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Re: [BKARTS] bookart

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
> Marguerite Radhakrishnan

> Perhaps a different way of phrasing the question would be: what makes a
> "book" different from a "painting" or other form of "art"?

Marguerite (my  mother's middle name!) - I made a point of saying that the
object needs to resonate with a sense of "bookiness"....obviously it might
for me, but not for someone else. I pondered this scenario - the tracks of a
wild hare across the snow...follow them, and where they end there is no
hare, only disturbed snow, a tuft of fur, a spatter of blood spots, and the
faint imprint of an eagle's wing on the undisturbed snow. There is a
complete story there....but it is it a "book"? Probably not, I decide,
because it is ephemeral, and for the most part my personal concept of a book
is something that is more durable, that attempts to record something for
future use. On the other hand....very personal, eh?

 Someone, I
> believe on this list, posted a photograph of a stack of blocks
> with pictures
> on them, referring to it as a "book."

I wrestled with that one myself. I guess it's a case of:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it
means just what I choose it to mean ? neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many
different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master ? that?s all."

It's like trying to define "art" and "craft" - where does the sidewalk end?
Where do the boundaries go? hmmmm

 how many of you walk into an art
> museum, full of
> Giotto or Mondrian or Rodin or modernist sculpture, and say, "wow, look at
> all these books" or, "what fine examples of book-art"?)

Shoot, I frequently walk into a museum and say "now why do they call this
art?" Doesn't mean it isn't - just not to me. And I often look at a painting
or sculpture or print or collage or metal sculpture or some other form, and
immediately see ways to transfer at least some of the technique to something

Interestingly, after writing my earlier message I went to the Post Office to
mail - a book - to Italy (business is slow on the US side, but Europeans are
still buying) and I picked up the current issue of Fine Books and
Collections magazine from my box. Nick Basbane's "Gently Mad" column this
month describes the artists' book exhibit at Florida Atlantic U. - the Jaffe
collection. In the introductory paragraph, Nick acknowledges his own
prejudice toward books being "carriers of knowledge" but also states, "But
books are also extraordinarily resilient objects capable of performing many
worthwhile functions, not least among them the magical way they can become
objects of beauty and artistic expression."

In the interview Arthur Jaffe says, "It is a visual collection...There are
words and text, but they are secondary to the aesthetics. Think of this
primarily as a book-arts collection....Here, the aesthetic trumps the
content. What you see around you are books that are artworks, and we begin
to appreciate them on that level." And later in the article, "I know what I
like when I see it, and I buy books, basically, to look at them." And
finally, "I have a tendency to fall in love easily, and I trust my instincts
when I see a book. A book belongs in this collection because it will be in
company with other books. They will live tighter well. They will be happy
together. I think it's a simple as all that."

Resonance of bookiness - see?
> only semi-absurdly,

Life is mostly absurd, so why not us?


Lee Kirk
Cats are composed of Matter, Anti-Matter, and It Doesn't Matter
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