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[BKARTS] Exhibited books and handling

It does seem silly, doesn't it, to confine a book in a glass case,
prohibiting the very interaction it was designed for. But there are many
books and objects that just can't be handled or they would cease to exist
before their time. Clearly, the decision to confine depends on the piece,
its rarity and condition etc.

Kudos to all artists and curators who take the time and trouble to allow
handling of a piece or its facsimile! It really enhances the experience and
raises awareness and appreciation *when it is feasible to do*...
This issue is one of the reasons I make limited editions rather than
one-of-a-kind works.

A note on digital versions: at my day job I make web sites for Octavo
(mentioned earlier in this discussion), publishers of rare books on CD, and
yes this can be a great way to look at every page of a book so rare only a
handful of people ever get to breathe its same air, etc. It's nice to look
at it on your own computer too, instead of just at a gallery kiosk.

Of interest lately was an article two weeks ago in the NYTimes ("Please
Touch the Art") about other uses of digital photos in gallery exhibitions,
from the old standby of the British Library's Turning Pages manuscript
viewing kiosks, to newer uses highlighting a Russian constructivist book, I
believe and others (I don't feel like spending $2.95 to re-read the article
online :-(. Also a sidebar on a DVD of photos of Joseph Cornell boxes
closeup which sounds really great. The article makes it sound as though more
and more exhibits are including digital, interactive photos as part of the

I encourage anyone who has the time and energy to photograph a book,
especially a sculptural artists book, and offer the images alongside the
original in an exhibition if the original cannot be handled. What a nice
thing to do for your audience.


Jocelyn Bergen
Zephyrine Press

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