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Re: [BKARTS] * Re: [BKARTS] Review: "The Artist and the Book in Japan"



Paul--

Better for the viewer to have the books continuously
on display under very low light (although perhaps not
better for the books), than the exhibition of the
Leonardo Notebook some years back at the American
Museum of Natural History which exposed the pages of
the Notebook to the very murky light only minutes at a
time, while viewers raced around trying to figure out
which page was emerging next while being elbowed out
of the way by fellow exhibition-goers for a brief
glimpse of the page. 

The American Museum of Natural History, another
not-for profit institution devoted to the
dissemination of knowledge and well-funded by New York
City taxpayers, charges admission to its special
exhibits. So, the NYPL is to be applauded for not
doing so. My guess would be that the City does not
provide funding for the "special exhibitions" at
either venue.

I also criticize curatorial viewpoint when I attend
unsatisfactory exhibitions, often much to the dismay
of friends whom I am with who were enjoying the
exhibition until I opened my big mouth. Most recently,
I did this at the Guggenheim's "Spanish Painting From
Valesquez to Picasso."  But in this case, the majority
of the paintings were deadly, and the organization and
curatorial viewpoint were contrived and unconvincing,
so that the exhibit had few redeeming qualities in my
opinion.

Years ago when I was trying to decide whether to
become an artist or an art historian, a cynical
sculpture professor of mine expressed the opinion that
the relationship among art historians, artists, and
art was parallel to that among pornographers,
lovemakers, and sex: Artists made art (like lovemakers
engaging in sex) and expressed themselves in an honest
and direct manner, while art historians
(pornographers) removed themselves from the direct
participation in art (sex) and stood as voyeurs and
buffers between those who longed to directly
experience art (sex) and the direct experience of art
(sex) and gave them directions and commentary on how
to react to other people's direct participation in art
(sex). Some of us book artists prefer to think of this
exhibit as an orgy of beautiful books chosen because
of their particular visual appeal which (although
frustrating in their limited accessibility, and
possibly unconvincing as a logical and organized
presentation of a cohesive historical and cultural
viewpoint) inspire us to go back to our studios and
participate directly in the art-making process. We
don't want the artists books to be defined. We prefer
no boundaries to the field's expansion and
exploration.

I liked your critique. It inspired me not only to go
to and thoroughly examine you very interesting
website, but to bookmark it for future reference. I am
less appreciative of your response to Nancy. Your
response seems to demonstrate that it is you who seem
to have a hard time grasping the concept that here in
America there is still freedom to think, which does
not exist without freedom to criticize within a free
and open society. Nancy disagreed with your opinions
and criticized them, as is her right in a free and
open society. If you can't stand the heat....

Ann

--- Paul T Werner <paul.werner@xxxxxxx> wrote:

> Funny, these books are all from the Spencer
> collection in the New York
> Public Library, and easily available any time to
> researchers - for free.
> I've spent a bit of time there, myself. This is as
> it should be,
> considering that the New York Public Library is a
> not-for profit
> institution devoted to the dissemination of
> knowledge, and well funded
> by New York City taxpayers. Here in America there is
> still freedom to
> think, which does not exist without freedom to
> criticize within a free
> and open society. You seem to have a hard time
> grasping the concept, Nancy.
> 
> Paul Werner
> 
>             
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             ***********************************************
                                    
         The Bonefolder, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall 2006 Now Online at
                 <http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder>
                                    
Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Online - Catalog Available
   <http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/gbw/gallery/100anniversary/>
                                    
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
                                    
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information
             ***********************************************


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