I believe that the arts of the book are fundamental to a vital cultural life.
The paginated artist’s book orchestrates a singular experience involving art and language, craft and concept, emotion and the body. When ideas of Book expand beyond one’s hands, the resulting works take form as sculpture, installation and performance.
The disciplined beauty of craft practice continues to be prized, alongside works that incorporate unconventional strategies, techniques and materials to convey narrative or heighten impact.
After fifty years of quiet but continual expansion the book arts have reached a critical point in their development. Today book art has emerged as a lively international field of interdisciplinary richness.
Accompanying this growth, however, are disparities that speak to persistent needs. For example:
– Mature fields document their histories, honor their founders, and highlight key works. Much effort has gone into building this field but comparatively little to documenting and discussing who built it and how, and why key works are influential.
– Private collectors desire a greater understanding of history, aesthetics, and the artist book’s unique multisensory impacts so they can confidently develop a personal collecting strategy.
– Institutional collections proliferate but are overwhelmed by a need to organize, analyze, and present their artists’ books to students or the wider public.
– Creativity is higher than ever, powerful work is emerging from studios, yet support for book artists and arts organizations remains in short supply.
We have reached a pivot point. How to move forward?
There is much work to do, and tremendous opportunity. My three decades spent with thousands of artists’ books have fueled a passionate advocacy for the work of new and established book artists, through my public speaking, scholarship, grant writing, curating, program development and collections consulting.