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Re: Book Art vs. Book Arts



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What's wrong with the arts and crafts movement. The book arts are an art
form, as well as a craft. Once the craft is lost, and we are heading that
way, the art goes too. As I look at what is being created under the
umbrella of book arts, I see many art forms, not just one. At the same
time, the definition of book is being stretched ad absurdum.

I think this is silly and absurd, like much of todays PC language. What is
it really trying to say. Why not say "unique artist's books," or  "unique
books"? ACK!

>The website for the exhibition Judith announced does not use the phrase Book
>Art, but says "This is an exhibit of  one-of-a-kind-artist-made books...."
>
>I am curious what other listmembers think about this.

Not really. I think more people might ask, "where's the book in the art?"
Also some of the work may be provincial, traditional and non-traditional
alike. Does sameness = provincial?

>1. Does the term "Book Arts" provincialize our work?

Why would it? We are making whatever we consider "books," and trying to
call it "art," or is it the other way around? ;>

>2. Does it limit the recognition or consideration of the work?

I think that has more to do with the relatively low esteem books are held
in, in our culture. I think we are also our own worst enemies in terms of
financial value, with some very nicely done editioned works selling for
less than many tradebooks. Look at the prices some are charging for their
"journals." The materials +  time could easily exceed sale price. I would
say that in most cases we are dragging ourselves down. We need to
continually educate our public (whatever that may be), provide them with
the highest quality work for their $$$, and stop selling ourselves short.
This may result in a selection/weeding out process among "artists," but
hopefully the best will survive, and thrive in a more educated marketplace.

>3. Does it impose a low financial value on the work, compared to other art
>forms?

See comment at beginning. I would certainly prefer "Book Art," but then
might we not need to define "book" and "art?" (Again?!?!?!?)

>4. Is "Book Art" any better? Is a phrase like "one-of-a-kind-artist-made
>books"
>a better solution, even though it is awkward?

Depends on we pigeonhole things. Which of many "Book Art Movements" are we
referring to? What kinds of "things" are we talking about. Many works
described as "artist's books" seem less than creative entities; paralleling
a similar situation in which "traditional" 1/4 leather books with marbled
sides try to be fine/design bindings. With that I mean to say that they
have become equally trite and pedestrian.  They may be skillfully executed
craft, but not fine/design bindings. I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get
the drift.

>5. Do we need a concept like "Book Art Movement" to position the field?  Is it
>in fact a movement?

Not familiar with it, but perhaps need to be, quickly.

>6. If so, is Ulises Carrion's _The New Art of Making Books_ the Manifesto? If
>not that, then what?

See #5. It's a sameness propagated by all the new "manuals" coming out, and
a general simplification necessitated by todays "instant gratification"
insanity where everyone can learn to make a book, easily with no muss, no
fuss. This is the same world in which we expect to find everything online,
and free. Of course on reflection much could be said of all the traditional
bookbinding manuals, many of the classics of which in contrast were
directed at the trades. Then again, I don't remember seeing these passing
of the result as art, but as craft.

>7. Is it just my point of view as a geezer, or has anyone else noticed that a
>lot of "Book Arts" stuff being done today looks like it came from a Hallmark
>Gift Shoppe? Does this indicate the popularization of the field among the Mall
>crowd? Is it due to the recent plethora of Bookbinding "craft project" books?
>--
>  Richard

Peter


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen
<mailto:verheyen@philobiblon.com>
<http://www.philobiblon.com/philobiblon>

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