English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

December 15, 2009

Artist’s Books

Filed under: Uncategorized — mojde @ 11:45 pm

” It’s easy enough to state that an artist’s book is a book created as an original work of art, rather than a reproduction of a preexisting work” (2) as Johanna Drucker explains in The Century of Artist’s Books, but the definition leads her to the  questions about “originality”, uniqueness, the maker, or whether the artist is the person who has the idea or people who were involved in the other aspects of the productions, and many other questions.  Also she questions about the form of the book.

We’ve been seeing and experiencing Artist’s Books for a few weeks now. We studied Keith Smith and we got our hands on books in Oviatt Library’s archive and Getty Research Institute. We have many old hand-written books and that was basically the main way writers were making their books, but as we see and Drucker states, “the artist’s book has become a developed artform in 20th century” (1). So we see a new form and style of books by Julie Chen, and those of Edward Ruscha; Artists who do books and Artists who make “pieces”.

I totally agree with what Drucker says that “This is a field in which there are underground, informal, or personal networks which allow growth to surface in a new environment, or moment, or through a chance encounter with a work, or an artist”(11).  I think the artist who is making the book is growing in a new environment and the person who is viewing or ‘reading’ the book is growing in a new environment and they both grow and experience in a new moment. “This is also a field in which there are always inventors and numerous mini-genealogies and clusters, but a field which bellies the linear notion of a history with a single point of origin” (11). I would relate what is said here to the handmade books made by students, which I assume it was probably mostly their first experiences, such as myself. However, I would say they were definitely inventors of their kind by creating the forms of books that was probably unimaginable by general understanding of a traditional book form.

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