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Re: Definition of the Artists

I am also enjoying the game of definitions, and agree with Steve Daiber
that the realm of the artist's book is one more vehicle of expression.
There is a form for every idea, and books, bookworks, and
book-like-things are more tools at hand for the artist, whether
traditionally used or not.

Regarding non-narrative, non-sequential, non-manipulatable works that are
called books, I too have a problem. I want the experience of reading, and
the idea of pages--even if they are a metaphor--if I am to consider
something a book, even though I will go to great extremes to include works
in the category. I especially like pieces that stretch pretty far as art,
while retaining a conceptual hold to the book. And I will always
appreciate fine craftsmanship.

Over long distance my writer friend, Michelle Miller-Allen, and I have
just completed a piece that plays in this territory. From months of our
correspondence I made a sequence of 74 collaged, painted, and
drawn "pages", which, when tied together at their corners, build into a
double bed. Michelle made a quilt and two pillows from our words and
images using paper, vinyl, all kinds of mixed media, and fabric.

While this is certainly a sculpture, I feel that the viewer participation
(bending down, reaching over, moving the quilt/pillows, reading, reading,
reading) also qualifies this as a book (bookwork, most likely). The quilt
can be considered as a cover. And, when not installed, all the parts
can be read up close, in one's lap. The bed turns into a series of
accordion fold books when not completely dissassembled, and everything
tucks back into a couple of boxes. (There's hidden structure underneath
when installed).

There's a "real" book version of this, with paper pages, head, foot,
spine, cover, reading stand, box, but I'll always think of the full-tilt
installation as a book too.



          Janet Maher, Assistant Professor, Department of Fine Arts
          Loyola College in Maryland, 4501 North Charles Street
          Baltimore, Maryland  21210-2699        (410-617-5545)

                (web) http://www.qis.net/~jmar/index.balto.html
                (email)  jmar@xxxxxxx

             "Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey
              to the ocean of meanings."             --Rumi

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