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Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 3 Jan 2007 to 4 Jan 2007 (#2007-5)



PLEASE EDIT OUT ANY AND ALL UNNECESSARY TEXT FROM DIGESTS WHEN RESPONDING.

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(all caps intentional - I'm getting tired of having to wade through digests to find the post...)

Peter Verheyen
Listowner Book_Arts-L
_____________________________________

Peter D. Verheyen
Bookbinder & Conservator, PA - AIC
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The Book Arts Web & Book_Arts-L Listserv
<http://www.philobiblon.com>

----- Original Message ----- From: "norman shapiro" <ufemisms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:39 AM
Subject: Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 3 Jan 2007 to 4 Jan 2007 (#2007-5)




I'd rather choose making it art than 'ARCHIVAL' Have you noted my comments ant BOOK_ART on this issue? I'm saying that the talk of glues and recipes is too predominating. The "Emperor has no clothes'. It has all to do with artists making art. Book art is nothing without the books being to begin with saying something, expressing something of lasting and universal relevance. The craftsy stuff is nothing without it being expressive of something beyond 'preservation'.

Norman

On Jan 5, 2007, at 12:00 AM, BOOK_ARTS-L automatic digest system wrote:

Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 09:53:41 -0800 From: Daniel Winston <james9157@xxxxxxxxx> Subject: Re: 8 Century Psalter found in a bog in Ireland

the centres of all the pages have rotted.

I wonder why it would rot from the center? It seems the edges would go first.

Daniel W.



------------------------------

Date:    Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:02:21 -0600
From:    Kathleen Garness <kmgfinearts@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: 8 Century Psalter found in a bog in Ireland

Quite the opposite - the natural decaying processes slowed by the
acidic and anaerobic conditions of the bog didn't make it by seepage
to the center of the book, so that part decayed first. I'm pretty
sure most books  from that period were made with leaves of parchment.
Any thoughts as to the details of this from people who are familiar
with parchment tanning procedures? Curious now,

KMG

Ehon=3A The Artist and the Book in Japan
Through February 4=2C 2007
New York Public Library=2C New York

This is the second-worst curated show I=27ve ever seen=2E The worst was =
=22The
Splendor of the Word=2C=22 which also played at the New York Public Libr=
ary=2C
this February past (WOID =23XIV-5)=2E

The earlier show was about European Medieval books and the present one
is about the Japanese book=2E Or rather it=27s described as a =22Breatht=
aking
Collection of Japanese Artists=27 Books=2E=22 =


I think we=27ve found your problem=2C sir=2E This one=27s not about brin=
ging up
interesting examples of Japanese books and then encouraging the curator=2C=


the contributors and the interested public to build a narrative about
them=2C it=27s about digging up books that happen to fit the contemporar=
y
conception of =22artists=27 books=22=2C quite the feat since nobody=27s =
very
clear=2C even today=2C as to what artists=27 books are=2E And if nobody=27=
s clear
about the concept now you can bet your bottom yen the concept has
undergone even more girations since 764=2C the date for the earliest wor=
k
on display=2E The best part of this show is in a small separate gallery =
to
the South of the main area=2C containing early Buddhist sutras and such=2E=


It=27s a relief because you can look at these few works without feeling
that someone=27s trying to force some inapplicable theory down your thro=
at=2E =


As to the rest of the show=2C the word =22incoherent=22 would be kind=2E= The main gallery is divided into sections with titles like =22Origins=2C=22 =22Humanity=2C=22 =22Industry=2E=22 Actually =22Industry=22 isn=27t in t= his show=2C you=27ll find it in the art deco bas-reliefs up at Rockefeller Center=2C but no matter=3A this show tries to do for the Japanese Book what nineteenth-century Medievalism did for illuminated books and =27Thirties=

Art Deco for the human body=3A it uses formalism to evade the lived
problems of historical and social determination=2E The irony is=2C that =
so
much of Japanese culture=2C past and present=2C is about the simultaneou=
s
experience and evasion of cultural determinations=2C usually imposed fro=
m
without=2E This can be said of the adaptation of Chinese writing to
Japanese speech=3B of the importation of European systems of book
production and their retooling in the sixteenth century=3B and of course=
=2C
of the brilliant formal experimentations of present day comic-books=2E

But this is precisely the kind of formalism that this show will not
tolerate - tellingly=2C there are no comics to be seen=2E The unspoken=2C=


unconscious and perhaps unwilled effect is the repression of the very
possibility of visitor participation=2C an imperative so close to that o=
f
present-day neo-conservative art criticism that I had to check the list
of sponsors to see if the American Enterprise Institute was on it=2E =


As in the Medieval show=2C the lighting is poor=3B and I=27m not talking= about muted=2C folks=2C I=27m talking about bump-yer-shins darkness=2E The va= rious books are displayed with a consciousness of all that=27s imperfect about=

not actually holding the work in one=27s hands and turning the pages or
unrolling the scroll=2C but there=27s amazingly little effort to underst=
and
how the works themselves were originally adapted to the conditions of
their own reading=2E A brilliant=2C incredibly long woodcut scroll by It=
o
Jakuchu and Daiten Kenjo (circa 1767) is presented unrolled to its full
length - close to forty feet - and loses thereby all of its tension=2C
like a visual version of Yuppie Zen=2E Compare this lax display with the=

1554 version of the Tale of Genji in the South Gallery of the Library=2C=

where the cramped=2C boxy dimensions of the rolled scroll offset the pla=
y
of diagonals=2E =


Other works have nothing to do with book structure at all=2E There is a section devoted to =22Calligraphy=2C=22 accompanied by such statements a= s =22Calligraphy is a performance=2E The brush dances=2E=22 That=27s funny= =3A when I asked it for a fox-trot it turned me down=2E There are works by Yoko Ono= =2C supposedly because she comes from Japan=2C and works by Vija Celmins and=

Eliot Weinberger=2C who supposedly don=27t=2E =


One of the great clich=E9s of neocon art criticism is that =22post-modernists=22 don=27t really look at the work itself=2C by which= is meant that post-modernists are interested in ideas extraneous to the close observation of the work=2E That=27s not totally unfair=2C except t= hat there are so many ways of not looking at art=2C or making sure the viewe= r cannot look at art=2C that they easily embrace the most traditional form= s of art-appreciation=2E I wish I could recommend the catalog to this show= - it costs a whopping fifty dollars=2E The copies on display had washed-ou= t colors=2C and the written entries seemed no more illuminating than the signage=2E The curator writes=3A =22Ehon provide relevation=2C energy=2C= and inspiration and turn willing readers into artists=2E They empower people= =2E=94 Hey=2C what=27s wrong with that=3F =

- Woelfflin Jack

WOID=3A A journal of visual language
http=3A//theorangepress=2Ecom/WOID=2Ehtm


Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 20:12:19 -0500 From: Mark and Nancy Tomasko <mntomasko@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Subject: Re: Review: "The Artist and the Book in Japan"

Bill,
I'd say that Werner is love with his "woids" and not very much in love wi=
th=20
books from East Asia. He doesn't know how to appreciate a rare opportunit=
y=20
when he has an opportunity to enjoy it for free. He neglects to mention t=
hat=20
many, many people have traveled here from Japan to look at this exhibit=20
because many of these books in the Spencer Collection of the NYPL do not=20
exist in Japan today, and where such treasures do exist, if they are ever=
=20
put on display it is never for the extended time that NYPL is daring to=20
leave these on display in the muted lighting of the gallery. The catalogu=
e=20
colors are somewhat muted, but that is because the colors in the books=20
themselves, for the most part, are vegetable or mineral dyes, largely mut=
ed=20
in their palate. I would make the effort to respond to Mr. Werner, but he=
is=20
the type who is simply trying to provoke. His comments don't deserve a=20
response. These Japanese books stand for themselves. I will leave Mr. Wer=
ner=20
to eat his "woids."


Nancy


----- Original Message -----=20 From: "Paul T Werner" <paul.werner@xxxxxxx> To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:21 PM Subject: [BKARTS] Review: "The Artist and the Book in Japan"


WOID XVI-24. Museum Watch: Ehont=E9


Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan
Through February 4, 2007
New York Public Library, New York

This is the second-worst curated show I've ever seen. The worst was "The
Splendor of the Word," which also played at the New York Public Library,
this February past (WOID #XIV-5).

The earlier show was about European Medieval books and the present one
is about the Japanese book. Or rather it's described as a "Breathtaking
Collection of Japanese Artists' Books."

I think we've found your problem, sir. This one's not about bringing up
interesting examples of Japanese books and then encouraging the curator,
the contributors and the interested public to build a narrative about
them, it's about digging up books that happen to fit the contemporary
conception of "artists' books", quite the feat since nobody's very
clear, even today, as to what artists' books are. And if nobody's clear
about the concept now you can bet your bottom yen the concept has
undergone even more girations since 764, the date for the earliest work
on display. The best part of this show is in a small separate gallery to
the South of the main area, containing early Buddhist sutras and such.
It's a relief because you can look at these few works without feeling
that someone's trying to force some inapplicable theory down your throat.

As to the rest of the show, the word "incoherent" would be kind. The
main gallery is divided into sections with titles like "Origins,"
"Humanity," "Industry." Actually "Industry" isn't in this show, you'll
find it in the art deco bas-reliefs up at Rockefeller Center, but no
matter: this show tries to do for the Japanese Book what
nineteenth-century Medievalism did for illuminated books and 'Thirties
Art Deco for the human body: it uses formalism to evade the lived
problems of historical and social determination. The irony is, that so
much of Japanese culture, past and present, is about the simultaneous
experience and evasion of cultural determinations, usually imposed from
without. This can be said of the adaptation of Chinese writing to
Japanese speech; of the importation of European systems of book
production and their retooling in the sixteenth century; and of course,
of the brilliant formal experimentations of present day comic-books.

But this is precisely the kind of formalism that this show will not
tolerate - tellingly, there are no comics to be seen. The unspoken,
unconscious and perhaps unwilled effect is the repression of the very
possibility of visitor participation, an imperative so close to that of
present-day neo-conservative art criticism that I had to check the list
of sponsors to see if the American Enterprise Institute was on it.

As in the Medieval show, the lighting is poor; and I'm not talking about
muted, folks, I'm talking about bump-yer-shins darkness.  The various
books are displayed with a consciousness of all that's imperfect about
not actually holding the work in one's hands and turning the pages or
unrolling the scroll, but there's amazingly little effort to understand
how the works themselves were originally adapted to the conditions of
their own reading. A brilliant, incredibly long woodcut scroll by Ito
Jakuchu and Daiten Kenjo (circa 1767) is presented unrolled to its full
length - close to forty feet - and loses thereby all of its tension,
like a visual version of Yuppie Zen. Compare this lax display with the
1554 version of the Tale of Genji in the South Gallery of the Library,
where the cramped, boxy dimensions of the rolled scroll offset the play
of diagonals.

Other works have nothing to do with book structure at all. There is a
section devoted to "Calligraphy," accompanied by such statements as
"Calligraphy is a performance. The brush dances." That's funny: when I
asked it for a fox-trot it turned me down. There are works by Yoko Ono,
supposedly because she comes from Japan, and works by Vija Celmins and
Eliot Weinberger, who supposedly don't.

One of the great clich=E9s of neocon art criticism is that
"post-modernists" don't really look at the work itself, by which is
meant that post-modernists are interested in ideas extraneous to the
close observation of the work. That's not totally unfair, except that
there are so many ways of not looking at art, or making sure the viewer
cannot look at art, that they easily embrace the most traditional forms
of art-appreciation. I wish I could recommend the catalog to this show -
it costs a whopping fifty dollars. The copies on display had washed-out
colors, and the written entries seemed no more illuminating than the
signage. The curator writes: "Ehon provide relevation, energy, and
inspiration and turn willing readers into artists. They empower people.=94
Hey, what's wrong with that?


- Woelfflin Jack

WOID: A journal of visual language
http://theorangepress.com/WOID.htm

***********************************************

         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=20
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
             ***********************************************

***********************************************
=20
The Bonefolder, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall 2006 Now Online at
<http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder>
=20
Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Online - Catalog Available
<http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/gbw/gallery/100anniversary/>
=20
For all your subscription questions, go to the
Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
=20
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information
***********************************************


------------------------------

Date:    Thu, 4 Jan 2007 21:07:34 -0500
From:    Paul T Werner <paul.werner@xxxxxxx>
Subject: * Re: [BKARTS] Review: "The Artist and the Book in Japan"

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

***********************************************

         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
             ***********************************************

------------------------------

Date:    Thu, 4 Jan 2007 19:14:51 -0800
From:    The Prints & The Paper <leekirk@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Review:  "The Artist and the Book in Japan"

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Mark
and Nancy Tomasko
The
catalogue
colors are somewhat muted, but that is because the colors in the books
themselves, for the most part, are vegetable or mineral dyes,
largely muted
in their palate.

I received my catalog just today, after reading Mr. Werner's
comments....Having glanced through it only briefly (and having some
experience with older Japanese prints, album pages, etc.) I was not
disappointed by the soft, muted tones in many of the older pieces. Some more
modern ones seem to have adequate color to convey the Idea of the thing.
Although color reproduction these days is poor compared to what one
encountered in the mid-1950s, for example. Rather like digital music:
somehow today's reproduction lacks the depth of overtones and undertones
that is also the case with digitally-recorded music. (Sounds hard and brassy
to me.)


I also sent Mr. Werner's essay along to my grandson, with whom I discussed
the exhibit while he was at home from NYU and he expressed interest in going
to see it. (He's a TA in comparative lit, so it's a subject that interests
him.) I thought it was interesting to read this other view on the exhibit -
which I might well disagree with were I able to see it for myself - in view
of the fact that everyone else who has seen it so far has been quite swoony
with appreciation, or has voiced an awareness of the cultural gaps in being
able to appreciate some of the nuances.


"Discussion" and the exchange of ideas, the sharing of perspectives, is
always welcome to me. I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend
your right to say it (politely of course). ;-)


Respectfully, Lee

Lee Kirk
Cats are composed of Matter, Anti-Matter, and It Doesn't Matter
http://www.kirksbooks.com
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
                 <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
             ***********************************************

------------------------------

End of BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 3 Jan 2007 to 4 Jan 2007 (#2007-5)
**************************************************************


From Norman Shapiro, Book Artist,
Subject: Re: Review: "The Artist and the Book in Japan"

I was at the New York Public Library only a few days ago to see for myself what until now I'd been reading the posts here. And I must say, that the collection was formidable in size, scope and range from most ancient to the nearly current now. My wife and I could not take it all in. Nor would we even after making several visits. The time, money and talent in curating and solving the logistics of displaying this was impressive. There was no want for employing some kind of interactivity between the visitor and this genre (book art). There was even a touch screen display in which one could 'turn the pages'. There were these scrolls in cases that could allow the visitor to view the entire book from (right to left) from start to finish. But neither of (or any of) the displays (in very inadequately lit rooms) could come near to emulating the experience of what it would be to actually hold and 'read' such as these wondrous works. Nor can such a broad swath of specimens (the only word that comes to me) as to their 'facture'. (A word denoting the creative processes itself. It, as is the Japanese calligraphy, untranslatable.


The fault lies not in the physical limitations of the 2 rooms in which this show is situated. Not in the sweat and smarts of those who did the preparatory work of installing this show. It was in the broad brush swath and immensity of presenting too much! And too in-your-face overbearing for any mere mortal not to feeling a bit miffed and intimidated. That is to say that I do not find myself unable to get over that. This kind of benign magnanimity and condescension to the masses is par for the course. I was born and raised in New York City. There's not a single art museum that does not curate their shows in this very manner. Were I make any recommendations, it would be to rename these 'Art' museums and call them "Benevolent Collectors of Art Museums for the Masses."

http://ufemisms.com/
http://artasidentity.blogspot.com/

330 W28 Street, Apt. 7A
New York, NY, 10001

1-212-243-3370

***********************************************
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
***********************************************



***********************************************
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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