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Re: Artists' Books

Some years ago a former employee of mine became the first book arts
artist-in-residence at a local college.

I attended her first exhibit.  Among her *books* were slabs of clay baked
in a kiln, and dead tree branches with bits of paper hanging about.

To me, these were not books.  But she was the artist, and what the artist
says goes.

That's what it says in all of the books.

I haven't written the other book yet.  The book which says that what the
artist says is a book may not be a book.

Maybe it's only an article in an obscure journal, but you get my point.

A book is a three-dimensional functional object.

That's my definition.  A set of kilned clay slabs may qualify; bits of
paper hung about tree prunings may qualify.

But, to me, a book is something which I can hold in my hand while turning
pages/leaves which have something upon them which can impart additional
information to me.

Now, I have held in my hand volumes of Audubon's elephant folio while
moving them from place to place for conservation (very large books!) and
copies of the bible printed so small that the entire text needed a
magnifying glass to read.

All books.  According to my earlier definition.

It is not my place to say how an artist may define the results of his/her
creative effort.

But, as a conservator, artisan, technician, and mechanic, it is within my
power to stipulate that if a *book* is not a three dimensional functional
object, then it is a sculpture.  Plain and simple.

The copy of the King James Bible opened to the New Testament, book of
Matthew and drowned in plastic and lying on my mother's table comes
somewhere in between.

Trust me on this....


Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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