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Re: Book Art History

Just a note to pass on, sorry it's after the fact.

Betty Bright lectured last night (10-26-95) at Minnesota Center for Book
Arts on "The Best of the Book Arts" -- it was an informative lecture which
looked at book arts of the last ten years through two lenses, that of what
Betty called "witness," and what she called "souvenir."

Books of witness, in this sense, were primarily books which sought to give
voice to experience. Thus these works were more content-driven, and Betty's
readings of them were primarily (but not entirely) readings of their content
and of how their content inspired their form.

The "souvenir" books were books which sought to make a statement primarily
about the book as form, or the book as cultural icon, or some other sense of
the book as metaphor.

As question and answer pointed out, such lenses are by no means opposites or
exclusive of one another. They did provide fascinating looks at some ways of
finding commonality among various practices in the book arts. And Betty's
talk provided exciting glimpses and understandings of works by Joyce Lyons,
Ricardo Bloch, Timothy Ely, Nancy Leavitt, Karen Wirth & Robert Lawrence,
Ken Campbell, David Rathman, Clarissa Sligh, Susan King, Buzz Spector, Keith
Smith, and several others.

My apologies to Betty if I've got any of this wrong or applied too much of
my own take on it. But I thought it was an important talk that people on
this list might want to know about. And one can only hope that we get more
glimpses of Betty's dissertation in progress, which promises to be a
wide-ranging reading of the recent history of the book arts (including
artist's books, deluxe books of many kinds, etc.).

an admiring reporter,
charles alexander

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