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[BKARTS] Trends and influences



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Hello book arts list readers, I'm writing to ask you "what trends and or
influences have you noticed in the book arts this last year?"

....

 Thanks Daved



One significant trend that I have seen in the last several years is a change
in attitude throughout the _artist book_ world. There is less of the political
infighting and propagandizing that was evident in the earlier history of the
movement. There is also a growing acceptance of craft concerns and traditional
techniques. Only a few years ago one of the leading artists book journals was
still spelling craft with a capital K and the traditional _fine press_ book,
though clearly a straw dog, was a designated opponent.

Much critical writing on artists books has attempted to find historical
precedents while at the same time associating the contemporary fine press book
to its historical past. As a fine press printer-publisher for over twenty-six
years I have been troubled with this as I have never thought my work or that
of my contemporaries ever had any significant connection to traditional
rationale as much as it had with the entire _book arts_ phenomenon of the
last-third of the twentieth century. One of the few collections that I know of
that seems to see the book arts movement in this perspective is the V & A.

It was such a hard fought struggle to get libraries and museums interested in
maintaining collections of artists books in the first place. Now it is just as
difficult to get them to think outside of the box. I recently had a major
institution (that maintains an artists book collection) reject my books
because they have subject/content.

As far as I have been able to find, there has been little critical thinking
that the entire contemporary book arts movement is a post-war generational
phenomenon unique onto itself and, except for aesthetic patterning, without
actual historical connection. I suspect if it were thought of in this way
there would be much more solidarity throughout, and significance accorded to,
the entire spectrum of the movement.

All best

Gerald

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