At one point, as Amanda Keeley retraces her steps the past few months and her list goes on and on and on, the classic image of a dozen clowns stepping out of a Volkswagen Beetle comes to mind. She pauses and chuckles almost apologetically. “Well, yes, I've been busy.”
A visual artist, writer and curator, Keeley is the mastermind behind itinerant artists’ bookstore EXILE Books. A 2014 Knight Arts Challenge winner, the project has had a remarkably active life, rolling from art galleries to fairs and morphing from art/practical installation to books-and-fruit cart. In March, EXILE Books takes up temporary residence at the De La Cruz Collection, in Miami’s Design District.
“It will include a small component of EXILE Books and, basically, a temporary screen printing studio in the space,” she explains. “EXILE Books is about dedicating a space to print culture, celebrating print culture and raising awareness about artists’ publications and how artists utilize publishing.”
EXILE Books launched in September at Locust Projects, in Miami’s Design District, when it was still just an Arts Challenge finalist. It then moved to Books & Books, in Coral Gables, where it became a store-within-a-store. “It felt like an occupation,” muses Keeley about the setting. That stay also included talks and panel discussions with visiting speakers.