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[BKARTS] Artistsboksonline/Telling of the Booarts World

Scott Teplin wrote: I'm sorry that you took my criticism of the state of artist books personally. It wasn't aimed at your site, your collection (and certainly not you)..............
I'd like to clarify that the artistsbook site is not MY site - I just brought it to the attention of the list. So I didn't take your comments personally - I just thought they were unduly negative. Perhaps the status/state of artist books is different in the US. There may be a good case to despair over the sad state of the bookarts world, but I don't think this site whose primary aim is educational typifies it.

Thank you for putting up Jerry Saltz article. I agree that much of what passes for criticism is just description or marketing - not just in the art world, but in all forms of writing, including political writing. Certainly in Australia this spills over into all forms of criticism, not just visual arts. It may be symptomatic of the state of the western world that 'critics' (and artists) are discouraged in subtle and not so subtle ways from expressing unfavourable comment. One also sees a different, but similar position within the education system where every student must be praised; where competition and reward for intelligence and excellence are downplayed in the name of fairness or equity or just making sure the dollars keep rolling in. There seems to be a culture of encouraging the exclusion of negative comment from almost all parts of public life - but negaitivity is still alive and well in private discission, although often not as part of a considered arguement.

However Saltz also says: " Skill has nothing to do with technical proficiency; it has to do with being flexible and creative."

I disagree. I think skill has everything to do with technical proficiency. It is art that has to do with being flexible and creative, not skill. There is room for both - for technical skill and creativity, and while true creativity is not dependent on skill, it certainly does help an artist to have the necessary skills to express their ideas. I remember my first months as a textile arts student being distressed when my teacher, a master weaver, made me learn how to spin thread and build my own loom before I began any sort of weaving. I just wanted to get in there and be 'creative'. Now, many years and much study later I look back often and thank him for the lesson, that it is only when we have control over our medium that we can use it to say what we want. There's room for building on historical context and on the technical skills of the past. Not all art needs to be 'NEW' or confrontational.

Judy Barrass

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