After more than 30 years of debate between scholars, collectors, and artists, the contemporary art form of the Artist Book continues to be defined and redefined. An Artist Book may
► challenge your understanding of what a book is
► use non traditional materials
► incorporate performance, film or video
► play with or parody every sort of publication
“Art Book” is a common misnomer for creations that are not confined or contained in independent publishing, fine art print making, or traditional book crafts. However Artist Books often address these fields.
The Conceptual Art* movement and Fluxus** philosophy of the 1960s still inspire artists to work outside the limits of wall space, gallery, art fair, and museum to create intimate, interactive book-related art.
It’s A Collectible Art Form
Libraries, university special collections, museums, art dealers, and galleries procure Artist Books. Individuals seeking to teach, preserve, and give new meaning to book arts also purchase and collect Artist Books. If you confess an affinity for books, you, too, may become an avid Artist Book devotee.
It’s An Expanding Concept
A new branch of Library Science seeks new ways to manage, care for, preserve, document, catalog, access, promote, and display objects that frequently fall outside the norm and often defy description. Innovations such as internet, lap top books, and electronic information exchange suggest books are obsolete. Instead, like many old fashioned or endangered crafts, impending doom has revived and elevated bookmaking to a fine art.
It’s An Artist Book If…
An artist made it or if an artist says it is!
* Conceptual Art began in the 1960s with an international network of artists who blended media and disciplines while emphasizing concept over technique or execution. Neo-Dada, noise music, the visual and literary arts, urban planning, architecture, and design are included. Early key players were Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Palk.
** The Fluxus movement developed international anti-art and anti-commercial aesthetics within Conceptual Art. Contemporary “happenings” produced art works by random, collaborative gatherings which inspired a sense of immediacy and relevance. Concerts and Mail Art were widely used modes of expression.