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Re: Cute but stupid
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: Cute but stupid
- From: Richard Minsky <minsky@MINSKY.COM>
- Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 12:14:09 -0500
- Message-Id: <199703241725.JAA19197@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
It seems there's still more to this issue. There are several misconceptions about the significance of this subject to Book Art. Clearly some subscribers are into it, others are uninterested. Anyone who doesn't want to follow or participate can delete it from their inbox. (Thanks Nicky for throwing more fuel on the fire.)
>But I see that there's little room for humor
The humor was good, and it was a springboard for discussion of some real issues. I thought my virtual blank book titled "Walking on Fire" was a funny and entertaining rejoinder to the "quit the flaming" post. And the bumper sticker was inserted at an appropriate point as well (karma/dogma).
>Skip it if you're tired of all this
>poop that doesn't answer one question about making books.
For some of us this poop is at the heart of making books. Our field needs some decent art criticism based on a solid philosophical foundation. Book Art is not the same as the book crafts. One can come up with standards for bookbinding structures which address the archival properties. Standards for Art are somewhat more elusive. For those of us who spend their decades pondering the nature of the aesthetic experience and its turn of the millenium incarnation, it is impossible to make a new object which is called "Book Art" without addressing the substance of its material, structure, image and metaphor.
As Nick and Jeff point out, it is possible to focus on the making of the object itself, and in the process of that achieve something which becomes art. Books are particularly (I almost said "dangerously") easy to do this with, because they are, as objects, cultural icons dripping with metaphor. For the Master who has practiced the craft with Zen-like intensity for many decades, the meditation on form/material/doing can raise the object produced to the level of aesthetic presence.
>The future of book arts is not endangered by *anything* or *anyone*.
Just a little rhetoric to get your attention.
>It's been over 50 years since the birth of modern art - a form that created
>a commercially viable industry called the "art market."
Actually over a hundred years-- I'll credit Cezanne with changing the way people saw in that era, but everyone has their opinion. Albert Pinkham Ryder was a precursor of de Kooning, and we could discuss interesting art history stuff all day. But Nick's right about the "Art World", and Picasso was the precursor of Warhol. Actually, as I look at it, Kahnweiler was the precursor Castelli. The relation of dealers, collectors, curators, writers and artists is a great topic for another discussion. It's not about art anymore. It's about money. That's part of why Duchamp became a chess player, and so many artists today have given up making and switched to meditating.
But to those of us for whom making is the meditation, the other issues are very much alive.
>Richard, you are guilty of the same thing you accuse the traditionalist of:
>If someone disagrees with your view of the book arts world, you have to
>hammer them. Lighten up - there's more than one way to be a book artist.
If I'm not mistaken, I was the first to curate an inclusive exhibit of Book Art, and to create an organization which made inclusion of all forms of Book Art its mission. (In case any new subscribers don't know about this, I am the Founder of the Center for Book Arts (1974), which provides training and workshops in traditional book crafts and has mounted over 140 exhibits which have included work which is historical, traditional, contemporary, international, multicultural, sculptural, and many other adjectives).
Sloppy thinking is to philosophy what sloppy craft is to art.