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[BKARTS] # Re: [BKARTS] Drucker's Gate

Tonight I was reading the 1946 book The Little Magazine and there was a bit in there about Nietzsche's reflections on the artist, that Nietzsche despised the compromise which artists often make with society. Oddly enough there is this quote from the book, "Nietzsche was essentially a spokesman for the artist, who saw in his work justification for the artist's taking a stand against the errors and stupidities of his civilization." I don't know, does anyone really believe that organization around a set of criteria will validate the artist's book? and if so, to whom? And does that "whom" really matter in the long run?


Sorry, I must've hit a wrong button & sent an incomplete draft. Hee's the rest of it: ----

I'm glad to see the discussion continue along the thread Shireen, Mary and
Matthew are pursuing.

I posted the link to the LA Times review of the Getty show because it is
one of the few examples we see of a book art exhibition being commented on
beyond the insular community. The curators at the Getty are to be commended
for mounting a show that raises enough hackles to get a "real world"
critical response, however misguided, outdated, and ill-informed. There are
some real issues involved that Mr. Pagel has nailed.  If you missed it,
please do read it in its entirety:

Books that put viewers in a bind
*Artist-designed tomes at the Getty must be judged by their covers or a
couple of pages, which is fitting for this inaccessible genre.


Matthew wrote:
I still would love to see a critical, even harsh,
standard emerge for artists' books.

The standard for evaluating the aesthetic experience of an artist's book is not all that different from any other form. The methodology I use applies to self-evaluation during the creation of a Work, to curatorial selection or judging, and to critical analysis.

I  conduct workshops in "The Theory of Museum Finish." This started as a
syllabus for a course at The School of Visual Arts in New York City in the
late 1970's. It has evolved over the years. Simply put, the work needs to
have a balance between the object, image and metaphor. "Object" refers to
its properties of form and material. The image is what is represented, and
the metaphor is the essence of the Work that stimulates an internal
experience in the viewer. The viewer's attention shifts rapidly between
these three aspects creating the illusion of flickering or vibrating space
around the Work. That's what I call "Museum Finish."

Not every Work needs to be strong in all three elements. Good decorative
art has a strong object and image. Good illustration has a strong image and

There is a lot more to be said about this, and it goes into color theory
that is outside Itten, Albers and Goethe, with color meditations on the
Chakras, color healing, and retinal stimulation of the endocrine system.
Who is the audience for the Work and how does it create desire in the
viewer? What is the cognitive process in the aesthetic experience? Are
Mirror Neurons involved? In book art, is the work intended to be seen in a
vitrine, and if so, how does it communicate effectively from there? + + +

I agree with Shireen that a beginning book artist can create a meaningful
work, if that person brings something new from their other world and
presents it in a way that utilizes the book form as an essential part of
their message.

On the other hand, I have looked at perhaps 10,000 works of contemporary
book art during the last 30+ years, and understand the perception others
have of "amateurs" and " work that is merely personal." There are an awful
lot of clueless people in every field, and our is no exception. There IS a
lot of self-indulgent work by those who have no knowledge or understanding
of the history of book art before 1990. How many "flag books" have been
made by people who don't know that Hedi Kyle invented the form in 1979?

As the history of our field becomes more accurate and accessible, perhaps
we will see critics evolve who are better informed than Mr. Pagel and can
review exhibitions with reference to the substantive predecessors of the
works on display, rather than using their platform to exhort in
generalizations about the medium. Reading his review of artists' books was
like hearing George Bush comment on nucular (sic) energy.

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