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Re: [BKARTS] Ehon

Regarding these discussions:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Ann
> Kronenberg
> I apologize for the last paragraph of my last posting.
> I had not yet seen your very gracious reply to Nancy's
> apology. The rest of my reply was intended to point
> out that the views and needs of "hedonist" artists
> viewing art are very different from those of
> "intellectual" art historians.

In spite of the apologies, etc., I find this a very interesting discussion.
My personal relationship to anything - nature, art, books, music - it to
approach it with as few expectations as possible, and to be receptive to
whatever it can convey to me. Since I feel that any humanly-created thing
is - or should be - a personal statement by the individual, it may or may
not "speak" to me as the creator intended. Or perhaps it speaks in some more
personal way than the author of the work never dreamed of. But what matters
is what it means to me - I don't expect that mine will be a world view, or a
perception or experience shared by everyone. Why should it? And why should
it matter to me that others see or feel as I do?

Hence, I'm dubious about any form of formalized criticism. It says more
about the critic than about the work, in the long run. Does the literary
critic who "deconstructs" a piece of writing feel the same passion, is
he/she moved in such profound ways, as the reader who comes to the work with
an open mind? Is the intellectual dissection of an author's effort more
valuable in the long run than that intimate, powerful exchange between
author and reader? Does the art critic confront a work that shakes him/her
to the core, raises the body hair, shifts the Universe under the viewer's
feet, makes the observer yearn with every cell to understand the power of
the artwork? Or is he/she too engaged with comparison, evaluation,
estimation of position in the larger canon, to feel such connections?

I guess you could call my approach more akin to wabi-sabi

although I certainly don't limit myself to a single aesthetic. Exploring,
being open to new experiences and perceptions, is what the journey is all
about. To that end I will read "criticism" in order to understand how
someone else perceives the work - but I do not feel obliged to agree with or
be guided by that opinion.

As for some of the questions raised in recent discussions about the NYPL
Ehon exhibit:
I was able to read some of the catalog last night (catalog is a barren term
for this book, which explores the aesthetic, the methods, the history, etc.
etc. and is WELL WORTH the price!)

The exhibit is sponsored by a long list of Foundations and groups which are
actually also listed on the website:

"Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan has been made possible in part
through the generous support of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter
Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Robert Rosenkranz, Anne
van Biema, the Toshiba International Foundation, The Carl and Lily
Pforzheimer Foundation, Inc., public funds from the New York State Council
on the Arts, a state agency; The Blakemore Foundation; Robert and Mary
Looker; the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation; Asian
Cultural Council; The Japan Foundation; The International Fine Print Dealers
Association; Martha J. Fleischman; and the J.C.C. Fund.
"Support for The New York Public Library?s Exhibitions Program has been
provided by Celeste Bartos and Family and by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III."

An exhibition like this is no simple thing, nor the work of one person. I'm
always interested in hearing curator experiences in mounting an exhibit...it
requires enormous effort, thought, and yes...political manipulation at
times. Not to mention so very many conservatorial questions and creative

The Ehon volume also gives a history of NYPL's acquisitions and holdings of
Japanese manuscripts and printed books - possibly one of the world's best -
and explains that the materials are available to researchers and are often
"shared" with institutions in Japan. We are very fortunate to have such a
national treasure as NYPL - my regret is being too far away to make use of
it except on the rare visit.

Regards, Lee

Lee Kirk
Cats are composed of Matter, Anti-Matter, and It Doesn't Matter
Catablog: http://kirksbooks.blogspot.com/
See TOMFOLIO's WIKI: http://tomfolio.pbwiki.com/FrontPage

         The Bonefolder, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall 2006 Now Online at
Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Online - Catalog Available
             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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