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Re: Book Shaped Objects

> On Thu, 14 Jul 1994, Peter Graham wrote:
> > Most of Anselm Kiefer's "books" are simulacra, i.e. they are book-shaped
> > objects (BSO's).  One piece is his enormous shelves full of lead books with
> > pages of lead sheets.  
> > 
> i am curious what the difference between a book and a book shaped object 
> is. are there criteria that an object needs to have to become a book? 
> Websters 2nd. , first definition defines a book as "in general, a written 
> or printed narrative, record, representation, or series of these" 
> my interest is very pragmatic- how an object/book is defined affects how/ 
> where is is exibited, collected, written about, etc... .
> peter,i had a suprisingly similar experience at that kiefer show, i think it 
> was called "40 years of solitude" i was looking at the stacks of books on 
> the table, and a gallery attendant was standing behind an 
> obviously wealthy prospective customer, letting her flip through the 
> book. so i went up to the table and opened one. "sir, you are not allowed 
> to handle these" was the immediate response from the attendant.  "what 
> about her" i asked, pointing to the other lady. the attendant then said 
> she would handle the book for the lady, saying to her in a vaguely 
> english accent "it's politics, you understand."

From:  Peter Graham, Rutgers University Libraries

I'm fascinated by your anecdote at the gallery; I didn't describe how in my
miffed reaction I made some noise as I left in dudgeon.

A BSO is something shaped like a book that isn't a book.  Kiefer's lead Book
Shaped Objects are in the shape of a book but don't have information on them
(as I understand) nor do I think they have pages that turn, etc. 

Actually I take the term from a New Yorker article I read 15 years ago about
young pianists, and how they are constantly on tour.  Apparently among the
young pianists there's a term for the kind of musical instrument they often
ran into in, say, Latin America:  they were occasionally doomed to play on a
PSO, or piano shaped object.  My analogy here doesn't work, because at least
they could play the PSO; one can't read a BSO.  --pg

Peter Graham    psgraham@gandalf.rutgers.edu    Rutgers University Libraries
169 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08903   (908)445-5908; fax (908)445-5888
CHANGE 7/1 from (908)932-xxxx to (908) 445-xxxx (not all of Rutgers changes)

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