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Re: [BKARTS] "Artists' Books" in Literature

Hey Phil--

Glad you jumped in on this!

>your 'rant', though interesting, is perhaps a little out of date.

That's right. It's 1976. It's an homage to Albert M. Fine, the true soul of

Anyway, it got you in here in 2004, so it worked!

>Even Clive Phillpot, who you mentioned in your post,

I missed that part-- where was that? Anyway, glad you brought him in to say
it's softer.

>Although I think Altamira and Lascaux are great artistic works, I don't
>how they fit into the history of the book as artistic medium.

I always start "history of the illustrated book" slide shows with that.
Just because the walls weren't portable doesn't mean there weren't
narrative image sequences intended to be preserved for humans. They are the
most archival ones we know. It just took a coupla dozen millennia to invent
the codex. Goes back to Ulises' manifesto-- a book is a sequence of

>The same with Hiroshige.

The point was, as you indicate, the similarity of concept and title between
Ruscha and Hiroshige. In any event, a quick search of bookfinder.com shows
available editions of "Tokkaido" in book form from 1864, 1900, 1918, 1960,
and more, so Ruscha may well have seen it as a book before he was old
enough to drive.

Your query seems to be: Does it have to be bound to be a book?

>exceptions like Matisse's' Jazz

Love it!

>I would add 'intention' to Form and Content as a way of defining

I stopped using "bookness" after I had tea with Philip Smith in Redhill
(Surrey) and after that he started claiming he invented it. Let's bury it
along with "artist's book."

>like Kiki Smith or Anselm Kiefer

Kiki was a Center for Book Arts student.  Anselm wasn't.

>Why ghettoize?

To quote a great sage: "I would add 'intention' to Form and Content."

>I am really curious about how Casamassima influenced form and/or
>Hedi Kyle. Could you tell us more about this?

Hedi was the Chief Conservator at the New York Botanical Gardens Library
before she took the comparable position in Philadelphia at the American
Philosophical Society. An important part of her work was in the development
of preservation enclosures. That led to her concertina structures, which
led to the flag book. Hedi is one of those great people who is a
conservator and an artist. Read my article about that:

The whole concept of the importance of having a wide variety of
preservation enclosures came out of the work done at the Biblioteca
Nazionale Centrale in response to the flood damage.  Applying the concept
of triage to books was a brilliant breakthrough, because it was the
inspiration that conservation is a battlefield, and the same rules apply.
The extent of the damage, the sheer quantity of books that needed
attention, led to that, and Casamassima was the dude who grokked it in
fullness. His passion for the library motivated the resources necessary to
bring in Peter Waters, who was the right person for the job, and a big
enough team to deal with the situation.

The work that was done there changed the way people thought about
conservation and preservation. That's what led to the concepts that set up
the situation that enabled the administrators to establish a budget for a
position that identified Hedi as the person to be paid a salary to develop
structures for library conservation.

People in the arts are just beginning to realize that much of the
development that takes place goes beyond the individual artist, and relates
to the institutions that are set up as support structures. This has long
been realized in most other fields of human endeavor, but the myth of the
garret artist has had an extremely important position in the marketplace,
as romantic illusion is 99% of the value attributed to artworks. Van Gogh.


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