The collection used to be stored at Johannesburg Ginsberg’s home. He created the book art space at WAM as a research centre for people who want to specialise in book art. He hopes Wits staff and students and the public will access the artwork.

“I hope to have four exhibitions a year, where people can come and see the rest of the sites,” said Ginsberg.

He says he donated his world-renowned collection, reportedly the biggest in the southern hemisphere to WAM and not to a book library because he considers the books to be art.

“[The books] have to be handled like art: they can’t be lent out,” he said.

Ginsberg said that it was easier for him to donate the artworks there because he was familiar with how things worked in the museum. He also liked the staff’s work ethic and how dedicated they are in doing what they do.

WAM’s gallery assistant, Mpho Monama, said that the book art donation is a “great opportunity for WAM to grow versatility and variety of its collection. It also redefines WAM’s objectives and its collection”.

Julia Charlton, the senior curator at WAM said Ginsberg has given the museum “a lot of art works over the years”.

“He also helped us with building the museum,” Charlton told Wits Vuvuzela.

FEATURED IMAGE: Jack Ginsberg poses in front of one of the displays from his art book collection. Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa