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Re: BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - Poorly shown books



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Jennifer and all exhibiting book artists:
    I've had experiences on both sides of this issue.  In my first solo
exhibition outside of graduate school, I had several books trashed
outright by someone who was apparently in disagreement with their
content.  This was at a university gallery.  I got a hefty insurance
payment and was able to rebuild the books, but since then, if I want the
book to be handled by the public, I very seriously overbuild it. I also
will not exhibit hands-on books in a gallery without a full-time
attendant.  And, lastly, the books are always accompanied by
instructions *and* any necessary accessories for their safe display.
Since the work is unusual, I do not assume that the gallery will provide
these.
    For the past two years, I've been running the exhibitions at the
Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts.  I am often
appalled at the haphazard way I receive books/artworks.  It's very rare
for someone to send a sketch or a stand or anything at all indicating
that they may have a preference for the display of their work.
    If you do have specific preferences, it is certainly NOT out of line
to let the gallery know this before the show - like when or before you
ship it.  I am conscientious and always try to find the best way to
display work, to treat it as well as I would my own, but I am not
psychic.  At least part of the responsibility lies with the artist/
bookbinder.  If you want the work displayed a certain way, send a clear
diagram and the necessary hardware, or stand, or whatever.  If you're
not sure the gallery can accomodate your request, contact them in
advance - rather than showing up at the opening and whining and making
demands.  (I am thinking of an "artist" who threw a fit at an opening
earlier this year because she wanted a different page displayed than the
one I had.  Had she indicated this?  No - I "should have known".
Puh-leeze! I'll think twice about ever selecting this person's work
again.)  You can't assume people will know what you want *unless you
communicate it*.  Be responsible for your own work!
respectfully, firmly,
Melissa Jay Craig

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