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Re: [BKARTS] Artists' books and exhibitions and bindings



Aren/t some people getting just a bit precious?  You don't put on a pair of
gloves when you go into Borders, or any other bookshop selling new books. And
some of those books can cost hundeds of dollars. And don't you just hate it
when a book has been shrinkwrapped in plastic, and you can't open it to see
what you are buying?

And who said that books lose their value once used. I don't see copies of the
Gutenberg Bible getting any cheaper!!!

But ok - the book may have had a custom binding, and so what is really being
exhibited is the one-off binding. Ie custom for the binder, rather than the
publisher/printer. Nothing wrong with having custom bindings, and one can
well understand that the proud owner of the book would not want it damaged,
and thus not on openable display.

Similarly for the one-off artwork book - there are no copies, so it is not
intended for general use, but solely for the use of the one purchaser. So
again, by all means, put it in a glass case, or handle it with kid gloves.
But aren't such 'books' really works of art, and not books?

Having said that, it is always a worry when we exhibit our books at fairs,
that people drop cigarette ash in them, pick them up with wet fingers, etc.
But we steadfastly refuse to insist that they cannot look at them, or must
wear gloves - whatever the price of the book, or the amount of work that went
into it. Because it is a book, meant to be opened and read. (Actually, more
damage has come from our books that have been sent in to exhibitions that are
in glass cases, than from books on open tables at fairs. Usually because the
gallery/exhibitor has mishandled the book when displaying it, or mailing it
back to us).

Picking up Peter's point about collaboration between printer and binder, we
as printer equally enjoy working with a sympathetic binder, who can take on
board the essence of what we are trying to produce, and then invest it with
his/her own personality as a binder. It adds to the book. Nor do we have any
objection when our books are bought in sheets, and completely re-interpreted
by a binder for a customer. After all, once one has sold the sheets, one has
no ownership over what happens thereafter. And if the result ends up in a
glass case in an exhibition, so be it - but as I said, it is probably the
binding that is being exhibited, and not the book!

Davvid Bolton, The Alembic Press

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