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Re: [BKARTS] Open book... ways to display and experience the works ...

Hi: Just wanted to make a few comments on hands-on exhibits.

In 30 years of curating, organizing and exhibiting I have run into
this problem many times.  As Roberta says one of the joys of making
books is watching someone read them, seeing their mind, eyes, fingers
move from  page to page as they experience what you have done. And as
a viewer it is  nice to  have that opportunity. But of course this is
not possible many times with one of a kind books  or very small
editioned and expensive work. I believe it is important for viewers
to have that experience and so have tried to present hands-on  books
when ever I have done an exhibition.

In an exhibit I did for De Paul University, I set aside an area
furnished with chairs and tables for visitors to sit and read. Books
were specifically chosen for this area that were editioned and were
purchased from the artists.

An exhibit Artist Book Works, (I was Co-founder & Director) did for
the state of Illinois Building gallery included pedistals with
editioned works attached with wire.  Again purchased from the
artists.  That show traveled for a couple of years and many of the
works were badly worn, but we had replacements. It was at the
Cultural Center here and seen by thousands.  I think people do
respect books and try to treat them well, but the natural wear and
tear can't be avoided.  At least by purchasing the work, the artist
benefits as well as the viewers.

For one of the exhibits I did at the Columbia College Book and Paper
Center (ABW merged with Paper Press & Columbia in 1994) we had a
mechanical contraption that turned the pages.  It was only OK and
needed to be fixed a lot  as I remember.  At MOMA a number of years
ago, in the "A Century of Artists Books" exhibition, there was a
black box like a kiosk that you stood in front of and inside a video,
I think, showed the Matisse Jazz book at eye level as if your hand
was turning the pages. I can't remember if you moved a lever. Anyone
remember that? It was a good way to experience a book without
actually touching it cause you could get into the rhythm and the flow
of the work.

Of course, now you can get famous books on CD's that give you the
ability to move from page to page, to zoom in, get more data and on
and on. I think one company is Octavia or similar. I saw a demo at a
conference some  years ago. I'm sure we will be doing more of this
electronically as time goes on.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I believe this is an important topic
to be discussed.

Best Barbara

Barbara Lazarus Metz


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