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Book Arts MoMA catalogue

I couldn't get to see the show, but bought the catalogue, paperback, $30. Oddly
enough, the comments by those who saw the show echoes my response to the
catalogue: HIGHLY eccentric and limited selection, especially when Castleman
moves outside of the deluxe book. Large-editioned offset-printed examples?
Ruscha must suffice (no surprise to see him gain entry into the MoMA book arts
canon, and we see that Diter Rot has arrived as well...but so few others who've
brought so much to the form are absent). And sculptural artists' books aren't
evidently book-enough for Castleman, either.

BUT the catalogue carries bunches of color plates that are helpful for studying
work at a remove, accompanied by helpful citations. The essay?? I got the
feeling that Ms. Castleman wrote it (as long as it is) rather quickly. I admit I
expected a bit MORE from it. For example, even though the Grolier Club's
American Livre de Peintre exhibition may not have broken new ground in what was
included, Robert Rainwater's catalogue essay was thoughtful, informative and
well worth the catalogue price.

Still, I recommend MoMA's catalogue, if you love looking at beautiful books. One
last word. In a Print Collector's Newsletter a few issues back, Castleman was
interviewed about the MoMA show. When asked if the show would travel, she
exclaimed, "No way. It's difficult to travel a book show." With all Castleman's
labors on behalf of books, still, let's hope her successor sees challenges like
exhibition outreach as opportunities rather than bothersome difficulties.


     Betty Bright, alias abd = :->
     Writer   Curator   Teacher

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