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Re: Cute but stupid



> What was this first exhibition? when
>was it? what were its parameters? did it include work in all the areas
>above? how was such work chosen? was it an invitational? was it open to
>submission? I'm interested personally in tracing some of the early history
>of book arts exhibitions.


I wish there was a graduate student out there who would tackle this project.=
 After 25 years of exhibitions my recollections are uncertain as to exactly=
 which was when. There are records buried deep in the bowels of the Center,=
 in cardboard boxes, along with slides, announcements, etc. I recall the=
 first year or two of the Center (on Bleecker St-- 1974-6) showing Douglass=
 Morse Howell's handmade paper art, Barton Lidice Benes "Letters from My=
 Aunt Evelyn" (along with his famous "Censored Book" and some other=
 sculptural works), Stella Waitzkin's cast resin books, Daniel Gibson=
 Knowlton's leather bookbindings, quite a few typographic letterpress=
 editions by various small publishers, "Pleasure Beach" by Syl Lebrot (a=
 photographic bookwork where the artist made his images in the process of=
 making color separations), calligraphy, offset printed artists books, Marty=
 Greenbaum's collage books, and poetry composed in hand type ("written" by=
 the poet while setting it in lead). At that time I organized the=
 exhibitions, selected the work (invitational except for the annual artist=
 members' show, which was by submission), produced the catalog if any, and=
 hung the show.=20

In the beginning the Center just had me and my three apprentices: Robert=
 Espinoza, Gloria Zuss and Bob Bretz. It was these three very hard working=
 and dedicated people who made it possible. I was President and Executive=
 Director for the first two years. The Board of Directors consisted of=
 myself, my friend Nick Caraccio (who makes violin bows) and Rick Wall, from=
 Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, who did the Incorporation. I had started=
 the apprenticeship program when I had a storefront=
 bookbindery/printshop/art gallery in Queens, and when I closed that I had=
 the apprentices in my Queens apartment. I found the storefront on Bleecker=
 St (where I am now, typing this mesage) one night on my way to CBGB to see=
 Patti Smith and Television. In 1984 the Center moved to its current=
 location around the corner on Broadway.

We have always had members in every area of the field. Do you have the=
 catalog of the 10th anniversary show (1984)? It's _The First Decade_,=
 curated by Francis O. Mattson (then Curator of Rare Books at NYPL), and was=
 the first major contemporary book art exhibit at the NYPL in the main=
 building on 5th Ave. There were 112 artists represented by 132 works. I=
 believe you can still get the catalog from CBA.


>You said, "Sloppy thinking is to philosophy what sloppy craft is to art."
>It's also possible, though, to make art with no craft at all -- in a way,
>that's what conceptual artists have done. In many of the Fluxus
>publications, I believe, there is no or little craft (but certainly not in
>all) -- yet some of them are effective as art nonetheless.
>
>The only thing I worry about with such statements about "sloppy thinking,"
>is that sometimes, in philosophy, and in art, breakthrough thinking, or
>breakthrough imaginative acts, don't take the form of what, up to that
>point, has been considered to be appropriate thinking or appropriate craft.

That's right. Sometimes you have to slop around just to break out of a set=
 way of thinking. Not all Philosophy is based on logic, as not all Art is=
 based on craft. Let's not forget that Philosophers once debated how many=
 angels could dance on the head of a pin. And sometimes you have to throw=
 paint at the canvas.

By the way, it _is_ amateur hour in the twilight zone. For a serious=
 discussion of such things, I subscribe to the "aesthetics" mailing list.=
 For the last few weeks the discussion has been about "disinterestedness" as=
 a requisite for aesthetic perception. Plotinus, Kant, Derrida, and much=
 more. You can send the command=20

subscribe aesthetics Your Name=20

to: Majordomo@majordomo.ucs.indiana.edu

            Richard
            http://minsky.com


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