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more book art criticism

I am so taken up with the ideas posted about book art criticism. I have
been useless in my other lives because I have only been thinking about book
art. I have just started out on this journey of trying to think
constructively about book art. I feel so far behind some of the others on
this list that I cannot even see them on the road ahead. But none the less
I would like to ask a few questions about this subject and maybe contribute

Richard, the part of your methodology where you look for a balance of
Metaphor, Image and Material: I think in a similar way to this but for me
the elements you mention do not have to be so strongly balanced. If you
have the same strength of metaphor, image and material then the piece will
be balanced (this is Richard's first preference I suppose), but if (like on
a see-saw) you have greater emphasis on Image and less on Material you can
still get the piece to balance if you move the Image further from your
fulcrum and the Material closer to it. I cannot get this metaphor to work
with balancing three elements, but I hope you get my idea. So for me a
piece still works as an art piece if the metaphor is strongly emphasised
and the material, say, is less so. I hesitate to name examples not having
seen too many artists' books in the flesh, but take for example some of the
books produced in the 1920s when there was a reaction against traditional
art materials and possibly examples from the 1960s when the democratising
of art and art for the masses put a huge emphasis on the metaphor and image
and much less on materials. Weren't there artists' books that were just
mimeographed pages stapled together?

I was wondering if maybe the phases the book arts go through, like all art,
are just the different emphasis of the Metaphor, Material and Image. In the
Arts and Craft movement emphasis was on materials. In books like the Book
of Kells maybe emphasis is on image. Would books like these not be
considered good art using this Richard's MM&I methodology because the
elements are not balanced? I'm out of my depth here and would love to here
what others think.


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