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Exhibition of Books

Dear Friends
    I responded on the list to Audrey Niffenegger's question about one-
person shows. She responded to me personally and I only responded to
part of her question. The other part is something I think there could be
more dialogue on- she asked me, "what do you and other artists think are
the best sort of shows, what would serve the book arts community most?
Because in addition to being an artist, I also work for Columbia's Book
and Paper Center." So I'll put my two cents in on this matter and hope
others have comments as well.
    I guess I would have to say a combination. I think group shows are a
particularly good way to introduce the book arts. I have been part of
several shows that were intended as a kind of survey of what's going on
in the book arts that were enthusiastically received by the viewers. I
like that kind of introduction to a form I'm not familiar with myself. I
remember seeing a show on embroidery that thrilled me. It's always
exciting to see all your preconceptions about something blown away. And
I think collected works kind of book arts show can do that. As a viewer,
I like theme shows. As an artist, I find them frustrating because I
pretty much generate my themes from within and don't often find a match.

    As an artist, I think solo shows are important for both personal and
career growth. Putting together a body of work to be exhibited together
requires a deeper level of commitment to the material than creating
individual pieces for group shows. (I tend to see all my work as one
giant solo exhibition which has serious drawbacks. I treat all my work
as an evolving body and when a piece no longer fits in that evolving
body, I either chuck it or take it apart and recycle it. I like to think
this evolving body has merit, but it certainly stays small.) And, if it
all comes together, it's a great feeling to see it all gathered in a
room. I think it's also important in terms of career and resume. Again,
I think it illustrates a level of commitment and the ability to assemble
a body of work.
    I hope this helps, and that others have thoughts to add.

in good spirit,

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA

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