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Re: [BKARTS] Drucker Article



Douglas Sanders wrote:

Matthew- you offer that a
work should stand or fall on it's own merits, regardless of how it is
defined.  I would argue that you can't have one without the other.
Patrice- you speak about something that is made well and designed well-
right there you are creating definitions and boundaries.  There's
nothing wrong with this, of course. Nothing exists on its own-
everything is seen in relation to something else.  If we have no canon,
or body of criticism, as Johanna Drucker mentions, then there is no
basis for comparison by which to judge something. Something cannot be
judged on its own merits, by the very definition of the word judge,
which implies a comparison.

Douglas, you're absolutely right. Much as I shy away from the difficult work of definition, I can't picture a critique without it (the example I kept running in my head was: "I loved the novel The Kite Runner." There was no way to formulate that thought without referring to its essence as a story.). So I am going to execute a deft 180 and assert that it is impossible to evaluate the success of a work of art without seeing it in some sort of context. (Sorry, Patrice, for turning and running at the first whiff of resistance . . .)

This means, though, that I have to participate somehow (if only in my head) in the debate re: What the hell is a book? Because I am still a bit resistant to the idea that there must be a strict taxonomy of human creativity in order to respond to art, I suggest the broad category of "abstract books." I am under no illusion that this is an original idea; it may even be a terrible idea (I'm sure someone will let me know). But it serves as a nook for objects whose ancestors were books, and still have a few of their features.

And I am very happy if, at the end of the day, our ability to create outstrips our ability to classify.

Matthew

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