The Bourgeon Book

bourgeon_coverThe Bourgeon book contains fifty articles by artists about their work, and compiles in one place some of the best articles from the magazine’s first five years. The artists whose essays are included in the book are a who’s who of contemporary art in the Washington, D.C. area:

Maida Withers, Heather Risley, Kathryn Boland, Jon Gann, Heather Desaulniers, Steven Shafarman, Casey Maliszewski, Jan Tievsky, Sabado Lam Lori Clark, George Jackson, Michael Bjerknes, Cheryl Palonis Adams, Doug Yeuell, Judith Hanna, Loren Ludwig, Valerie Durham, Daniel Barbiero, Laurel Victoria Gray, Alvin Mayes, Jonathan Morris, Ken Manheimer, Nancy Havlik, Cem Catbas, Jane Franklin, Kevin Platte, Tehreema Mitha, Gesel Mason, Aysha Upchurch, Kelly Mayfield, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, Daniel Burkholder, Joan Belmar, Prudence Bonds, Judith Peck, Megan Coyle, Michele Banks, Tim Tate, Jenny Walton, Jessica Beels, Salvador Casco, Alec Simpson, Camille Mosley-Pasley, Al Miner, Laurel Lukaszewski, Andy Shallal, and Patricia Spears Jones.

The book’s designer was Design Action Collective, and Innosanto Nagaro. Leonard Jacobs, Director of the Cultural Institutions Unit at the New York Foundation for the Arts, former Managing Editor of Backstage, and co-founder of, wrote the introduction for the book.


The first printing of the book was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, and with the support of the Humanities Council of Washington D.C.

The Advisory Committee for the book includes George Jackson, Jack Hannula, Dr. Judith Hanna, Dr. Naima Prevots, Michele Banks, Sara Hill Isacson, Adah Rose Bitterbaum, David Ramos, and Joy Ford Austin. The Editorial Committee for the book includes Kate Kretz, Heather Desaulniers, Diana Dinerman, Kathryn Boland, Cheryl Palonis Adams, John Shields, Gregory Luce, and the book’s General Editor Robert Bettmann.


Michael Kaiser, President, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:

“Bourgeon does more than take you on a tour of the arts landscape of the Washington, DC area. It takes you on a fascinating journey through the minds of dozens of artists and answers the question: what were they thinking? I highly recommend it for any arts library.”

Philip Szporer, Montreal-based writer, lecturer and filmmaker:

“The first person accounts of creativity and process captures the zeitgeist and the lively pulse of an expanding arts scene.”

Jonathan Katz, Executive Director, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies:

“The book is full of revelations about works of art, about how artists work, and about the cultural richness of Washington, DC. Kudos to Robert Bettmann for giving us the fifty-first work of art, this well conceived and edited book.”

Mike Panetta, Shadow Representative for the District of Columbia in the U.S. House of Representatives, and founder Beekeeper Group:

“With this anthology Robert Bettmann has put the world on notice that Washington makes things more beautiful than legislation. He shines a well-deserved spotlight on the Districts’s vibrant and energetic local arts scene with this well-curated collection. It shows a side of DC many people may not be familiar with, and is highly recommended.”

Peter Rosenstein, The Georgetown Dish:

“Bourgeon is in a way a self-portrait by the fifty artists that have written about their art and it makes for fascinating reading for those of us not able to produce art by ourselves but rather now can live vicariously through the art of others. In some cases the articles are a window into the artist’s soul… The range of articles included in this book cover a large sphere of the art world from performance art to painting to poetry… Each article by an individual artist tells a story and some talk of what their art means to them and how they share that with the world.”

Lenny Campello, DCArtNews:

“A must have book to kindle artistic creative energy!”

Lewis Segal, Los Angeles Times:

“When it comes to supporting artists and arts writers, Robert Bettmann is a force of nature. Lucky the creators and annotators who meet his standards, and lucky the audiences and readers who can appreciate the results.”