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Re: Artists book

I'm going to take the bait. I do have a certain bias, but not against
artist's book per say. I've seen some beautiful work, and some terrible
work. The same problem exists with tradition binding as well. The problems
I have are that all too often I have seen poor workmanship excused with
the phrase, "it's art" or dismissed as irrelevant. If I look at a print I
expect it to be well crafted, if I look at a painting, a collage, a
sculpture I expect the same. Don't use glue sticks rubber cement... In
traditional bookwork it's much easier and more socially acceptable to be
hard on poor workmanship, in art, and I sense it more with the "artist's
book" scene it doesn't seem as acceptable.

Secondly, while I am primarily a rare book consevator, and execute "fine /
design" bindings (read traditional) I also have the opportunity here to
interact with a great many of the "Foundation" (first year) art students
who all seem to be doing "books." The definition for these is a book is
whatever you want it to be... The instructors themselves while having
great ideas, are not completely well versed in the craft aspect. I think
that if you want to create "artist's books," please do. I've even bought
several, but please have a solid foundation in the craft of the book,
especially if you're going to teach... Otherwise it's "lights out." If
you're making a sculpture that looks like a book form, at least
acknowledge that it's a sculpture, not a book. It may be derived from a
book, but it's not. This gets back to the bookness aspect. Philip Smith, a
(VERY) noted English design binder wrote a letter which is published near
the top of the "Links" section on the Book Arts Web, URL below. It's worth
a read.

I think the craft and art need to continue to evolve, as they have done
from the beginning. Let's just not excuse a sloppyness (anywhere) in the
name of art.

That's where I'm coming from.



Peter Verheyen, Conservation Librarian
315.443.9937 <wk> 315.443.9510 <fax>

On Fri, 6 Mar 1998, Isca4art2B wrote:

> Eear Pat- I'm fairly new to this list- but I gather Peter has a certain bias
> against artists' books. Louise

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