Paired essays provide differing perspectives on the institution's renowned works.

Pick up—literally—a copy of “Reflections,” the Columbus Museum of Art’s new catalog of its American collection, and you’ll get an immediate sense of why it took 12 years to create: The 705-page, 9-by-12-inch volume weighs a hefty 6 pounds, despite its soft cover. It contains more than 125 reproductions of works from the museum and essays from more than 60 contributors.

CMA executive director Nannette Maciejunes says the idea for the book came from her co-editor, M. Melissa Wolfe, the museum’s former American curator. Wolfe wanted to include many perspectives on the works, not only those of art historians. Wil Haygood contributed an essay about a piece by painter Bob Thompson, who grew up in segregated Louisville; Piper Kerman wrote about Deana Lawson’s photo series, “Mohawk Correctional Facility: Jazmin & Family.”

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Interspersed throughout are “intersections”—paired essays about a single work by two commentators from different fields, as when novelist Joyce Carol Oates and conservator Laurie Booth, granddaughter of George Bellows, both share thoughts on the Bellows painting “Snow Dumpers.”

“I can’t imagine ever getting bored with this book,” says Maciejunes. “There’s so many different ways to use it and to think about the work.”

Maciejunes is quick to credit the book’s other local contributors: designer Neil Wengerd, of the Worthington firm Nonfiction, who created a hand-folded, reversible dust jacket with a 1910 Bellows painting on one side and a piece of psychedelic optical art by Edna Andrade on the other. The book was printed by WestCamp in Westerville.

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