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Re: BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 9 Sep 2001 to 10 Sep 2001 (#2001-242)

           See The Exhibition Online, And Order Your Catalog.

> From:    Richard Minsky <minsky@MINSKY.COM>
> A number of years ago MOMA had a geat show of Picasso and the
> African art that influenced him. Beside materials and personality, in
> Picasso we see African art through the eyes of the academically
> trained master painter. Picasso was the son of an art teacher, and had
> a rigorous classical European art education beginning in childhood.

I'm very happy to hear of the MOMA show - it sounds wonderful.  African and European
traditions have always had much to offer each other in terms of the development of
artistic expression.

> The sentence above was about work presented as being "new."
> Retrospectives and old work are not being presented as "new." Work
> becomes more valuable when the artist is dead because no more can be
> produced, because an estate is handling the work, and because
> secondary markets come into play. It would be very nice if book art
> had a secondary market.
> >It would be impossible for the artist to constantly tread 'new'
> >ground anyway within his or her field... only within his or
> >her own body of work.
> Picasso as example contradicts this.

Not really... if you take the international art world into consideration.  What was new
to the Europeans had been being done for hundreds of years in various regions of
Africa.  What Picasso did was incorporate what he saw into his own body of work, in his
own way... as, incidentally, many other Classical artists had done before him, only
within their own particular styles.

In terms of Book Arts, and African regional traditions... I imagine the history behind
the need for books must be for be the preservation of information in written form.  In
African tradition all information was recorded through strict memorization of epic
stories passed down through generations, or by various art forms.  I've been thinking
about it, and perhaps the closest to a 'book' in form, might be the woven fabrics filled
with symbolism, which preserve ancient stories.  Is this an area which book artists have
explored at all, to anyone's knowledge?  Would this be an old or new way of exploring
"book" structure, or what it means for an object to be considered a book?


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