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Re: [BKARTS] Drucker's Gate

Shireen Holman wrote:

I think her ideas are sound when she talks about evaluating a book on its
success at communicating an idea. All aspects of a book need to work
together as a whole - the structure, imagery, text (if there is a text),
materials - in order to communicate the essential point of the book. I
don't agree that an artist should be able to establish him/herself
within a
tradition or trend. Giving names to 'conventions' or putting art into
categories is a job for historians and critics, not for artists. A good
artist is concerned with what he/she has to say, and how to say it, not
with what category her/his works falls into. The whole idea of a 'culture
of gate-keeping' is, I think, very foreign to artists.

I'm not certain how foreign the culture of gate-keeping is to artists;
in fact, I fear it is a constant concern for people who would like to
live by their art. After all, a passion for an unpopular or
out-of-fashion style will keep an artist out of galleries, and thus out
of public sight. And since many (if not most) serious artists develop
their art over many years in dialog with the larger arts community, I
suspect gate-keeping has a much broader effect than any reasonable
person would like.

I agree that an artist's concern should not be with fitting their
creativity into a category, but responding seriously to criticism has to
be part of a public artist's work -- if you are making something with
the intention that others will view it, and take something away from the
experience, then you have to listen to what people are seeing in your
work. *One* of the things that affects how people see art is the way
they categorize it; we all do it, it makes life a lot easier. Sadly, it
can lead to people missing the message of someone's work; it allows for
laziness in the viewer. Knowing this, and knowing to how to use it to
advantage, can be a powerful tool for an artist.

Artists' book are a tough racket. It's hard enough to be good at one
thing (calligraphy, say, or bookbinding), but to make a first-rate
artists' book you have to succeed in both two dimensions and three, with
a variety of media, *and* tell a story (somehow, maybe not with words).
Frankly, this scares the bejesus out of me; I don't want to look back at
the things I made and think "Oh, crap. This is embarrassing." But I
still would love to see a critical, even harsh, standard emerge for
artists' books. Having a tough set of standards to aspire to is not such
a bad thing, sometimes.

Matthew Garelick

Edelpappband / ?Millimeter? Binding Bind-O-Rama, Entry Deadline - October 1, 2005

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