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Norma Kassirer

Norma Kassirer

(1924-2013)

Norma Kassirer was both a writer and an artist, putting both talents to work in the creation of artist books made entirely with her text and images or by “reclaiming” other books through ingenious enhancements. She was the author of two books for children, Magic Elizabeth (1966) and The Doll Snatchers (1969); collections of short stories, including The Hidden Wife and Other Stories, illustrated by Willyum Rowe (1991) and Milly (2008); and her final novella, Katzenjammered (2010). She contributed poetry and short fiction to publications such as Yellow Edenwald Field, a Buffalo Ochre Papers Journal, and Blatant Artifice. In 1991, author John Barth described Kassirer’s stories as “sly, wry and fanciful, fairy-tale realistic.”

In the museum world, Kassirer was known as a painter and creator of artist books; many became three-dimensional sculptures, resembling Joseph Cornell’s assemblages or Marcel Duchamp’s mixed media works. She served as Curator of Fiction Diction at Hallwalls in 1983-84. Her art and artist books were exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at Hallwalls, the Mazur Gallery at The Polish Community Center, Betty’s Restaurant, The Artists Gallery, Burchfield Art Center, and Western New York Book Arts Center.