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handling/exhibiting books

It was gracious of Miriam to follow-up on her posting.  I am interested in
this discussion and appreciate hearing different points of view regarding
the difficult problem of exhibiting artists books, and thought she made
thoughtful posts in her first posting.
      All of us in the field need to address these questions, and it's most
useful to have a broad disucssion on the subject so that as individual we
don't each have to reinvent the wheel.
      Some books are simply too fragile to be handled promiscuously in an
exhibit. My personal preference is for books that can be handled, and
working with editions makes this a little less dangerous. I understand that
one of a kinds (and I make some myself) are more precious. But I love to
handle books.
      The onus is on us to educate. Though we book artists won't agree on
all points, perhaps there are some general standards we could enumerate,
and this could be used when we give presentations, teach, meet with
curators and museum handlers, etc.
      I would like to have people's opinions on the above and also a
practice for handling that has already been referred to: white gloves. I
don't know what the current thoughts in conservation are on this practice,
but I think they are problematic. The good thing about the white gloves is
that they convey the idea "handle with care" but I think that once the
gloves are on they lead to clumsy handling and the transfer of dirt. I was
recently wondering (at an exhibit) about the possibility of having a
portable sink and towels. I think it sounds ridiculous, but I would rather
someone simply washed their hands and handled my books, then wear gloves.
      Already mentioned was a wonderful suggestion for a book stand. I
think that more thought could be given to similar hanging and installation
devices. I once had to display some very small unique book folios that were
fragile. I didn't want them behind glass, and preferred that they weren't
handled a lot, but didn't want to make that impossible. I made very long
bridge like shelves hung at eye level that projected two feet from the wall
and put the book at the outer edge. Viewers could get in very close to look
at these pieces, and though they weren't tied down or covered people didn't
pick them up or disturb them.
      I'm going on vacation so may miss some posts but I'll look through
the archives when I get back.
I hope I haven't been too long- winded. Is there any thought on developing
some recommended standards, or reviewing some that already exist?
Tracy Honn
Silver Buckle Press
236 Memorial Library
728 State Street
Madison, WI 53706

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