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Definition of the Artists Book (YES, again)



The question is of course amendable to a literature search.  But, as a
spontaneous reaction to the task of fashioning a definition, my thoughts are:

that it is important to

1. Commit to an apostrophe.  We are dealing with "artist's", not "artists".

2. Recognize that the elements to be dealt with are:
        a. the artist,
        b. the book,
        c. the making, and
        d. the respective relationships among the artist, the book, and the making.

3. Leave undefined "artist" and "book", expecting the maker and the viewer
(the person who experiences the book) to decide what those are.

4. Focus on the artist's making rather than on the result.  (The viewer
controls reaction to the result.  The maker can only hope to condition the
reaction.  Reactions to the result can be ignorant or naive.)

5. Recognize that the artist's making is a temporary process.

6. Recognize that the result of the artist's making is an object, rather
than a process.  (One could argue that the result is a process.  But I
think that doing so would unduly stretch the meaning of "book".)

7. Recognize that the artist works (with, within, around, against)
pre-existing conventions of bookmaking.

Accordingly, how does the following sound?  (I think that succinctness is
valuable in definitions, but I think that this definition accommodates the
concerns about this subject that have been posted so far on BOOK_ARTS-L in
this round.)

"An artist's book is a book made by an artist.  In the making of the
object, expression by the artist predominates over conventions of bookmaking."


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        Donald Farren                          voice 301.951.9479
          email dfarren@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx         fax 301.951.3898
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