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Re: [BKARTS] Drucker's Gate



Hi, all, from yet another lurker.  It seems to me that Drucker hits on occasional inflammatory words and phrases that incite a fear of being dismissed in her readers.  Don't get distracted!  We all play an equal role in defining the field through our work and our discussion of it.  I think that Drucker acknowledges this and is primarily trying to get the discussion going.  

I'd like to address the suggestion that we should leave criticism to the critics because I believe that both criticism and art suffer when they are divorced from one another.  Self-evaluation of one's work is part of the creative process, and developing a shared vocabulary for this evaluative process helps us to identify what we are already doing intuitively, which in turn allows us to push our work and innovations to new heights.  And a number of people have mentioned the dismissive attitude that many people have of the artist's book; I don't want to entrust exclusive critical rights to those outside the field!  

Drucker's general statements for assessment of a work (what is the project and how did the artist execute that project) are standard, I would think, in most artistic disciplines.  As a current MFA candidate in a book arts program, I have been thinking a lot about how we evaluate and contextualize our work.  I felt that I left my undergraduate work with a good language and context for discussing 2D work, and I gained a critical language for discussing the book format through work in children's literature utilizing the picture book format.  When I started the MFA program, I was surprised how few tools most of us seem to have for discussing the book format, including people making sophisticated work and who may have a highly developed vocabulary for discussing photography, for example.  Part of the work ahead is simply about starting to share and utilize the language we have for discussing how a book works.  Part of the work involves learning to place ourselves within the artists' book community--which is exceedingly difficult in a field where a work cannot be experienced or even understood except through direct contact and where a comprehensive canon (for lack of a better word; feminism makes me suspicious of the term) can be listed or accessed.

I'd also like to suggest that instead of focusing any energy on whether or not a particular work is a book, or defining what a book is, we accept that it is and ask of a work *how* it is functioning as a book.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts on the article,

Mary Tasillo

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