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Art & Design


a journal about art and its making. Circus

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to a show unlike any other.

How can a circus be held in print? you may ask. Indeed, prepare to be astounded. Here you’ll find tumbling acrobats, unsettling sideshows, ferocious beasts, fantastical costumes, entrancing feats of grace and strength. It’s all contained within these pages, we assure you, but perhaps not in ways you would expect.

We have sought to explode the very nature of the circus, a word from the Latin meaning both the circle and the Roman amphitheater, that ancient site of chariot races, military reenactments, and the like. Today, of course, circus has different associations, associations that are—just as the advertisements promise—extraordinary. But this comes with a warning, for just as the striped circular tent offers up the remarkable, it can also present the complicated and cruel. There is always a dark side, isn’t there, ladies and gentlemen?

The invitation is this: step up and let the spectacle unfold before you. Gaze in astonishment on the present and the past. Encounter daring beauty and surprising oddity, things you have never seen before, and from these—the shocking, the marvelous, the exquisite—make you own associations. And so, without further ado, we present: Circus.

Manual: a journal about art and its making, a new twice-yearly journal, uses the collections, exhibitions, and collaborations of the RISD Museum as an impetus for essays and interviews, artist interventions, and archive highlights. A fusion of academic arts journal and design magazine, Manual is a resource for engaged conversations about art, design, and the impact of creative making by curators, artists, scholars and educators.

RISD Museum director: John Smith Manual Editor-in-chief: Sarah Ganz Blythe with S. Hollis Mickey Editor: Amy Pickworth Graphic designer: Derek Schusterbauer Photographer: Erik Gould (unless otherwise noted) Printer: Jay Buckley at Meridian

Selected objects from Manual:
a journal about art and its making. Circus