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[BKARTS] Drucker Article



I've finally read and am digesting Johanna Drucker's article in the latest
issue of The Bonefolder and hope that the discussion started a couple
weeks ago continues on list.

As the number of qualifiers in her article point out,
the "artist's book" community has build a warm fuzzy mutual
admiration society that doesn't allow for much serious criticism (in
public).
The double edged sword in fostering vigorous criticism is that we risk being
told our work doesn't measure up - something artists in other media risk all
the time.
The nurturing environment has also fostered some really wonderful work.

If the new critics come from a pool of book arts practitioners, the cry of
sour grapes or favoritism (given the incestuous factions of practitioners)
is always there. Even most curators are heavily involved in the community of
artists they're collecting. (This isn't an attack on others...if anyone has
benefited
from warm fuzzy incestuous-ness, it's me)  Alternately, I'm interested to
know
if established art critics are moving towards looking at and writing about
artists' books. It's rare to see anything in Art in America or even the
British
art publications.

There are a few artists in the NW who are exhibiting books in contemporary
art galleries as opposed to strictly the library circuit, but the collectors
(of art in general, not book art) haven't caught up. I asked a prominent
collector
who has a blue chip print collection (among MANY other works) if he
collected
any artist's books (by other artists, wasn't promoting my work) and he
looked
at me as if I'd suggested he add a few Beanie Babies to the mix.

One thing that would help us look at work more critically would be to do
away with jurying from slides. That's what allows pieces with flashy
structures to dominate the exhibit landscape, sometimes at the expense of
better works that may not translate well in a slide - especially when
an artist's statement isn't allowed.

Of course, most discussions end in the old conundrum...how can people become
passionate about collecting books - and gaining enough hands-on (literally)
experience to start thinking and writing about them critically - if we
exhibit work
under glass? It reminds me of the scene in Young Frankenstein on the train
platform when Madeleine Kahn is sending-off Gene Wilder. She's being
extremely titillating until the second he actually tries to touch her, then
she jerks back.."oh, the hair, watch the hair!"

Thoughts?

all the best,
Roberta

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