Bookmarking Book Art – An Online Annotation of “The Book Made Art“ (1986)

Artist, curator and historian Jeffrey Abt wrote that the “irresistible” idea of placing an exhibition of artists’ books alongside the University of Chicago Library’s collection “broadly representative of the history of the book” started with a visit to famed art dealer Tony Zwicker‘s studio. It was also, however, almost as if he were taking a cue from this statement by artist-printers Betsy Davids and Jim Petrillo just the year before:

A representative collection of artists’ books often does not seem visually remarkable in a gallery, where a wide range of visual experience is the norm. The same collection, installed in a library or bookstore, can seem visually startling almost beyond the limits of decorum. — “The Artist as Book Printer: Four Short Courses” in Artists’ Books: A Critical Anthology and Sourcebook, edited by Joan Lyons (Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1985).

The handful of images below would lead anyone to suspect that the 49 works (many loaned by Zwicker) were selected to startle and, in a subtle way, challenge the notion that ”a representative collection of artists’ books often does not seem visually remarkable in a gallery”. The peculiar shape of the exhibition catalogue deepens the suspicion. The rest of its design and identity of its designer — Buzz Spector — clinch it.

Abt, Jeffrey. The Book Made Art: A Selection of Contemporary Artists’ Books, exhibited in the Joseph Regenstein Library, The University of Chicago, February through April 1986. Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 1986.

While Abt’s introductory essay rings the historical changes on the roots of book art — once there was Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés, but before Mallarmé, there was William Blake — the works included and the catalogue’s design ring some chimes of their own about book art. One way or another, all book art self-consciously draws attention to some particularly bookish element. For the most part, the 49 works listed in the catalogue ring true. The catalogue design itself, however, chimes not only to that notion of self-reflexiveness but also to wider notions about the nature of book art within contemporary art.

Not long after this 1986 exhibition, Spector wrote of “the language of the book” and all its parts — pages, signatures and cover as well as its letter forms and their placement on the spread page — as having a syntax. With its pencil-circled numbers, alignment guides, pastedowns and other designer’s marks appearing throughout — as if a printer’s devil had run amok and let the marked-up proofs go to press unchanged — the catalogue draws attention to that syntax, the underlying processes of bookmaking and and this object’s “bookness”. The colophon’s note initialed by Jeffrey Abt to Buzz Spector and “pasted” on the last page seals the self-reflexive joke of the markings throughout the catalogue.

Page 36 and cover 3 from The Book Made Art (1986)
Permission of the curator and designer.

The second chime comes in the catalogue’s verbal and visual punning. Like book art, punning is self-reflexive, words playing on words. The title ”the book made art” can be read with different meanings: “the book made into art”, “art that is bookish” and so on. The catalogue’s trim and two-dimensional representation of three-dimensions create the visual pun of a glass or white cube. The verbal and visual puns also play with Abt’s “irresistible” context. Here in the Joseph Regenstein Library was an exhibition catalogue, teasing the viewer with a reminder that vitrines separated them from the bookworks. Reviewing two other exhibitions of book art, Spector elaborated explicitly on his visual tongue-in-cheek irony:

The dilemma in staging exhibitions of books as art objects is the denial of access to the work that conservation necessarily demands. … and it is a more than passing irony that implications of hermeticism and elitism should surround books shown to a public using the library as a means of gaining access to texts. — Buzz Spector, “Art Readings” in The Book Maker’s Desire (Pasadena, CA: Umbrella Editions, 1995), p.13.

The catalogue also teases with its title and design by suggesting that once books have been placed on display like this, the setting is no longer a library but a “white cube gallery“. As the catalogue progresses, black-and-white photos of items from the exhibition appear on the verso page in frames that appear to be hanging on the trompe l’oeil cube’s rear wall.

Pages 14 and 20 of The Book Made Art (1986)
Permission of the curator and designer.

But a viewer standing in the “brutalist” construct of the Regenstein Library and holding this catalogue of The Book Made Art might have asked, “What makes these objects I cannot touch — or, in some cases even if I could, cannot read — art?” There is the catalogue’s third chime. From the start, book art has faced a constant definitional or identity crisis and even the challenge “but is it art?” The catalogue’s title echoes Lucy Lippard’s Duchampian proposition: “It’s an artist book if an artist made it, or if an artist says it is”. The catalogue’s design says, “This is the gallery, these are the objects on display in it, they are art”.

The “white cube gallery” brings on a fourth and final ironic chime. In the 1970s and early ‘80s, artists’ books were pitched as a “democratic” medium and means by which art could escape the clutches of the gallery and reach a wider public. In another catalogue — the one for the 1973 Moore College exhibition, nominated as the first of book art — John Perreault writes:

Books as art, from the artist’s point of view and the viewer’s point of view, are practical and democratic. They do not cost as much as prints. They are portable, personal, and, if need be, disposable. Because books are easily mailed, books as art are aiding in the decentralisation of the art system. — John Perreault, “Some Thoughts on Books as Art”, in Artists Books, Moore College of Art, 23 March – 20 April 1973 (Philadelphia, PA: Moore College of Art, 1973), p. 21.

By the mid-80s, lo and behold, The Book Made Art’s catalogue-cum-gallery jokingly recaptures “books as art”. And in a further irony, by the mid-80s and since, the increased rareness and price of such bookworks have made them into galleries‘ and museums’ expensive objects of desire.

With the catalogue for The Book Made Art being so scarce and with its inclusion of images of only 13 of the 49 works displayed, it is difficult to reconstruct and imagine what the exhibition must have been like. Why try? By the mid-80s, book art had opened its arms to a variety of works not existing in the 1960s to mid-70s when the Moore College of Art and the Nigel Greenwood landmark exhibitions occurred. From what the catalogues for Dianne Perry Vanderlip’s Artists’ Books and Germano Celant’s Book as Artwork: 1960/72 convey, from the images for each that can be found, the experience in Philadelphia and London must have differed greatly from that in Chicago with The Book Made Art.

From left: Image from Jonathan Hill, Bookseller; images from Books On Books Collection.

What follows is a resource for comparing and contrasting The Book Made Art with the two earlier catalogues. Although he is present in The Book Made Art through Spector’s Altered LeWitt entry, Lewitt and many of the earlier catalogues’ illuminati are missing: Art-Language (Atkinson, Baldwin, Burn, Hurrell, Kosuth and Ramsden), Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Mel Bochner, Stanley Brouwn, John Cage, Robert Filliou, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Phillips, Dieter Rot, Ed Ruscha, Daniel Spoerri, Lawrence Weiner and Emmet Williams. These omissions leave The Book Made Art with fewer works that are purely text-based, algorithmic or typographic (as in construction poetry). The overarching impression — urged on by Spector’s inspired design — is that The Book Made Art emphasizes more of the painterly and sculptural and offers a new group of claimants to the circle of book art illuminati: Beube, Broaddus, Löhr, Share, Smith, Spector, Van Horn and several others shown below.

In addition to images retrieved or provided by the artists, links to information about the artists, to sources or images of the displayed work or to images of similar work are offered. Where possible the links provided are persistent links (avoiding “Page Not Found” messages). As with the online annotation of Celant’s Book as Artwork: 1960/72 (see Further Reading), this one offers some comparison/contrast links to earlier and later bookworks to aid in appreciating continuities and departures.

Also under Further Reading, Jeffrey Abt has kindly provided additional context about the roles played by Tony Zwicker and Robert Rosenthal, Curator of Special Collections at the University of Chicago Library, in making The Book Made Art possible.

Caveat lector/observator: Even with a work’s measurements supplied by the catalogue, it is difficult to call to the mind’s eyes and hands the presence of the object — even harder to imagine the experience of an exhibition and its environment. Measure or scale is not the only issue. As one of the artists below — Timothy Ely — puts it: “Time is scale” and “On the scale of time, some books may well last a thousand years and a drawing on a beach only a few hours. Exhibits end and fortunes change.” But then that’s why it’s called an essay.

The Artists and their Works

Algardi, Alessandro. L’Immagine della scrittura [maquette]. Milan? (1983). Paint and graphite pencil over paper; codex binding in calf; 12 leaves. Signed. 20 3/16” x 14 1/4” x 3/4”. [No image of the work found]

Some of Algardi’s works can be seen here and more extensively and clearly in the online version of Ubeir Peeters’ book Alessandro Algardi (2006), pages 112-20 in particular. As a maquette, L’Immagine della scrittura (“The image of writing”) would have required the viewer to project in the mind the executed work. Algardi’s work ranges widely in materials: acrylic, oils, cementite, titanium, vinyl tempera, emulsified canvas and from large paintings to oversized and lesser books constructed of overpainted card and even plexiglas in various bindings, including the accordion. His constant subject (the written word) and use of impasto make Algardi’s work distinctive.

Detail from 28 works, Mythos (1995) at MutualArt. Accessed 3 February 2020.

Allen, Roberta. The Traveling Woman, Book IV (1985). Paint and ink over paper; codex binding with string loops and painted boards; 6 leaves. Signed. 8 15/16” x 6 5/8” x 5/8”.

The Traveling Woman, Book I (1985)
Roberta Allen
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Allen has provided images of Book I as all four books were similarly formatted. She notes, however, that the binding for all four books consists of archival paper, not boards. These artist’s books are one manifestation of The Traveling Woman oeuvre. Several stories from this vein of Roberta Allen’s imagination appeared in WhiteWalls, the magazine of writings by artists founded in Chicago in 1978, continuing up to 2002. In 1986, The Traveling Woman morphed into a novel.

The technique of roughly painted-over paper appeared among many of the works in The Book Made Art, thereby contributing to the exhibition’s painterly ambiance. While The Traveling Woman’s size is close to the US standard of 6 x 9 in., together with several other much larger painted-over paper bookworks, it must have created a colourful overall effect. It is a technique varying but traceable at least to the ‘70s if not earlier (for example, John Latham’s Skoob works) and continues today (for example, Bodil Rosenberg’s Vandstand).

Appel, Christian. Incontro di Dante con Beatrice (1983). Black-and-white and color photocopies, hand-coloured and mounted on binders’ boards; accordion-fold binding; 7 panels. Signed. 10 7/16” x 5 3/16” x 11/16”.

Appel is mentioned in the Umbrella archives as being associated with the short-lived review/cooperative KLAB, but there is little else online. This image of the encounter of Dante with Beatrice comes from the Walker Art Center Library (see the image’s lower right hand corner) and yields two of the seven panels of the twenty-edition work in accordion form, published out of Amsterdam by Da Costa Editions. Zooming in on the image behind the link, one can detect considerable and vigorous overdrawing. Vibrant turquoise, orange and lavender distinguish this work from these images of other works by Appel in the Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem. Appel’s Postkarten in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection shows up only in its slipcase.

Baltazar/Michel Butor. Zodiaque des Nuages (1984). Watercolor, ink, and pastel over paper; in codex gathering but not sewn; with rigid publishers’ cloth cover and slip case; 18 leaves with paper wrapper. Script in author’s hand. Signed by artist and author. With autograph postcard, decorated with collage, Butor to Baltazar, 10.19.85. 11 5/16” x 7 9/16” x 1 3/8”. [No image of the work found]

Baltazar is Hervé Lambion‘s nom de plume. He has created numerous livres d’artiste with many authors in addition to those with Butor. No online image of Zodiaque des Nuages is readily located. The image below shows a similar work: Entre Deux Avalanches (1980).

Entre Deux Avalanches (1980)
Baltazar and Michel Butor
From Catalogue des Reliures Présentées à l’Occasion de l’Exposition Baltazar Organisée à la Bibliotheca Wittockiana, eds. Georges Bernard, Julius Baltazar and Antoine Coron. (Brussels: Bibliotheca Wittockiana, 1986). © Bibliotheca Wittockiana

Two other artist’s books by Baltazar can be seen here in the Champetier Gallery, and several images and an analysis of another (with Butor’s text) — La main sur le mur — can be viewed here from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague. Baltazar’s work with the author Michel Butor has been extensive enough to warrant this lengthy (but minimally illustrated) essay. As can be gathered from the images of these other works and from the essay, Baltazar’s contribution to The Book Made Art served as an exemplar of the traditional artist’s book.

Beube, Douglas. Ashes: The Effect of Fire on Paper (1980). Cloth, fabric edging and cords, marbled and found papers, and specimen bottles; mounted on found and hinged compartment trays. Signed. 16 11/16” x 11 5/8” x 2 5/16”.

Pages 12 and 13 of The Book Made Art (1986)
Permission of the curator and designer.

No online image seems available, and the one in the catalogue is black and white. Framed on the back wall of the page, it hangs there like a religious diptych. This work became the second in the M.A.D. trilogy (matches, ashes, dust), and full-color images of Ashes and the trilogy have been provided here by the artist. These can also be seen in full color and context in Beube’s Breaking the Codex (New York: Etc. Etc. The Iconoclastic Press, 2011), p. 186.

M.A.D. trilogy. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Beube has been extraordinarily inventive with the book as raw artistic material. His works have altered the codex form and deployed nearly every element of its “syntax” to address recurring political, social and philosophical themes. His outcomes range as well across larger sculptural works as well as action installations. Breaking the Codex documents the impression that Beube has foreshadowed and/or echoed nearly every variation of book art in play. With Beube’s Ashes and works below by Lori Christmastree, David Horton, Andrew Masullo, Anne Hicks Siberell and Paul Zelevansky, The Book Made Art gives a significant nod toward the tradition of the Cornellian “box” in book art (see “The Box from Duchamp to Horn” in Further Reading below).

____________. My Book Journal: 1980-1982. Graphite pencil, watercolor, coloured marking pens, stamping, coloured pencil, found and layered papers, photographs, miscellaneous materials, small objects, and ephemera; codex binding in printed fabric-wrapped boards; 33 leaves. Unsigned. 5 13/16” x 10 5/8” x 1 9/16”. [No image of the work found]

Images of bound sketchbooks from other date ranges can be found on the artist’s website. Here is Sketchbook #1: My Book Journal (1979), which comes closest to the work described for the exhibition.

Sketchbook #1: My Book Journal (1979)
Doug Beube
Collage, fabric, paper, gouache, graphite, water color, thread, silver gelatin print, rubber stamp. H6 x W10 x D2 1/2 in.

Brater, Meryl. Black Pool White Pillow #2 (1984). Graphite, graphite pencil, coloured pencil, and printing ink over paper with ribbon ties; combination codex and accordion bindings; four principal panels. Signed. 23 7/8” x 16 11/16” x 1 5/8”. [No image of the work found]

As described in the catalogue, this work combined codex and accordion structures. Another of Brater’s works — Hidden Agenda — appears to do the same but adds a protective four-fold envelope. The accordion form is well represented among the catalogue’s entries: Appel, Brater, Haynes, McCarney, Polansky, Robinson, Schnabel, Senser, Van Horn and Vogel.

This image of Brater’s Hidden Agenda (1991) appeared on AbeBooks (23 January 2020); a thumbnail image of the same appeared on Printed Matter’s website the same date; and an exterior-only view can be found in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection.

Broaddus, John Eric. Meridian Passage (1979). Paint and ink over paper; codex binding in painted boards; 9 leaves. Unsigned. 22 7/16th x 22 3/8” x 7/8”.

Meridian Passage (1979)
John Eric Broaddus
From Artists’ Books in the Modern Era: 1870-2000: the Reva and David Logan collection of illustrated books, edited by Robert Flynn Johnson and Donna Stein (San Francisco/London: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Thames & Hudson, 2002), p. 258.
Permission of Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

This unique work now resides with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Its record is “John Eric Broaddus, American, 1943–1990. Meridian Passage, 1979 Unique book, each page hand painted with acrylic, tempera, watercolor, and ink with abstract cut-outs Folio: 572 x 616 mm (22 1/2 x 24 1/4 in.) L15.99.2“.

Along with Allen’s, Apple’s and several others’ works below, the bold colours and cutouts of Meridian Passage underscore the painterly and sculptural nature of the book art celebrated by The Book Made Art. Despite the strong theme of democratic multiples around him, Broaddus explored the unique bookwork. Meridian Passage and the next work by Broaddus are unique, not limited editions or multiples.

____________. France I (1983). Found printed codex [popular geography] altered with paint, ink, coloured pencil, glitter, and cutting; with painted slip case and painted cloth outer wrapper; 104 leaves. Signed. 12 1/8” x 9 1/16” x 1 11/16”.

At 104 leaves, this was one of the larger works in the exhibition. The three small black-and-white images of double-page spreads in the catalogue do not do the work justice, nor does the one in The Cutting Edge of Reading by Renée Riese Hubert and Judd D. Hubert. With the latter, however, we have this bit of description to aid in visualising the work:

By cutting away large sections of pages, Broaddus playfully establishes astonishing connections between well-known monuments as well as between them and his own imaginative creations. … By clever cutting, a cute photograph showing children observing an artist drawing, it would seem, their portraits, metamorphoses on the other side of the leaf into a gigantic statue consisting of Watteau’s famous Arlequin partly framed within a dark blue Broaddus abstraction. — Hubert, Renée Riese, and Judd D. Hubert. The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books (New York: Granary Press, 1999), p. 230.

Best of all, though, for visualising the work, we have the tribute video from the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, which includes full-colour images and discussion by the Huberts and others.

Christmastree, Lori. You Have to Break the Glass to Get Out (1984). Graphite pencil, colored ink, watercolor, found materials, and glass shards over layered papers; unbound in double-lidded box with ribbon ties; 9 leaves. Signed. 25 1/4” x 19 1/8” x 2 3/16”.

You Have to Break the Glass to Get Out (1984)
Lori Christmastree
Photos of pages 3, 6 and 7: Courtesy of Misha Tomic via Buzz Spector.

Much of Lori Christmastree’s work and documentation of it were destroyed in a house fire. The artist Misha Tomic, her partner, kindly provided the images above, which echo her other works’ characteristic use of collage, ink and watercolour.

Crawford, Elsie. Willow Waterway (1985). Colored ink over wood veneer-backed paper scroll mounted on wooden dowel with leather tie; with hollowed-out tree stump case. Unsigned. 6 1/2” x 4 5/8” x 4” [No image of the work found]

Ely, Timothy C. Field Points 3 (1985). Ink and watercolor over pigment, foil-stamped, and embossed paper; in codex binding with painted boards with collage elements, and pigment and foil stamping; in drop-spine book box with buckram covering; 26 leaves. Signed. 16 3/4” x 11 5/16” x 1 1/2”. [No image of the work found]

Synesthesia, a work that in some ways exemplifies Ely’s output but in others does not, provides a stand-in here. It contains drawn and painted images by Timothy Ely and text by Terence McKenna. The typography and printing are by Philip Gallo and The Hermetic Press; the binding is by Daniel E. Kelm and The Wide Awake Garage; and the publishing, by the Granary Press. It is a limited edition (75). Note the precision of production, especially in the binding, as well as the distinctive effect of ink and watercolor over pigment. Compare it with the Baltazar/Butor work above. This is a distinctively American livre d’artiste.

Synesthesia (1992)
Timothy C. Ely
Bound between black boards blind stamped with multiple symbols and shapes; boards have touches of copper, blue, and pink paint; copper triangle with symbols written on it is mounted on front board; exposed spine shows 3 bands of sewing attached at each end to a metal rod running through each board. In black cloth box. 250 mm in box of 270 mm.
Photos: Books On Books.

Forget, Carol. The Diplomat’s Handbook (1981). White cloth gloves stuffed with miniature flags of various nations, sewn end to end. Signed on display instructions. 8 1/4” x 4 1/4” x 3 9/16”. [No image of the work found]

With its flag-stuffed gloves punning on its title, The Diplomat’s Handbook hands us the catalogue’s first “book-alluding object“. The use of gloves finds later echoes in the work of Jules Allen (below):

The Book of White (in progress)
Jules Allen
Kid leather gloves, hand made paper, housing a collection of utilitarian antiques and collectibles from the mid to late 20th century.
H270 x  W80 x D50 mm

Forget’s tongue-in-glove tendency is evident from these images of another work — Margin Release (1976), a collection of loose cards (no binding, thus releasing the margins) — and from the New York Times’ mention of yet another of her works: “A Formica steak on a base of shredded newsprint, for instance, is titled ’Model for the Historical Novel (Meat Plus Filler)’ by the artist Carol Forget of New York.“

____________. VHF Salvation (1984). Found printed codex [Bible] altered with cloth ribbons. Signed on display instructions. 11 3/8” x 5 11/16” x 1 5/8”.

VHF Salvation (1984)
Carol Forget

The caption for this work tantalisingly refers to signed display instructions. With that (and unable to enact the instructions), the viewers must have felt their noses being rubbed in both the catalogue’s joking “vitrine” and the exhibition’s real glass case. It is a guess that the instructions helped the viewer to decipher this instance of an “altered-book object” (or, in keeping with its spirit, an altared-book object) that preserves the altered book.

VHF Salvation is a King James Version of the Holy Bible altered with a multitude of ribbon placeholders protruding from its lower edge to provide the “very high frequency” means of “saving one’s place“. In a special issue of Visible Language, Renée Riese Hubert describes the work as an “aggressive antibook” (p. 130). Even though VHF Salvation preserves the book being altered — unlike Beube’s Ashes diptych (above), which alters the book or books beyond recognition — some viewers might nevertheless have felt as uneasy as some viewers of Meg Hitchcock’s more aggressive alterations of the Bible, Koran and Bhavagad Gita.

Freeman, Jane. The Book of Sisters (1978). Watercolor and color marking-pen ink over collage elements including packaging ephemera, postcards, clippings from magazines and books, and photographs; in codex binding with cloth-covered boards and fore-edge ties; 23 leaves. Unsigned. 5 9/16” x 8 7/8” x 1 9/16”.

The Book of Sisters (1978)
Jane Freeman
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

As with Forget’s work, images of Freeman’s early works are hard to find. The description of the 23 leaves as a collage of packaging ephemera, postcards, magazine and book clippings and photographs — all covered by watercolour and colour-marking pen ink — serves well to capture Freeman’s approach in these additional images of another work — A Freelance Life (1988).

A Freelance Life (1988)
Jane Freeman
9” x 6 1/2“
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

____________. Worse Verse (1983). Found printed codex [poetry] altered with watercolor, color marking pen, and collage elements including string, postage stamps, and clippings from magazines and books; in codex binding in publisher’s cloth altered with paint; 12 leaves. Signed. 8 13/16” x 5 3/8” x 9/16”. [No image of the work found]

The New York Center for Book Arts shows four images of another work by Freeman — New, Improved (1985) — which is an altered Sotheby Parke-Bernet Inc. fine art auction catalogue. The artist has provided images of a similar work — Highly Important Paintings (1985) — shown below. With their heavily overpainted layers of acrylic and gouache obscuring and/or revealing parts of the underlying work and text and with tipped-in images and found bits of ephemera, these two works likely give an impression comparable to Worse Verse.

Highly Important Paintings (1985)
Jane Freeman
Auction house catalogue, each page collaged and painted. 10 1/4” x 8” closed.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

As mentioned in the entry for Robert Allen, the technique of painted-over pages has been widespread. So has the technique of painting over book and magazine pages and selectively allowing text to show through. Tom Phillips’ A Humument is perhaps the best known of the type that creates a new novel, a type not represented in the Chicago exhibition. The type that comments on the underlying form and content is well represented by Broaddus and Freeman.

Hartmann, Werner. Krankengeschichten (1979). White pencil over slate; assembled in cloth sleeves in codex format in cloth wrapper with ties; 10 slates. Signed. 11 5/16” x 7 7/8” x 2 1/4”.

In the catalogue, two images show Krankengeschichten (“Medical Records”) closed and open. Closed, it is a codex shape made up of page-size cloth sleeves; two cloth ties hold it closed like a hospital gown. Open, it displays one of ten dark slates removed from its sleeve and showing white-pencilled text and an image (a cross section? an X-ray?). Hartmann worked with images on slate in at least two other instances, but nothing as book-like as Krankengeschichten.

Haynes, Ric. Early Fish (1984). Paint, ink, and rubber stamping over layered papers in combination with decorative and marbled papers; in accordion-fold binding with rubber stamping and marbled-paper decorated slip case; 8 panels. Signed. 9 5/16” x 20 1/4” x 4 1/2”. [No image of the work found]

The description of Haynes’ entry conjures a work very different from his other work self-published under his Joke Bone Press imprint. With no image of Early Fish readily discoverable, Haynes’ Aquatic Yoga with Dangerous Foods (1984) may serve as an alternative with which to imagine what Early Fish depicts and to have a sense of Haynes’ sense of humor as well as to remind us of humor’s presence throughout The Book Made Art.

Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Aquatic Yoga subjects a number of targets to parody — including the New Age as well as the artist’s book as democratic multiple. His anecdote recounted in The Sun (March 1984) captures this:

Ric says that when he first published the book, “I took it to a ‘New Age’ bookstore and was thrown out for being insulting to the Art and Life of Yoga. However, I know that Yoga people, like the rest of us, get off on a nice chocolate mint-chocolate chip ice cream sundae with kaluha syrup on top and a shot or two of creme de cacao on the side once in a while. Maybe at least they dream of it. I am sure.”The Sun (March 1984).

Although Aquatic Yoga has the irreverence of R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural (1970-77) and Fritz the Cat (1969), the description of Early Fish implies a nod toward the sort of livre d’artiste exemplified by Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté (1934) and Ludwig Zeller’s Alphacollage (1979). Continuing in this tradition are book artists such as Moussa Kone and Francesc Ruiz.

Hines, Kay. The Endless Filmscript [drehbuch] (1978). Found objects and motion-picture film altered with ink and mounted as a Möbius strip. Signed. 29 1/2” X 8” x 13 5/8”.

The Endless Filmscript [Drehbuch] (1978)
Kay Hines
Photo and video: Courtesy of the artist. Click on the image or title to see the video.

Along with her partner Dieter Froese (d.2006), Hines pioneered video installation art and co-founded Dekart Video. Both were part of the Fluxus movement. Displayed in the same space as Jana Kluge’s Untitled (see below), this loop of film altered with ink and mounted as a Möbius strip would certainly have contributed to the exhibition’s startle factor. The video behind the link shows the work more clearly and includes its reading by the performance artist Arleen Schloss. What a boon to book art exhibitions if each work displayed under glass were accompanied by similar videos.

Hines writes that the inspiration for The Endless Filmscript was twofold:

It was based on 2 concepts. One I wanted to correlate individual film frames with alphabet letters. And two, I was interested in the Möbius loop concept where the last sentence of a story leads back to the first. — Correspondence with Books On Books, 31 March 2020.

The Möbius strip is not uncommon in book art. Two outstanding examples are Daniel E. Kelm‘s Neo Emblemata Nova (2005) and Doug Beube’s Red Infinity #4 (2014). But combining the use of film with the allocation of one letter per film frame is one of the more uncommon challenges in book art to the page as a syntactic unit.

Left and top right: Neo Emblemata Nova (2005), Daniel E. Kelm
Bottom right: Infinity Text #8 (2014), Doug Beube

Hocks, Paula. No Caryatids (1982). Multiple: one of two. Black-and-white and color photocopy reproductions of collages; in codex binding with publisher’s cloth with inner and outer cloth wrappers; 115 leaves. Unsigned. 9 1/16” x 10 11/16” x 1 9/16”. [No image of the work found]

Founder of Running Women Press, Hocks (d.2003) relied on a photocopier to reproduce imagery and text that was hand written, typed, or clipped from printed material. This seems to have been more of financial necessity than allegiance to the ”democratic multiple”. Images of her other works can be found here. The Otis College of Art and Design has images of four of her works, including Head and Bodies 2, which illustrate the likely techniques of No Caryatids. The Paula Hocks archive resides at the New Mexico Museum of Art Library.

Horton, David. In Celebration of the Discovery of the Abandoned Star Factory (1982). Multiple: one of thirty. Paper maché and electric motor in commercial salesman’s samples case; with cloth pouch containing: David Horton. In Celebration of the Discovery of the Abandoned Star Factory. Atlanta, Georgia. Nexus Press, 1982 [halftone illustrations and text printed lithographically with serigraphed designs over paper and string collages, and silver print (photograph); in codex binding in publisher’s cloth; 12 leaves]. Construction: unsigned. 11 15/16” x 15 1/8” x 5 11/16”. Codex: signed. 9 15/16” x 8 11/16” x 1”. [No image of the work found]

As noted in Ric Haynes’ entry, Horton can be associated with the comic or cartoon book tradition in book art. Although In Celebration does not fall into that category, it predicts Horton’s fictional character “Dr. Thelonious Tinker, Cosmic Archeologist”. According to Horton’s entry at William Paterson University, “In addition to making artifacts, appliances and notebook pages, he is currently drafting writings and drawings for a series of graphic novels on this character’s life and adventures“. This work by Horton with its commercial salesman’s sample case reflects the Duchampian “boîte-en-valise” tradition in book art, and its introduction of moving parts and motors reflects another sub-genre in the field. See Regan Avery’s The Groton Avery Clan (2014) or Doug Beube’s Dis/Solve (2018).

Kluge, Jana. [Untitled] (1984). Found printed codex [Spanish/English dictionary] altered with seawater borne vegetable and mineral matter. Signed. 4 9/16” x 5 7/8” x 1 11/16”.

The description above matches that for her work entitled se(e)a book (1984) displayed by Galerie Horst Dietrich in Berlin in 1987 as well as that for the description of the work entitled Book Written by the Sea, Cadaqués, Spain (1984) listed and shown in Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection (2014). In correspondence with Books On Books, Kluge writes that the work was one of a series created over the summers of 1983-85 in Cadaqués, Spain. The technique or tradition in book art of creating a work by exposing it to the elements runs back to Marcel Duchamp’s Le Readymade Malheureux (1919) and forward to Mark Cockram’s Kintsugi (2013) and Decomp (2013) by Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott.

se(e)a book (1984)
Spanish/English dictionary, covered under water with seaweed and seashells, being formed by movements of the sea, dried in the wind and by the sun); 23 x 18 x 7 cm. 
Photographer: Horst Dietrich. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Photo of page from Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection (2014)
Photo: Books On Books

From the late 80s though, Kluge felt another force impinging on the book form, and her work moved from collaboration with the elements to the communal and expanded into the digital. Her collaboration Gutenberg‘s Galaxy (2014) represents Marshall McLuhan’s themes of alphabetization, print culture and electronic medias altered by a “village” of artists employing audiovisual fantasies, video-works, digital art on paper and twelve electro-acoustical compositions.

Image: Courtesy of the artist

Kostiuk, Michael. Airplane Shadow Book (1981/82). Found codex, plastic airplane model, wood, and photolithography-offset reproduction altered with paint. Signed. 7 7/16” x 16 1/16” x 16 1/16”.

The found codex is apparently penetrated by a diving plastic model airplane (cut in two and attached to the back and front covers). From the Franklin Furnace “New Zealand Tour” of artists’ books, Kostiuk’s comments on his approach shed some light on Airplane Shadow Book, and images on his FaceBook page use an approach similar to that in Airplane Shadow Book.

I use the book format to involve the viewer personally and tactually [sic] by elements of surprise within the motion of opening and viewing the pop-up books and the physical or visual three-dimensionality of various works. Sometimes clear vinyl is used for pages, instead of paper, and are loose-leaf/ring bound, giving the viewer an option of hand viewing or, by attaching each grommeted page with push pins to a wall, linear viewing.

I use various artistic experiences to create an imagery that is both clearly stated and contradictory. The concepts are seen as paired imagery, visible speech narratives, and three-dimensional pop-ups, incorporated in various media of drawing, painting, and sculpture on photographic surfaces
to create a personal style.

In Artists’ Books New Zealand Tour, 1978, curated by Jacki Apple and Martha Wilson (New York: Franklin Furnace, 1978).

Kostiuk’s book penetration is quite distinct from those of, say, John Latham and Doug Beube. The Michael Kostiuk Collection is held at the University of Texas at Austin, but no online images are currently available there, and Airplane Shadow Book seems not to be part of the collection. Images of Kostiuk’s photography can be found in the Dallas Museum of Art.and archival material resides with New York’s MoMA.

Lavater, Warja. Jeu : livre en “papier modulé” (1980). Multiple: One of twenty-two. Cast paper, some color-dyed; in codex gathering but not sewn; in drop-spine book box with publisher’s cloth covering; 10 leaves. Signed. 18 1/2” x 11 11/16” x 1 7/16”. [No image of the work found]

Fourteen of Lavater’s works are in the Otis College of Art and Design Collection and another 23 entries can be found in the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection at Florida Atlantic University.

Lazaron, Edna (d.2007). Terror (1985). Multiple: One of four. Black-and-white and color photocopies of collages over paper and transparent polyester, altered with ink, paint, and color photographs; in codex binding with foil over heavy paper front board altered with paint and string, and colored plastic back board, with electrical coil cord, string, and field clasp tie; in matte plastic draw-string bag; 6 leaves. Unsigned. 9” x 12 1/4” x 1 7/8”.

The catalogue shows two images of this work: closed and open. A related work — Terrorism (1985) — resides in New York’s Center for Book Arts and is shown in the catalogue Multiple, Limited, Unique (2011), p.88. The Joan Flasch Artists’ Books Collection holds two other works — Souvenir vignette/Yucatán (1982) and Markings (1985) — that suggest a penchant on Lazaron’s part for soft containers for her bookworks, further confirmed by the plastic sleeve enveloping Worth the Wait?, four images of which can be seen in the Artists’ Book Collection, University of Louisville Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library.

Worth the Wait? (197?)
Edna Lazaron
Unbound artists’ book folded to 11 x 11 cm with illustrations; 22 x 22 cm unfolded.
Artists’ Book Collection, University of Louisville Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library.

Löhr, Helmut (d.2010). Blablabla (1985). Found codex wrapped in layered and rubber stamped colored tissue papers. Signed. 11 5/16” x 7 13/16” x 3 1/4”. [No image of the work found]

The many instances of Löhr’s works in the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum are nothing like that described in The Book Made Art. In Visual Poetry (1987), below, Löhr distorts blocks of type and the type within the blocks and presents them in irregular pentagrams. The text may be found text, but the production value is unlike that in most found codex works.

Visual Poetry (1987)
Helmut Löhr
Artist’s book, featuring typewriter art printed on double leaves cut in the shape of an irregular pentagram. Photos: Books On Books at National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Long, Richard. Mud Hand Prints (1984). Multiple: One of one hundred. Dried mud over paper; 6 leaves. Unsigned. 13 1/2” x 11 5/8” x 5/8”.

Mud Hand Prints (1984)
Richard Long

Mud Hand Prints was published by an early champion of Long, Coracle Press, which is also represented in The Book Made Art by Erica Van Horn (below). The incorporation of raw natural material in book art has a long tradition and ongoing

Masullo, Andrew. Pandora (1985). Twenty tablets wrapped in letterpress- and photolithography-offset-printed papers; in hinged box with glass-covered compartments containing dried flowers, a photograph, and found papers; box covered with found and painted papers. Unsigned. 2 5/16” x 6 5/8” x 4 5/8”.

Masullo retains the work, and the only view of it is that in the catalogue. Like Beube’s entry in The Book Made Art, the description of Masullo’s will remind the viewer of Joseph Cornell’s boxes. According to Masullo, the work’s full title is 1029; Pandora. His subsequent works (mostly paintings in vibrant colours and numbered sequentially), the titles are simply the number reflecting the order in which they were created. According to most articles about Masullo, the numbers reflect his aim “to prevent the viewer from being unduly influenced by words“. More than that, as Masullo writes: “using words to explain my visual life is something I do my best to avoid“ (correspondence with Books On Books, 17 February 2020).

So if the work had been named only 1029, how might the viewer in 1986 have responded to this hinged box, closed with a “P”-shaped clasp and containing dried flowers in their glass-covered compartments, images of classical busts and the Sphinx, medical drawings of the human organs, a globe and twenty tablets wrapped in paper and embedded in the upper half of the box? From that clasp, might the viewer have sussed that it was “Pandora’s” box? Would the viewer have known what had been irretrievably released by opening the box? Hard to say: like Pandora, the viewer/reader today cannot un-know what is known when responding to this work of art. The conundrum does, however, focus attention on the role of words and text in book art.

McCarney, Scott. Home Sweet Home (1985). Multiple: One of four. Paper in accordion-fold binding with decorative and marbled paper-covered Boards; with paper-covered slip case. Signed. 11 5/8” x 9 1/12” x 1 3/4”.

Home Sweet Home (1985)
Scott McCarney
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

The role of words and text in Scott McCarney’s art runs long and deep. McCarney’s use of the pop-up and leporello forms is most often seen in his abecedaries, a common genre in book art that is surprisingly not represented in The Book Made Art. As Spector might put it, in Home Sweet Home, McCarney is a master of the syntax of the book. Using the leporello and pop-up structures, the forms of letters and their placement on the spread page, he creates a striking effect of simultaneity.

Miller, Brenda. The Aleph (1985). Pastel over stencil pattern-cut decorative paper [correction per correspondence with artist, 8 May 2020: “Blue editing pencil on hand made paper from sisal, cut from alphabet stencil]; in codex binding with leather over boards and gold foil title stamping by Gérard Charrière; 31 leaves. Signed. 16 13/16” x 15 1/16” x 1 5/8”.

The Aleph (1985)
© Brenda Miller
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Miller’s other alphabet-related works differ from The Aleph in their size and in this work’s more literary inspiration (the Borges story, according to Miller in correspondence with Books On Books, 21 March 2020). This “blue editing pencil on hand made paper from sisal, cut from alphabet stencil“ and Miller’s Horizontal alphabet (26) south-east in the Harry Ransom Center Book Collection, University of Texas Austin, share Gérard Charrière as binder. Clearly from the title of the latter, it is closer to the spirit of the installations under the titles Vertical Alphabet and Horizontal Alphabet, which can be seen on the New York MoMA site. An interview with Barbara Haskell on the occasion of an exhibition at the Whitney explains Miller’s conceptual and systematic creative technique.

Osborn, Kevin. Vector Rev (1983). Multiple: One of one hundred. Color offset lithography over decorative die-cut papers with glass marbles; in fan-shape binding (hinged near base); with brushed aluminum outer covers and cloth ribbon tie with aluminum clasp; 140 leaves. Unsigned. 19 3/16” x 2 1/16” x 1 7/8”.

Vector Rev (1983)
© Kevin Osborn
Photo: Books On Books.

Vector Rev (1983)
© Kevin Osborn
Photos: Books On Books. For another view, see University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Like Kay Hines’ The Endless Filmscript and many other works displayed in The Book Made Art, Osborn’s Vector Rev challenges to the very structure of the book. But this challenge is rooted in the book’s historical structure. Books shaped like fans are an Asian and Indian tradition, dating back to manuscript sutras.

Photos: Left – “Pattra”, Cangminzho • CC BY-SA 4.0; Right – “Palm leaf manuscripts of 16th century in Odia script”, Manoj Choudhury • CC BY-SA 3.0.

Phillips, Nicholas. Egyptian Hours (1980). Multiple: One of ninety. Color intaglio over paper altered with cutting, watercolors, thread, and graphite pencil; unbound in paperback edition leather folding case; 8 panels. Signed. 6 7/16” x 6 7/16” x 1 3/4”

Egyptian Hours falls somewhere between book and portfolio box. Somewhat like photos and captions in a photobook, text and relief images play off one another, but mediated by glyphs in the “table of contents”, the named hours are distant from the images associated with them. If the table of contents were held apart, the distance would shorten, but the images are so evocative, there is more pleasure in guessing the nature of the hour that the image represents: the image of a window lattice through which to watch, an image of a tile fragment or the image of archivally numbered shards.

Egyptian Hours (1980)
Nicholas Phillips
Photos: Books On Books at the National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum.

____________. Tales of the Floating World (1983). Multiple: One of forty-five. Color intaglio over paper; unbound with two protective boards in publisher’s cloth and paper-covered telescoping box; 9 leaves. Signed. 10 1/4” x 10 3/16” x 1 1/16”.

Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

A sequence of images where the viewer floats away from the earth and its orbit to the far reaches of the universe. Starting with a view of the pyramids at Kareima (from drawings I’d done from high up on the Gebel Berkal), thence a low earth orbit view of cloud formations over the ocean, and so on past the moon to be amongst the exploding galaxies. The images increase in size as we travel: from the single squares at the start to the doubles for space walk and moon to the final image where the view opens out across 3 side-by-side sheets. The colophon text, a quote from a 17th cent Buddhist priest [Tales of the floating world, by Asai Ryoi] says it all. Nicholas Phillips

The words of Asai Ryoi, partially hidden in the first row’s center image, are

Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms, and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating … Tales of the Floating World (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, 1984).

Polansky, Lois. Anatomical Digressions (1985). Gold ink, graphite pencil, charcoal, printing ink, watercolor, paint, and dry transfer and self-adhesive lettering over cast and machine-made papers; in accordion-fold binding; 12 panels. Signed. 15 3/8” x 11 1/2” x 3 3/4”. [No image of the work found]

U&LC, February 1985, Vol 11, No 4 contains “The Metamorphosis of a Book”, an essay on Polansky’s bookworks. A small thumbnail appears on the “Art in Embassies” site, and two loose album pages have been offered for sale by RoGallery (see below).

The Heart Leves (n.d.)
Lois Polansky
From “Lois Polansky”, Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State, accessed 3 February 2020.

Album Pages IX & X (n.d.)
Lois Polansky
From RoGallery, accessed 5 February 2020.

Robinson, Aminah Brenda Lynn. Sapelo Hog Hammock Community (1984). Cloths, buttons, and embroidery yarns; in accordion-fold binding; 3 panels. Signed. 24” x 16 5/8” x 2 3/4”.

A halftone image of the bookwork is included in the catalogue, so the full glory of the work has to be appreciated by a look at its quilt work companion. The quilt work shown below surpasses the book work in size, but both thrust a vibrant narrative grounded in the African concept of Sankofa, “learning from the past in order to move forward“. Both works draw on her extended visits to Sapelo Island, Georgia, USA. [Image of the book art from Artnet]

Sapelo Island, Hog Hammock Community Quilt (1977-86)
Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
Wool, buttons, beads, leather, music box and found objects
49 x 64 inches. Collection of the artist.
©Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson

Schnabel, Bruce. Companions in Spirit (1985). See Simon Toparovsky below.

Senser, Andreas. I remember Italy (1985). Paint, graphite pencil, and ink over layered papers, found illustrations and text, photographs, and clear polyester; in accordion-fold binding; 11 panels. Unsigned. 13 3/16” x 10 3/16” x 15/16”. [No image of the work found]

Images of thirteen works by Senser can be viewed at Visual AIDS. The one below is the only accordion-fold among them.

Untitled (poem), 1986
Andreas Senser
Pigment on collaged paper, rag board, and wood, 6×10 1/2×4
Courtesy the estate of Andreas Senser and Visual AIDS.

Share, Susan Joy. The Bell Show (1982). Game board and game board pieces, black-and-white and color photocopies of packing ephemera, found illustrations, and text, altered with watercolor, paint, and rubber stamping; mounted on painted publishers’ cloth-wrapped panels; in end-to-end gate-fold binding with brass snap-buttons on buckram band closure; 4 panels. Signed. 14 7/8” x 14 5/8” x 1 9/16”.

The Bell Show (1982)
Susan Joy Share
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Another example of Share’s “architectural” flair in making art of the book’s form, Vivian’s  Photos (below) from the same period combines discarded photos of buildings and sidewalks with painted papers to create changing atmospheres and architectural formats. This work did not appear in The Book Made Art but did show up in Book Ar(t)chitecture, curated by Richard Minsky the year before.

Vivian’s Photos (1984)
Susan Joy Share
Cloth, board, photo, paper, acrylic, cord. The eight signatures are made from board-weight collaged panels, laminated to linen hinges. The signatures are oversewn onto a single common cord, creating a clothesline-like appearance. A collage folding-box contains the piece.
7” x 6.25” x 2.5” opening to 6.25” x 13″” x 30”. Photos: Hiro Ihara. Courtesy of the artist.

Shaw, Karen. Petit Larousse: Various Editions (1980). Found materials including twelve miniature blank books, pins, metal title plate, glass-lidded box, cotton, and small labels altered with dry-transfer lettering. Signed. 12 3/16” x 16 1/4” x 2 1/2”.

The catalogue provides a halftone image, but the zoomable, online images at the Yale Art Gallery, where the work is part of the Allan Chasanoff Collection, provides some of the color’s impact. Shaw’s bookworks have a great sense of humor, as does the best of book art. These images of another of her dictionary-related works demonstrate that humor well.

EntomologicalEtymological Specimens
Karen Shaw
From a series of nine. Open: 14” x 22”.  When these works were displayed, they were only partially open and mounted on the wall to resemble the shape of butterflies.
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Siberell, Anne Hicks. Wotan (1984). Colored and cast plasters imbedded with found objects including photographic slide mount altered with paint, packaging labels, and ruler fragment; with wood box and cover and elastic band closure containing ink on vellum manuscript poem. Unsigned. 8” x 5 15/16” x 1 3/8”.

Wotan (1984)
Anne Hicks Siberell
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Unboxed: Wotan (1984)
Anne Hicks Siberell
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Clockwise from top left: Goddess Doormat (), Archaeology (), Three Blind Mice (), He Said She Said () and Pisa ().
Anne Hicks Siberell.
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Skuber, Berty. A Different Game (1977). Ink, graphite pencil, and watercolor over paper in combination with black-and-white photocopies, black-and-white photographs, color photographs, and postage stamp; unbound in publishers’ cloth drop-spine book box; 16 leaves. Signed. 9 1/16” x 6 3/4” x 15/16”.

Last two pages of the bottom row from A Different Game (1977)
Berty Skuber
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

This work has “long, strong legs”. It appeared as recently as 7 March – 7 June 2019 in the exhibition called Anatomia del linguaggio at the Galleria dell’Accademia di Belle Arti in Macerata, Italy. In requesting that the work be framed in two rows, one above the other, each eight pages long, and shown on a wall, or displayed in a vitrine, Skuber makes clear that she does not think of A Different Game as exclusively a book. In correspondence, she also notes, “This was the form most typical of my work at that time, most of which, like this piece, made use of photographs, India ink, watercolor, and elements of collage.“ In 2002, Henry Martin wrote an insightful piece in NY Arts Magazine about Skuber’s work then. Skuber’s work will be shown in New Orleans in 2020, and for that show she writes: “Words are an essential part of [my work], and another of its features is a constant return to grids and grid-like stuctures that also have something to do with a sense of the scansion of time. This is particularly clear, moreover, in my animated video collages, all of which are visible on my website, and three of which I’d especially call to your attention: Widdershins, parts 1 & 2 (2015-2016); Epicycles/eclipse (2013); and Sieben Farbraeume, for which the best English title might be “Seven Spaces, Seven Colors” (1996).

Smith, Keith A. Book 91 (1982). Multiple: One of fifty. Die-cut and embossed paper with string; in quarter publishers’ cloth and paper-sides binding; 24 leaves. Signed. 10 3/16” x 14 3/8” x 1 1/8”.

Phil Zimmerman published Book 91 under Spaceheater Editions 1984 and released the video above in 2013. Another example of how an accompanying video can somewhat counter the glass case. Also known as the ”String Book”, Book 91 boasts images at the Boston Athenaeum] and the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, which has an excellent descriptive essay by Judith Klau.

Spector, Buzz. Altered Lewitt (1985). Multiple: One of five. Found printed book [Sol Lewitt. (untitled. n.p.:) Sperone/Fisher, 1974. Edition: one of fifteen hundred.] altered by tearing and mounting text block in open position. Signed. 17 11/16” x 8 7/8” x 7/8”.

Photo: Courtesy of the artist. Taken during preparation for June 2020 exhibition at Saint Louis Art Museum.

Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

At the 1’55” mark, this video provides a view of Spector’s handling a similar work (a Jasper Johns catalogue). The technique of altering another book artist’s work or another artist’s catalogue of works is a recurrent practice among artists. Bruce Nauman’s 1968 Burning Small Fires plays with Ed Ruscha’s 1964 Various Small Fires and Milk, and Dennis Oppenheim’s 1970 Flower Arrangement for Bruce Nauman returns the favour. Noriko Ambe has come closest to Spector’s variation; she has altered catalogues of Koons, Lichtenstein, Richter, Warhol and several others.

Terauchi, Yoko. Terra (1984). Multiple: One of ten. Powdered pigment and paper; in codex binding with cloth ribbon fore-edge ties. Unsigned [correction per artist’s correspondence: “the title Terra on the first page is handwritten by myself and it is my ‘signature’ for all my art works”]. 14 5/8” x 10 15/16” x 5/8”.

Terra was the first of several works that Terauchi published with Coracle.

From William Allen Word & Image. Accessed 24 January 2020.

Toparovsky, Simon. Companions in Spirit (1985). Sequins, wire, thread, and cloth over synthetic mesh in silk-wrapped mats; in accordion-fold binding with silk over shallow bas-relief covers; with drop-spine book box in silk-wrapped, embossed, and shallow bas-relief outer covers; 6 panels. Unsigned. 19 1/8” x 15 3/4” x 2 3/8”. [No image of the work found]

Bruce Schnabel taught bookbinding at the Otis College of Design. Around 1990, he abandoned book art and began sculptural work under the name Simon Toparovsky. Toparovsky writes, “I believe ‘Companions in Spirit’ is in Special Collections at the University of Southern California… The most similar book about which I have a record is in the Getty Research Institute– ‘Chaos Should be Regarded as Extremely Good News’.” (correspondence with Books On Books, 24 April 2020). Although a full description of the latter can be found under its link, there is no image there. The artist has been kind enough to provide images of other bookworks from the same period.

Healing Hand (1983)
Simon Toparovsky
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Tikal Codex (1982)
Simon Toparovsky
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

The Mind Sees What the Eye Misses (1986)
Simon Toparovsky
From the artist’s collection: A screen book made of hand-dyed silk, heat tooled with gold and color foils over boards with onlays of hand-dyed silk. Bound with silk insertion stitches and glass seed beads. Edition of 9.
Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Van Horn, Erica. La Ville aux dames (“second state”). Vitry-sur-Seine: n.p., 1983. One-of-a-kind. Paint over paper; in accordion-style cover in publishers’ cloth with cloth ribbon ties on three sides; 12 leaves. Signed. 12 1/4” x 17 15/16” x 11/16”.

Permission of the artist.
Additional images can be found in Yale University’s Beinecke Digital Collections.

The work is one sheet constructed of six sheets sewn together and folded accordion style. Displayed unfolded, the work exceeds seventeen feet. Nancy Kuhl’s The Book Remembers Everything (2010) shows images of La Ville aux Dames and places the work in context of Van Horn’s other works of that period.

Vogel, Cornelia. 6 Livres (1982). Each book containing a number of collage elements including ink, graphite pencil, paint, and watercolor over paper with string, intaglio prints, color photographic transparencies, and cloth mesh; in accordion-fold bindings with similarly prepared paper covers; 6 leaves each. All signed. With painted compartment box. Unsigned. 3 1/2” x 3 11/16” x 4 15/16”. [No image of the work found]

Wygonik, Melanie (d.2005). Lost Playground (1985). Colored pencil, graphite pencil, ink, and paint over layered and sewn papers in combination with collage elements including fabrics, fabric edgings; embroideries, embroidery threads, buttons, sequins, and charms; in codex binding; 7 leaves. Signed. 22 1/4” x 15 3/16” x 1 3/8”. [No image of the work found]

Images of some of the artist’s two-dimensional works can be easily found, not so for the three-dimensional. From the same decade, Just Desserts (1980) and Shimmering (1983) are representative; unfortunately the images are black and white. The detail from this untitled watercolour can be found here (accessed 25 February 2020).

Detail of untitled watercolor (1977)
Melanie Wygonik
From eBay, accessed 25 February 2020.

Zelevansky, Paul. The Case for the Burial of Ancestors, Book I (1979-81). Ink, watercolor, graphite and blue graphic layout pencils, rubber stamping, dry-transfer lettering, and typewriter printing over paper in combination with photographs and photolitho-offset reproductions; unbound in solander case with carrying handle; 101 leaves. Signed. [Partial manuscript for: Paul Zelevansky. The Case for the Burial of Ancestors, Book I. New York: Zartscorp, Inc. Books and Visual Studies Workshop, 1981.] 2 15/16” x 15 3/8” x 13 1/2”.

Images from Jeff Hirsch Books. Accessed 24 January 2020.

See additional images from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library, Common Crow Used & Rare Books, Otis College of Art and Design, and a video from Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Zush. Portrait of New York City (1976-82). Found blank codex, with fore-edge leather ties, altered with ink, graphite pencil, and watercolor with the addition of found objects including photographs, string, metal scraps, fabric, vegetable matter, map fragment, and postcard. 23 leaves. Signed. 12 15/16” x 10 3/16” x 1 5/16”. [No image of the work found]

The Catalan artist Alberto Porta y Muñoz assumed the name Zush in 1968 and gradually switched to Evru starting in 2001. Portrait of New York City may have looked like the work Untitled (1979-1984) in Colleció “La Caixa”. Another work Uroxos (2000) is one of the last bookworks by Porta under the name Zush. Although Uroxos is an accordion-fold, its appearance alongside those of the accompanying prints and Untitled may stand in here for that of Portrait of New York City.

Further Reading

An Online Annotation of Germano Celant’s Book as Artwork 1960/1972“, Bookmarking Book Art, 9 October 2017.

An Online Annotation of The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books“, Bookmarking Book Art, 7 September 2017.

Architecture“, Bookmarking Book Art, 12 November 2018.

Doug Beube“, Books On Books Collection, 21 April 2020.

Buzz Spector“, Books On Books Collection, 31 March 2020.

On The Book (MIT Press, 2018)“, Books On Books, 7 June 2018.

The Box: From Duchamp to Horn“, Ubu Gallery, exhibition, 29 October – 10 December 1994. Accessed 15 February 2020.

Some final words from Jeffrey Abt:

Credit for the exhibit’s inception goes to Tony Zwicker (1925-2000) a passionate, knowledgeable, courageous, and caring dealer of modern and contemporary artists books. I first met her on a visit to her home/gallery located in a former artist’s studio in the National Arts Club building overlooking Gramercy Park (on 20th Street in New York) around 1983 or 1984. With its nearly two-story tall glass wall facing north over the park, it was a memorable setting. I was visiting her in the company of Robert Rosenthal, Curator (head) of the Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library, where I worked as exhibition coordinator. In addition to that job, I also advised Bob on the acquisition of artists books for the rare book collections; and we were there to learn and perhaps make some purchases. Tony not only knew the history of artists books and kept up to date on the latest developments, she was also discerning, insightful, and generous with her learning. When the idea for doing this show came about in the following year, we did not–originally–intend to rely so heavily on her holdings, but it became inevitable because she was so widely connected and the artists she represented trusted her (nearly all the works in the exhibit were very fragile and had to be prepared for shipment by fine arts packers). Bob, who was nothing if not adventuresome in his approach to book culture, enthusiastically backed my proposal for the exhibition despite its cost and encouraged the University’s Library Society to fund it and publication of the exhibit catalogue.

Tony’s importance at this particular point in the development of contemporary artists books warrants further exploration. Her papers are preserved at the Art Institute of Chicago: Tony Zwicker Archive. — Jeffrey Abt, Professor Emeritus, James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, Wayne State University, 12 May 2020.

Books On Books Collection – Doug Beube

Breaking the Codex (2011)

Doug Beube: Breaking the Codex
Marian Cohn, ed. (New York: Etc. Etc. The Iconoclastic Museum Press, 2011). Acquired from the artist, 15 February 2014. Photo: Books On Books Collection

Jacket, outer and inner. Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Back and front covers. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

In an interview with Judith Hoffberg, Doug Beube spoke of experiencing

the whole book as an entity in itself, which can’t be done by reading line by line. The book’s not made to do that. Readers experience the totality of the book by building up linear movement, word by word, sentence by sentence, etc. and I’m interested in the book as a simultaneous experience.UmbrellaVol 25, No 3-4 (2002)

Doug Beube: Breaking the Codex (2011) documents the impression that, in pursuit of that experience, Beube has foreshadowed and/or echoed nearly every variation of book art in play from the 1980s to the early twenty-first century. Beube has been extraordinarily inventive with the book as raw artistic material but not only for the sake of that experience. Beube is a biblioclast and an ideoclast. His works have altered the codex form and deployed its “syntax” and its metaphoric identities to address recurring political, social and philosophical themes. The two small works in the Books On Books Collection lean more toward the aesthetic and philosophical themes, but the presence of Doug Beube: Breaking the Codex makes a handy reminder of the artist’s substantial body of larger ideoclastic works.

Empty Talk (2016)

Empty Talk (2016)
Doug Beube
Altered book, plexi glass, acrylic box, wood. Framed, H286 x W232 x D51 mm.
Acquired from Kaller Fine Arts, 20 July 2017. Photo: Books On Books Collection.

Views of Empty Talk. Photos: Courtesy of the artist.

Empty Talk is part of the Speechless series, which derives from the work Cut ‘Shortcomings’ (2015). Beube describes the origin of the works:

Shortcomings’ is the original title of the graphic novel by cartoonist Adrian Tomine. It was published by Drawn and Quarterly in Montreal, Canada in 2007. The genre of this art form with seven to nine cells per page, in a gridded format, is drawn in black and white with ‘speech bubbles’ floating overhead of the characters in the book. In the Speechless series, an ongoing collage project, is the removal and outlining of the drawings and speech bubbles using an surgeon’s knife. Reducing the content to line drawings, the pages become veiled layers, a dissected essence of the story that the brain comprehends as both linear and abstract. Between the two, narrative and abstraction, it invites the viewer to literally read between the lines and pages. The final artwork is presented as four pages deep separated by 3/16th inch foam core. The backing of the meticulously cut mash-up of the collage is another version of ‘Shortcomings’ that is sliced into strips then stacked on top of one another. — Dougbeube.com. Accessed 16 April 2020.

Photo: Books On Books Collection.

Hanging on a wall in the collection, Empty Talk mesmerizes. It balances an abstract figure resulting from excision and collage against its pun and linguistic/visual jigsaw puzzle. That tension between abstraction and linearity harks back to Beube’s stated pursuit of “the book as a simultaneous experience” in tension with the reader’s linear experience of it. A kind of cross-eyed, twisted brain state.

Red Infinity #4 (2017)

Red Infinity #4 (2017)
Doug Beube
Altered book. 152 x 83 x 57 mm. Acquired from SeagerGray Gallery, 7 April 2020. Photo: Books On Books Collection.

Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Red Infinity #4. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

The book from which Red Infinity is formed is The Word: A Look at the Vocabulary of English by Charlton Laird (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981). At play are at least three interlocking puns: “in the beginning was The Word”; the Möbius strip, a secular never-ending Alpha and Omega; and the symbol of infinity, a secular “world without end”. And the bonus fourth: take The Word as “red/read”. The surfaces of Red Infinity invite touch, but its fragility forbids it. Its weight less than a small bird’s nest, Red Infinity belies its weighty allusions. Here is infinity from the finite.

Looking Outside the Collection

Since Doug Beube: Breaking the Codex (2011), the artist has continued to create large numbers of individual bookworks, but another type of work has come to the fore: large dynamic multimedia installations: Melt (2014), Dis/Solve (2018) and Wash (2020). The first two still incorporate the book as artistic material, but the third moves away from it. Variously requiring participation or observation in the moment as with a performance, these works ironically remind us of Beube’s observation that

The codex is intractable as a technology; restricted from interacting with it by not altering its inevitable course, you read linearly from beginning to end. It is essentially inflexible. That is its built-in personality flaw; that is its elegance.Dougbeube.com. Accessed 18 April 2020.

Melt (2104)
Doug Beube
“… an environmentally sensitive sculpture that involves six selected books physically carved according to their theme. Once frozen, the ice functions to animate messages for social and political conditions, cultures of power or violence both physical and psychological, and those structures existing to support the inverse of the latter. Because Melt is subject to the weather, the anachronistic technology of the book is leveraged into the environment directly.”
Photos: Courtesy of artist.

Dis/Solve (2018)
Doug Beube
“… an environmentally sensitive sculpture that presents two books that have been physically carved and frozen into blocks of ice. …One book is Arab and Jew; Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David K. Shipler and the other is The High Walls of Jerusalem by Roland Sanders. The word ABRAHAM is carved into the books A-B-R on the left side and A-H-A-M, on the other. As the ice melts, the water is captured by two steel plinths that drain into one tank. The water is dispensed into bottles with labels that read dis/SOLUTION.”
Photos: Courtesy of artist.

Wash (2020)
Doug Beube
“…a collection of specially crafted soap bars etched with racial slurs and epithets. Carefully set onto a wall of soap dishes, this arrangement invites participants to wash their hands with a bar, letting the ink flow from the letters and mix with the white suds and lather.”
Photos: Courtesy of artist.

Fully experiencing either his dynamic or interactive installations re-enacts this linearity, this “built-in personality flaw” of the codex. Even accessing them by still image (online or offline in a book) or by moving image reminds us secondhand of this flaw. Perhaps the flaw belongs not only to the codex technology (there is no book present in Wash) but to any work of art “bound” by linear process and time. Whether caught by the experiencing, the image or merely the concept, we stand then to be implicated in what these three installations address: religious, environmental and political conflict and “othering” slurs — things of which we cannot wash our hands.

Further Reading

Barry, Rebecca. “Doug Beube’s Frozen Books Installation in Brooklyn Tackles Climate Change and Geopolitics“, Fine Books Magazine, 2 October 2018. Accessed 19 April 2020. Commentary on Dis/Solve.

Cohn, Marian (ed.). Doug Beube: Breaking the Codex (New York: Etc. Etc. The Iconoclastic Museum Press, 2011). “Etc. Etc. The Iconoclastic Museum” is a fictional mueseum invented by Beube in 1981 and curated by the equally fictional Art Gossip. This additional bit of evidence of Beube’s wide-ranging creativity is mentioned in the interview with Judith Hoffberg, entitled “A Cut Up and a Book Artist”, originally published in the journal Umbrella and included as a chapter in this book.

Frost, Gary. The Future of the Book (2000-2009). Available through the Wayback Machine. Accessed 19 April 2020.

In the Hoffberg interview, Beube mentions Gary Frost’s influence via his deep-seated knowledge of the history of the book. There is that, but there is also Frost’s ongoing exploration of the haptic nature of the book. Both strands of influence can be seen throughout Doug Beube: Breaking the Codex. But where Frost would seek the possibility of an ongoing link between the print and the digital — “In place of simplistic displacements a complex interaction of book formats surrounds us and continues to challenge our reading skills” (February 2006) — Beube finds a more sardonic and acerbic humorous split. A twisted phonebook dangled before his face in the photo entitled Facebook to create a self-portrait “both acknowledges and satirizes the intended community of computer users.”

Roalf, Peggy. “Doug Beube on Reading Art“, DART: Design Arts Daily, 8 July 2015. Accessed 19 April 2020. Interview in which Beube discusses the larger work Cut “Shortcomings” from which Empty Talk is derived.

Smith, Keith. The New Structure of the Visual Book (2003)

____________. The New Text in the Book Format (2004)

Beube’s aim at an experience of the wholeness of the book plays off a major theme in Smith’s two books: Composing the book, as well as the pictures it contains, creates pacing in turning pages. Just as poetry and cinema are conceived in time, so is a book.”  Both Smith and Beube are interested in the structure of the book, “the mechanical aspects of the book as  a technology, and how it functions as a container of  information,” as Beube puts it. But where Smith pushes the traditional form of the book to enhance the book experience that “Events depicted in writing unfold through time in space, alongside the physical act of turning pages,” Beube is “trying to solve the problem of experiencing the content of the book as a visual phenomenon, layering it and transforming it into a visual object.”

Bookmarking Book Art – Hedi Kyle’s The Art of the Fold: How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures (2018)

The [artists’ book] movement had its beginnings with a few individuals (conceptual artists Dieter Roth, Hansjörg Mayer, and Ed Ruscha immediately come to mind), but in the area of structural experiment and invention only one person seems to have been markedly influential (albeit seriously ignored): Hedi Kyle.

Alastair Johnston, “Visible Shivers Running Down My Spine”, Parenthesis, Fall 2013m Number 25.

While Alastair Johnston’s 2013 interview with Hedi Kyle is a rich one and welcome, it is inaccurate to say Hedi Kyle has been seriously ignored.  After all, in 2005, the Guild of Book Workers awarded her an honorary membership, and Syracuse University’s Library invited her to deliver that year’s Brodsky Series lecture. In 2008, the Philadelphia Senior Artists Initiative recorded her oral history and posted her artist’s statement along with an extensive list of prior exhibitions, honors, professional roles and board memberships stretching back to 1965.

If, however, Johnston’s assessment is accurate, subsequent events have rectified the situation. In 2015, Kyle delivered the keynote address “Four Decades under the Spell of the Book” for the Focus on Book Arts annual conference. In the same year, the 23 Sandy Gallery held a successful international juried exhibition entitled “Hello Hedi“, an echo of the 1993 exhibition organized by the New York Center for Book Arts entitled Hedi Kyle and Her Influence, 1973-1993. In 2016, the San Francisco Center for the Book held a solo exhibition for Kyle: “The World of Hedi Kyle: Codex Curios and Bibli’objets“.

And now, in 2018, Laurence King Publishers has brought out the eagerly awaited The Art of the Fold by Kyle and daughter Ulla Warchol, which is the immediate impetus for this essay. The authors aim their book at artists and craftworkers, but there is a secondary audience: anyone interested in book art or artists’ books or origami — and learning how better to appreciate them.

On picking up the book, the first thing its primary and secondary audiences should notice is the folded “dust jacket”. Why the quotation marks?  Just look:

“Dust jacket” unfolded, side 1
“Dust jacket” unfolded, side 2

This innovative, subject-appropriate cut, fold and print can set the reader on a hunt for precursors such as Peter and Pat Gentenaar-Torley’s Paper Takes Flight/Papier op de Vlucht, designed by Loes Schepens, where the multilayered dust jacket has small envelopes attached to hold paper samples from the contributing artists, or Doug Beube’s Breaking the Codex, designed by Linda Florio, where the dust jacket includes a perforated bookmark, whose removal implicates the reader in a bit of biblioclasm and challenges Western parochialism.

Paper Takes Flight/Papier op de Vlucht (2006) Peter and Pat Gentenaar-Torley Note how the book’s title is revealed on the second dust jacket from the bottom.
The five opened dust jackets displayed beneath the title page
Bottom-most dust jacket folded from the backboard to the right revealing the airmail envelope, which contains a blank sheet of airmail stationery

The Art of the Fold‘s clean, balanced design (Alexandre Coco) and excellent diagrams (authors) mesh well with the text. While this integrated clarity in the introductory section on Tools, Materials, Terminology, Symbols and Techniques will be appreciated most by artists and paper engineers, the secondary audience of library/gallery curators, aficionados and collectors will benefit from the description and comments in particular on materials, terminology and techniques. Knowing these points about an object of book art enhances appreciation of it and improves its handling, presentation and preservation.

Following this introduction, Kyle and Warchol provide 36 sets of detailed instructions across 5 sections:

  • The Accordion
  • Blizzards
  • One-Sheet Books
  • Albums
  • Enclosures

This double-page spread introducing the accordion structure shows off the the diagrams’ clarity, a feature throughout the book. Also in this spread are two important statements in the verso page’s final paragraph:

The accordion fold as an independent component is our focus point in this book…. Let us start with a brief visual display of a variety of folding styles. Hopefully they will inspire you to grab some paper and start folding. (p .28)

The focus on structure “as an independent component” is a strength and weakness. The strength is self-evident in the thoroughness and attention to detail. The weakness? More than occasionally, the authors make asides about the meaningful interaction of structure with content and, occasionally, with other components (type, color, printing technique, etc.). Some exemplars selected by the authors would have been welcome. The artist’s and reader’s challenge is to provide their own examples of how the structural component might work with different types of content, mixed media and other components that combine to deliver the artistic object.

The second statement — the exhortation “to grab some paper and start folding” —  illustrates an unalloyed strength of this book. As towering an authority and figure in the book arts and book art as Hedi Kyle is, she and her co-author go out of their way again and again to keep readers open to playing with the techniques and structures and finding their own  inventiveness and creativity. For those content to collect or curate, both statements push them to look for or revisit outstanding examples and inventive variants of the structures elucidated. After this section, a browse of Stephen Perkins’ accordion publications, a site running since 2010, would be a good start.

This double-page spread introducing the section on Blizzard structures delivers that blend of the anecdotal with essential engineering-like detail that is characteristic of the authors’ style throughout. Having explained how this family of folded structures that bind themselves got its name (a fold discovered in a daylong fold-a-thon due to a blizzard’s shutting everything down), the authors dive into the proportionality so key to getting them right. Perhaps because of its non-adhesive, origami-centric nature, the blizzard book structure generates more than its fair share of kitsch exemplars. When blizzard books do come along that rise to the level of art — integrating structure, content, printing, typography, color and other components of bookmaking in an artistically meaningful way — they stand out all the more. One such work took first place in the 23 Sandy Gallery’s juried exhibition in 2015, “Hello Hedi”:

Blizzard Book (2015)
Virginia Phelps

Next to The Accordion section, the One-Sheet Books section has the most models. It is also the section that most addresses that challenge mentioned above:

A book folded from a single sheet of paper, including covers, offers a unique opportunity to consider the content and cover as one comprehensive design exercise. We explore the coming together of printing, layout and folding. (P. 94)

Given this opportunity, some treatment of imposition would have been useful, especially for the Franklin Fold and the Booklet Fold Variations. For the Booklet Fold Variations, one could lightly pencil into the book’s clear diagrams the usual markings and enumerations as below.

Again, a few selected photographs of examples of One-Sheet Books that achieve the coming together of content, design, printing, layout and folding would have been welcome.

The double-page spread above with which the Albums section begins exemplifies the book’s quality of photography (by Paul Warchol, Ulla’s husband). Like the “dust jacket”, the crisply photographed Panorama Book structure (upper right) and the pages that explain it will send readers on a quest to make their own or hunt for outstanding examples such as these by Cathryn Miller and Cor Aerssens, a long-time friend and correspondent with Kyle.

Westron Wynde (2016)
Cathryn Miller
Author’s statement: “This book presents the poem ‘Westron Wynde‘ in a purely visual form. Letters become colours, and are used as graphic elements. The book manifests the essence, if not the sense, of the poem.”
Westron wynde when wyll thou blow,
The smalle rayne down can rayne – 
Cryst, yf my love wer in my armys
And I yn my bed agayne!


Memories (2012)
Cor Aerssens
Memories (2012)
Cor Aerssens
Memories (2012)
Cor Aerssens

A cautionary, or perhaps encouraging, note though: the fact that some structures can enfold others will frustrate readers with strict classificatory minds and exhilarate the more freewheeling. The Phelps’ Blizzard Book highlighted above includes in its sections items exemplifying the Flag Book and Fishbone structures. Aerssens’ Memories is even more so an integrated variant of the Panorama Book structure, featuring as it does panels within panels, two 8-leaf booklets bound into front and back with paper hinges, and mylar folders holding pressed flora from Aerssen’s northern Dutch environs.

The Enclosures section presents fascinating structures, not all of which are suited “to fit many of the projects in the previous chapters”. For example, the second-most fascinating form — the Telescoping Ziggurat, shown in the lower left corner of the recto page above — looks incapable of enclosing any of the other 35 structures. The authors acknowledge it is “less of a book and more of a toy — a stimulating and curious object whose inherent mathematical quality mesmerizes as it spirals inward and outward”. The most fascinating form, however, is as much a book as stimulating and curious object: the Sling Fold structure.

This structure looks suited to enclosing scrolls or narrow, collapsed accordion books of diminishing height, and its mechanics invite playful integration with content and variations of color, typography or calligraphy, printing method and materials.

It would not do to conclude a review of this book without touching on the Flag Book structure, for which Kyle is so well-known. It is found in The Accordion section. The outstanding works implementing this structure are legion. Here it is below in all its glory, which is exceeded only by the Two-Sided Flag book in the pages following it. 

The Art of the Fold should become an instant classic. If readers are tempted to “grangerize” their copies with photos and clippings of favorite examples and variants, they would do well instead to create one of the authors’ album structures in which to keep them. There could be many editions of this classic to come.

Bookmarking Book Art – Updated: “Wallpaper: An Altered Book Experiment”

If you are anywhere near Minneapolis in July or August, bookmark these items in your calendar and make your way to the Traffic Zone and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts:

2 July through 10 August 2018 — “Wallpaper: an altered book experiment”, Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art Mission, 50 Third Avenue North

15 June through 21 October 2018 — “Formation: A Juried Exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers”, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 100

20 July through 30 September 2018 — “Freud on the Couch: Psyche in the Book”, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Suite 100

Harriet Bart and Jon Neuse are curating the intriguing exhibition “Wallpaper”. They invited twelve artists, known for their engagement with the art of the book, to participate in an experiment. The artists were each given a copy of the book Wallpaper: A Collection of Modern Prints by Charlotte Abrahams and tasked with using it, its form and/or content, to deliver an original work.

A screen grab from an iPad alteration (2018)
Yu-Wen Wu
Photo: Courtesy of the curators

The result of the Neuse/Barton effort is a mixed media exhibition well worth pondering. Below is a sampling of photos from the exhibition (links lead to the artists’ sites).

The Yellow Wallpaper (2018)
Harriet Bart
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
The Yellow Wallpaper (2018)
Harriet Bart
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
The individual pages of the Abrahams book, removed and painted cadmium yellow with text from Gilman’s story added, will be given away.
Wawlpeyper – A Study in Unobtrusive Backgrounds (2018)
Scott Helmes
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
Vesna’s Altered Wallpaper Book (2018)
Vesna Kittelson
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
Wall Covering: A meditation on appropriation, class and the other, and on the power of images (2018)
Joyce Lyon
Photo: Courtesy of the curators
Scrolls (2018)
Jon Neuse
Photo: Courtesy of the curators

As always with book art, there is the self-reflexive, self-referring humor: Jon Neuse’s pun on the book scroll housed in a house-shaped codex in which miniature scrolls of wallpaper are housed and Scott Helmes’ pronunciation-entitled work subtitled with a joke to which the work’s sculpture is the punchline. The exhibition also covers a good variety of the forms book art has taken and may pursue even further in the future: Vesna Kittelson’s carving, Joyce Lyon’s accordion book, Doug Beube’s excavated book (not shown), and Harriet Bart’s painted-book homage to Charlotte Perkins Gilmore’s short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and Yu-wen Wu’s digital take on the challenge.

Other artists included are Chip Schilling
, Jody Williams
, Karen Wirth and Sarita Zaleha.

It is not far from Traffic Zone to the MCBA: a 5-minute drive, a 24-minute walk or bus ride. A rare occurrence to have three book art exhibitions within such close proximity.

Subsequent to this notice, one of the participants – Doug Beube – posted the following demonstration of his contribution Wallpaper Selfie.

On “The Book” (MIT Press, 2018)

With apologies to the preacher:  Of making many books [on books] there is no end. 

                                                                                                                (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

With the choir of its forebearers, Amaranth Borsuk’s The Book (MIT Press, 2018) sounds an “amen” to that truth. The proliferation of degree programs in book studies covering the history of the book, the book arts and even book art ensures The Book will not be the last. What distinguishes Borsuk’s book are her perspective as an artist and the book’s breadth and depth despite its brevity.

The book has a long history of existential crises. What is a book? Is the end of the book nigh?  For more than a century, those questions have returned again and again. The most recent recurrence stems from the ebook’s threat to dematerialize the book and the online world’s threat to take us into a post-text future. Even before these latest threats, book artists have long lived and worked with their own existential questions, a kind of higher existential calculus, or derivative of, the book’s crises: What is an artist’s book? What is book art?  Stephen Bury, Riva Castleman, Johanna Drucker, Joan Lyons, Stefan Klima, Clive Philpott and many others in the last quarter of the 20th century dwelt on defining and categorizing book art.

Borsuk belongs to a later generation of book artists that has embraced these existential crises and recognized that the book’s existential crises are what make the book a rich medium in which and with which to create art — from bio-art miniature to the biblioclastic human-scale to large-scale installations and performances. Even to the digital.

The Origin of Species (2016)
Dr. Simon Park, Guildford, Surrey
“The small book shown here was grown from and made entirely from bacteria. Not only is the fabric of its pages (GXCELL) produced by bacteria, but the book is also printed and illustrated with naturally pigmented bacteria. ” Posted 27 March 2016. Photo credit: Dr. Simon F. Park

Silenda: Black Sea Book (2015)
Jacqueline Rush Lee
Transformed Peter Green‘s translation of Ovid’s Tristia and the Black Sea Letters
H9.5″ x W12″ x D6.5.” Manipulated Text, Ink, Graphite
Photo credit: Paul Kodama. In Private Collection, NL

Enclosed Content Chatting Away in the Colour Invisibility (2009)
Anouk Kruithof
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Field (2015)
Johannes Heldén
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Performance artist and academic as well, Borsuk brings that later generational and creative perspective to the existential question — What is the book? — and, with an artist’s perception of her medium of choice, displaces the old companion existential question — Is the end of the book nigh? — with an altogether more interesting one — Where next for the book?

To see where books might be going, we must think of them as objects that have experienced a long history of experimentation and play. Rather than bemoaning the death of books or creating a dichotomy between print and digital media, this guide points to continuities, positioning the book as a changing technology and highlighting the way artists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have pushed us to rethink and redefine the term. (pp. xiii-xiv)

In The Book, the future is not far from the physical past. Where once we had text on scrolls, now we scroll through text (albeit more vertically than horizontally). Where once human consciousness changed with the invention of the alphabet and writing, now it may be altering with our reading and writing through networked digital devices. Like the many historians before her, Borsuk starts with cuneiform (those wedge-shaped accounting marks on baked clay), hieroglyphics and the invention of the alphabet to set the scene for the advent of the book and its ongoing physicality:

  • its shape (scroll, accordion, codex)
  • its material (papyrus, vellum, paper, charcoal or mineral-based watercolor and ink)
  • its manufacture (scribing, printing by woodblock and movable type, design and typography, illumination and illustration, folding into pages, methods of binding)
  • its constituent and navigational parts (cover, book block, title page, table of contents, page numbering, index).

But Borsuk reminds us — from Sumer’s clay to Amazon’s Kindle, from Johannes Gutenberg to Project Gutenberg — the book as human artifact exists in a social, political, technological, economic and even ecological context. Who is allowed to make it, how it is transacted, how and where we use it, how we perceive and speak of it — all have affected the physicality of the book object and are reflected in it. 

In the first half of The Book, Borsuk steers us through these interdependencies to a turning point. That turning point is where the pinnacle of the book arts — Beatrice Warde‘s and Jan Tschichold‘s vision of the book as a crystalline container of content — and the book’s commodification combine to cause the book’s physicality to disappear because it is so taken for granted, leaving us with “the book as idea”.

With the perception that books are ideas bestowed on readers by an authorial genius whose activity is purely intellectual, the book’s object status vanished for much of the reading public as we raised a glass to happily consume its contents…. Even though innumerable material elements come together to make the book, these features have been naturalized to such a degree that we now hardly notice them, since we have come to see content as the copyrightable, consumable, marketable aspect of the work. (pp. 106-9)

At this turning point — where “the historic relationship between materiality and text is severed” (p. 112) — the second half of The Book introduces book art. It is telling that the longest chapter in the book begins the second half, that it is called “The Book as Idea” and that it comes before any extended engagement with the digital dematerialization of the book. It is a wry pivot: the artistic genius supplants the authorial genius; what the latter takes as invisible background, the former re-makes as self-regarding foreground.  As Borsuk shows and her book’s cover neatly demonstrates, works of book art are inevitably self-referential and self-aware.

As such, works of book art

have much to teach us about the changing nature of the book, in part because they highlight the “idea” by paradoxically drawing attention to the “object” we have come to take for granted. They disrupt our treatment of the book as a transparent container for literary and aesthetic “content” and engage its material form in the work’s meaning. (p. 113)

Rather than offer a chronological history of book art to explore what “artists’ books have to teach us about a path forward for the book”, Borsuk offers “flashpoints” that represent “the energies motivating artwork in book form”(p. 117).  These “flashpoints” are William BlakeStéphane Mallarmé, Ed Ruscha and Ulises Carrión. Following these flashpoints, Borsuk organizes the rest of the chapter into “key themes that recur throughout artists’ books of the twentieth century: spatiotemporal play, animation, recombinant structures, ephemerality, silence, and interactivity” (pp. 146-47).

Oddly, Blake as flashpoint does not illuminate these six particular themes.  Rather Borsuk notes three other recurrent themes or “energies motivating artwork in book form” that Blake and his work represent: centering or re-centering the production processes on the author/artist; using the book as a sociopolitical and visionary platform; and redefining, developing and challenging the relationship between word and image.  

Blake refers to himself as “The Author & Printer W. Blake,” making clear the union of creativity and craft in his work. (p. 121)

Blake’s engagement with the social issues of his day, and his use of book form to respond to child labor, urban squalor, and slavery, established an important trend in both artists’ books and independent publishing—the utility of the book as a means of spreading social justice. (pp. 121, 124)

Blake used his craftsmanship to develop the relationship between word and image (p. 140)

One need not look far among twentieth and twenty-first century book artists for resonance with those themes. That Blakean union of creativity and craft resurfaces in artists such as Ken Campbell (UK), Cathryn Miller (Canada), Pien Rotterdam (Netherlands), Barb Tetenbaum (US) and Xu Bing (China)  — some of them even to the point of carving or setting their own type, making their own paper, pulp printing on it themselves or binding the finished work themselves. Vision and sociopolitical observation have risen up in the works of artists such as Doug Beube (Canada), Julie K. Dodd (UK), Basia Irland (US), Diane Jacobs (US), Anselm Kiefer (Germany) and Chris Ruston (UK). Blake’s redefining the relationship of word (or text) to image often reappears in book artists’ abcedaries and their children’s books such as A Dictionary Story by Sam Winston (UK).  As for emulators of Blake in technical innovation, consider the analogue example of Australian Tim Mosely’s works created with his patented pulp printing process, where the “ink” is actually colored pulp, or the digital example of Borsuk’s work Between Page and Screen, where the pages contain no text—only QR codes that, when scanned with a webcam, activate the text’s appearance on the reader’s browser screen.

For her second flashpoint, Borsuk selects another visionary, Stéphane Mallarmé, who like Blake was reacting to his own perceived Satanic mills draining poetry of its spirituality. Mallarmé’s Satanic mills dispensed rigid columns of newsprint to the masses and bland expanses of poetry and fiction set by Linotype machines in the neo-classical Didot font. With his famous visionary dictum — “everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book” (p. 135) — Mallarmé nudged the book toward pure concept and opened its mystical covers to the Dadaists, Surrealists, Futurists, Vorticists, Lettrists, Conceptualists and biblioclasts. With spatiotemporal play — mixing type sizes and fonts, breaking up the line and even breaking the page — Mallarmé used text to evoke image and, in his view, remake the book as a “spiritual instrument”. His post-humous book-length poem Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance), published in 1897, embodies that vision and continues to cast its flashpoint light across multiple generations of book artists’ efforts. From Marcel Broodthaers in 1969, we have his homage to Un Coup de Dés. From Jérémie Bennequin in 2014, we have his serial “omage” to Broodthaers’ homage. And, most recently, we have the 2015 new bilingual edition A Roll of the Dice by Jeff Clark and Robert Bononno, for which Borsuk provides a perceptive reading.

Where Mallarmé’s flashpoint enlisted his vision alongside the cry “épater le bourgeois” from Baudelaire and other late nineteenth-century poets, Ed Ruscha’s later flashpoint illuminates a democratic counterpoint, a Zen-like vision and a very different way of changing the relationship of text to image. Ruscha’s self-published photobooks were cheap and distributed outside the gallery-controlled channels of art. As Borsuk shows — directly with Ruscha and indirectly with the many book artists influenced by him — the text is restricted to the book’s title, which interacts with a series of deadpan photos and their layout to deliver a wry, tongue-in-cheek work of book art. Ruscha’s spatiotemporal play manifests itself across the accordion book format and out-of-sequence juxtapositions. Ironically Ruscha’s works now command thousands of dollars per copy, and one has more chance of seeing them in an exhibition than in a roadside stop’s rack of newspapers, magazines and mass-market paperbacks.

Display of Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, 1964, at the Gulbenkian’s Pliure: Prologue (la Part du Feu), 2 February – 12 April 2015, Paris. Photo credit: Robert Bolick
Reflected in the upper right corner, the film clip of Truffaut’s 1966 Fahrenheit 451; in the lower left hand corner, Bruce Nauman’s 1968 Burning Small Fires;  and in the upper left, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s 1974 La bibliotheque en feu.

Mexico’s Ulises Carrión — polemicist, European bookshop owner, conceptual artist and Borsuk’s fourth choice of flashpoints — is a counter-flashpoint to Ruscha. Where Ruscha reveled in self-publishing commodification, Carrión sneered at the book in its traditional commercial form. Where Ruscha has resisted the label “conceptual artist”, Carrión played the role to the hilt. Where Ruscha’s work has elicited numerous homages (see Various Small Books from MIT Press in 2013) and achieved a high profile, Carrión’s work, much lower in profile, has provided a more compelling range of hooks or influences on which to hang many different manifestations of book art (or bookworks as Carrión preferred). In fact, Borsuk’s six stated key themes or “energies motivating artwork in book form” come from Carrión’s manifestos (pp. 146-47).

The first theme — “spatiotemporal play” — comes from Carrión’s initial definition of the book as a “sequence of spaces”, which Borsuk traces to tunnel books, pop-ups and even large-scale constructs, the latter illustrated by American Alison Knowles‘ inhabitable The Big Book (1968). One more possible future of the book implied by spatiotemporal play manifests itself in Borsuk’s own augmented-reality (AR) works, those of Caitlin Fisher (Canada) and Carla Gannis’ Selfie Drawings (2016), in which portraits on the hardcover book’s pages animate and change when viewed through smartphone or tablet.

Borsuk takes the second theme, that of “animation”, from Carrión’s dictum: “Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment— a book is also a sequence of moments”. As her several examples illustrate, much book art is cinematic. Borsuk’s exposition of Canadian Michael Snow‘s Cover to Cover (1975) comes closest to reproducing the experience I enjoyed of “watching” that photo bookwork from cover to cover several times at the now closed Corcoran Art Gallery. Borsuk is quick and right to remind that the cinematic future of the book has been with us for a long time, even before the cinema. She bookends her exposition of Snow’s book and  and the text animation of American Emmett WilliamsSweethearts (1967) on one side with Victorian flip-books and on the other with American Bob Brown‘s 1930s The Readies (presumably pronounced “reedies” to follow Brown’s comparison of his scrolling one-line texts with the cinema’s “talkies”).  

A forgotten modernist, Brown declared the obsolescence of the book, predicted a new form of reading and technology to enable it, an optical projector emitting text into the ether and directly into the eyeball. But what does this tell us about the future of the book? Borsuk notes Craig Saper‘s resurrection of Brown’s Roving Eye Press and how he even put together a website that emulates Brown’s reading machineIn her phrase describing the machine’s effect of “turning readers themselves into a kind of machine for making meaning” (p. 168), Borsuk hints at a future of digitally interactive books, which she takes up in the next section and more extensively in the next chapter. At this point, however, the reader could use a hint of practicality and skepticism. Linear-one-word-at-a-time reading, however accelerated, eliminates affordances of the page, ignores graphics and strains against the combination of peripheral vision and rapid eye movement we unconsciously (even atavistically?) deploy as we “read” whatever we see. Although in the next section Borsuk does bring on more likely examples of the book’s future exploitation of its cinematic affordances (manga, graphic novels and children’s books), this section’s treatment of animation misses the chance to cite actual recent successes like Moonbot Studios‘ The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2012) and others.

Once into the third theme — “recombinant structure” — it is clear that Borsuk’s chosen Carriónesque themes overlap one another. Like the cinematic, the recombinant structure manifests itself in accordion books. It extends, however, to something more interactive: volvelles (or medieval apps as Erik Kwakkel calls them), interactive pop-ups, harlequinades (flap books) and more.  Borsuk uses Raymond Queneau‘s harlequinade Cent mille milliards de poèmes ( One hundred thousand billion poems, 1961), Dieter Roth‘s slot books and works by Carolee Schneemann to illustrate book art’s celebration of the concept. The fact that Queneau’s book is still easily available on Amazon vouches for book art’s predictive qualities. The example of Marc Saporta’Composition No. 1 (Éditions du Seuil, 1962), “a box of 150 leaves printed on only one side that the reader is instructed to shuffle at the outset”, goes Queneau one better —ironically.  In 2011, Visual Editions reissued Composition No. 1 in print and app forms. Alas, the former is out of print, and the latter is no longer available for download.

Composition No. 1 (2011)
Marc Saporta
Translation by Richard Howard, Introduction by T.L. Uglow, Google Creative Lab, Diagrams by Salvador Plascencia and Designed by Universal Everything Photo credit: Robert Bolick

Borsuk draws her fourth theme — ephemerality — from Carrión’s dictum: 

I firmly believe that every book that now exists will eventually disappear. And I see here no reason for lamentation. Like any other living organism, books will grow, multiply, change color, and, eventually, die. At the moment, bookworks represent the final phase of this irrevocable process. Libraries, museums, archives are the perfect cemeteries for books. (p. 145)

To illustrate, Borsuk begins with the physical biblioclasts — those who in Doug Beube‘s phrase are “breaking the codex“. They include Beube himself, Bruce Nauman (see above), Brian Dettmer, Cai Guo-Qiang, Marcel DuchampDieter Roth and Xu Bing. While some of these artists reflect a twenty-first century surge of interest in altered books and book sculpture, “facilitated by the overarching notion that the book is an artifact not long for this world” (pp.82-84), others have taken a more generative archaeological approach — erasing or cutting away a book’s words to reveal another. Examples include Tom Phillips‘ A Humument (1966-2014) and Jonathan Safran Foer‘s Tree of Codes (2010). Phillips’ bookwork serves multiple purposes for Borsuk’s arguments.  Not only does it represent the book art of “erasure”, its success across multiple editions, digital formats and presence in art galleries supports her notion of book art’s predictive qualities.

There is a variant on her theme that Borsuk does not illustrate and is worth consideration for her next edition: the self-destructing yet regenerative work of book art. Examples could include American Basia Irland‘s series ICE BOOKS: Ice receding/Books reseeding (2007-), which gives a formidably tangible and new meaning to “publishing as dissemination”; and Canadian Cathryn Miller‘s tail-chasing Recomp (2014); and Argentinian Pequeño Editor‘s Mi Papa Estuvo en la Selva (2015), which after reading can be planted to grow into a jacaranda tree.

Recomp (2014)
Cathryn Miller
Copy of Decomp, Collis and Scott (2013) nailed to a tree. Photo credit: David G. Miller

Recomp (2015)
Photo credit: David G. Miller

Recomp vandalized (2015)
Photo credit: David G. Miller

The last section in this chapter expands on the fifth theme — silence — drawn from Carrión’s statement:

The most beautiful and perfect book in the world is a book with only blank pages, in the same way that the most complete language is that which lies beyond all that the words of a man can say. Every book of the new art is searching after that book of absolute whiteness in the same way that every poem searches for silence.  Ulises Carrión, Second Thoughts (1980), pp. 15-16.

Among her several examples are Pamela Paulsrud‘s Touchstones (2007-10), which look like stones but are books sanded-down into stone-like shapes, and Scott McCarney‘s 1988 Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green), a sculpture composed of stacked library discards that narrows as it ascends.  Paulsrud’s, McCarney’s, Irland’s and Miller’s works are what Borsuk calls “muted objects”, but they speak and signify nevertheless: 

Muted books take on a totemic [metaphoric] significance…. The language of the book as a space of fixity, certainty, and order reminds us that the book has been transmuted into an idea and ideal based on the role it plays in culture…. Defining the book involves consideration for its use as much as its form. (pp. 193-95)

 

Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green) (1988)
Scott McCarney
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green) (1988)
Scott McCarney
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Never Read (Opposed to Ever Green) (1988)
Scott McCarney
Reproduced with permission of the artist

Borsuk is a superb stylist of the sentence and expository structure. The words above, concluding chapter three, launch the reader into Borsuk’s final theme of interactivity and her unifying metaphor: “the book as interface”. Owners of Kindles, buyers from Amazon, perusers of Facebook — we may think we know what’s coming next in The Book and for the book, but Borsuk pushes the reader to contemplate the almost real-time evolutionary change we have seen with ebook devices and apps, audiobooks, the ascension of books to the cloud via Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and Google Books, and their descent to Brewster Kahle‘s physical back-up warehouse (to be sited in Canada in light of recent political events) and into flattening ebook sales of late. Chapter 4 is a hard-paced narrative of the book’s digital history from the Memex in Vannevar Bush‘s 1945 classic “As we may think” to T.L. Uglow‘s 100-author blockchain collaboration in 2017, A Universe Explodes from Visual Editions’ series Editions at Play.

Borsuk reminds us:

Our current moment appears to be much like the first centuries of movable type, a cusp. Just as manuscript books persisted into the Gutenberg era, books currently exist in multiple forms simultaneously: as paperbacks, audiobooks, EPUB downloads, and, in rare cases, interactive digital experiences. (p. 244)

Borsuk weaves into this moment of the book’s future a reminder that print affordances such as tactility (or the haptic) and the paratextual (those peripheral elements like page numbers, running heads, ISBNs, etc., that Gary Frost argues “make the book a book”) have been finding fresh ways into the way we read digitally. The touchscreen enables us to read between the lines literally in the novella Pry (2014) by Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizaro (2014). Breathe (2018) by Kate Pullinger, another work in the Editions at Play series, uses GPS to detect and insert the reader’s location, the time and weather, and when the reader tilts the device or rubs the screen, hidden messages from the story’s (the reader’s?) ghosts appear.

At this point, an earlier passage from The Book should haunt the reader:

Artists’ books continually remind us of the reader’s role in the book by forcing us to reckon with its materiality and, by extension, our own embodiment. Such experiments present a path forward for digital books, which would do well to consider the affordances of their media and the importance of the reader, rather than treating the e-reader as a Warde-ian crystal goblet for the delivery of content. (p. 147)

Borsuk convinces. Art, artifact, concept — wrought by hand and mind, hands and minds — the book is our consensual tool and toy for surviving beyond our DNA. So now what? Metaphor, hints and historical flashpoints may illuminate where we have been, how it shows up in contemporary books and book art and where we may be going with it. In ten or one hundred years though, how will a book publisher become a book publisher? Given the self-publishing capability today’s technology offers, will anyone with a file on a home computer and an internet connection consider himself or herself a book publisher? Borsuk thinks not:

The act of publication — of making public — is central to our cultural definition of the book. Publication might presume some cultural capital: some editorial body has deemed this work worthy of print. It might also presume an audience: a readership clamors for this text. But on a fundamental level, publication presumes the appendage of elements outside the text that help us recognize it as a book, even when published in digital form. (pp. 239-40)

How will future book publishers learn to master the appendage of these elements outside the text (the paratext) that make a book a book “even when published in digital form”? Borsuk’s commentary on the ISBN as one of these elements sheds oblique light on that. She points to the artist Fiona Banner’s uses of the ISBN under her imprint/pseudonym Vanity Press — tattooing one one her lower back, publishing a series Book 1/1 (2009) consisting of sixty-five ISBN’d pieces of mirrored cardstock and then collecting them in a photobook entitled ISBN 978-1-907118-99-9 in order to deposit those one-offs with the British Library as required by the UK’s Legal Deposit Libraries Act. What can a future ebook publisher deduce from this?

That the use of a globally unique identifier (GUID) matters.

The backstory of the transition from ISBN10 to ISBN13 and that of ebooks, ISBNs and Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) might provide interesting fodder. The notion that the book industry was running out of 10-digit ISBNs was a red herring used to convince industry executives to adopt the more widely used format of unique identifiers overseen by GS1. The real reason for moving to ISBN13 — reduced friction in the supply chain — was too hard to sell. About the same time, some major publishers proposed incorporating the ISBN into the DOI for an industry-standard ebook identifier.  The DOI offered an existing digital, networked infrastructure already being used by most of the world’s scientific, technical and medical journals publishers. It is an offshoot of the Handle System, established by Robert Kahn. Sad to say, few book publishers adopted the DOI for their ebooks; still fewer used the DOI’s application- and network-friendliness to enable their ebooks to take advantage of the network’s digital affordances.

The DOI shares with the ISBN a feature that Borsuk points out as a limitation to more widespread use: it is not free. A significant percentage of ebooks exist without ISBNs, much less DOIs. If a digital GUID is to be used in ways that help us recognize the identified digital object as a book, future book publishers and their providers of a network ecosystem supporting ebooks, linking with the print ecosystem and reducing friction in the supply chain still have wide gaps in commerce and knowledge to close. Perhaps this particular paratextual element is unnecessary for the book’s digital future, but until those gaps are narrowed, the ecosystem for eBooks will remain balkanized by Amazon, Apple, Google, Lulu and the more digitally literate denizen of the print publishing industry. In the meantime, as Borsuk’s examples throughout her book show, there are boundless other print and digital affordances with which publishers, authors, editors, designers, typographers, developers and readers can play as they continue to shape the book.

The Book‘s publication month, June 2018, is auspicious, being the same for the Getty Center’s exhibition “Artists and Their Books/Books and Their Artists“, June 26 – October 28. The Center and MIT Press would do well to have stacks of The Book on hand.  The Book will also serve as an excellent introductory textbook for courses on book art or the history of the book.  And by virtue of its style and artist’s perspective, Borsuk’s book will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in this essential technology of civilization and its growing role as a material and focus of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Bookmarking Book Art – An Online Annotation of Germano Celant’s “Book as Artwork 1960/1972”

Where to go to compare and contrast the book art in Germano Celant’s pioneering “catalogue” of the Nigel Greenwood Gallery exhibition in London (1972) with that of the last half century?

Being a sort of small and portable catalogue and curator’s explanation for the gallery’s exhibition of ca. 300 works, Celant’s Book as Artwork is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by artist. Presumably it was organized to match the exhibition’s organization (note the year 1967 in upper left of the photograph below and the distinctive Hidalgo cover, fifth from the left). With no photographs of the works, Book as Artwork gives no easily accessible visual sense of the 300 works in that exhibition. If we had that starting visual touchpoint, it would be easier to “place” the period or individual works in relation to book art from the 80’s onward.

Book as Artwork 1960 – 1972 – Exhibition Nigel Greenwood Gallery B, 1972.

Stephen Bury’s Artists’ Books: The Book as a Work of Art, 1963 – 2000 (2015) includes, by design, only a handful of the artists and works selected for the Celano/Greenwood exhibition.

Lucy Lippard’s Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972 (1973, 1997) — a “bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works, documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically” — comes as close as one might hope in black-and-white print for a starting visual touchpoint. Lippard’s scope, however, ranges beyond book art, so the number illustrated limits systematic visual comparison and contrast with the book art of the ensuing decades.

Phaidon’s Artists Who Make Books (2017) provides good coverage and bridges the 1960s to the 21st century. The essays and descriptions bring the book art off the page and into the mind’s hands.

Best of all is Lynda Morris’s mini-memoir of her role in organizing the Celant/Greenwood exhibition.

Germano had sent Nigel [Greenwood] a wonderful, arty handwritten letter in pink capitals … on December 22, 1970:

DEAR PUBLISHER I AM PREPARING FOR A NEW INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE A COMPLETE ANTHOLOGY OF BOOKS MADE DIRECTLY BY ARTISTS. 

…Nigel had met Germano and had his telephone number in Genoa. I was sitting beside him when he phoned and proposed Book as Artwork exhibition for September 1972. Germano immediately agreed.

For sources of book art since the close of the Celant/Greenwood exhibition, we are spoilt for choice. Print and digital, image-rich aggregations of book art abound. We can return to the Phaidon and Bury books. We can turn to the well-illustrated print and online publications from the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of Western England, online library collections such as the MassArt Library or Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, the websites of dealers such as Zucker Art Books displaying their wares, the dozens of websites for recurring book art fairs such as International Artist’s Books Triennial Vilnius (1997 – present) and CODEX International Book Fair (2007 – present) and community sites such as Artist Books 3.0. In the future, the Getty Research Institute‘s processing of the Steven Leiber Basement archive should also yield a rich source of images of works by the artists selected for the Celant/Greenwood exhibition. 

Present-day online access challenges Mallarmé’s dictum: ”Everything in the world exists to end up in a book.” Now it seems:

Everything in the world exists to end up on the web.

As far as that premise holds, this annotation and rearrangement of Celant’s bibliography — a “webliography” — offers an online starting point for connecting the book as artwork 1960/1972 with the book as artwork since. In providing some images of the works and links to images, the webliography offers anyone interested in book art the means to gain a more colored impression of the period’s book art.  That the primary impression is still black and white underscores the impact of xerographic technology on artists then as well as that of conceptualism driven by text or photograph. A webliographic approach also offers the opportunity to link the book art of the Celant exhibition with book-oriented Web-art or Net-art such as that of Amaranth Borsuk, Taeyoon Choi, Gunnar Green, Johannes Heldén, Bernhard Hopfengärtner and many others referenced below.

The reorganization here of Celant’s and Morris’s list — by artist alphabetically then chronologically — makes it easier to see the curators’ tendencies in selection as well as the influence of practical factors. The curators’ selection is obviously more Western, less Eastern European and even less Middle Eastern and Asian. Individuals’ prodigality surely played a role in whom and what was included. As Morris’s essay in the Phaidon book reveals, the geographical proximity of works available to be chosen played a role; so, too, the influence of the then-contemporary art network played a role (Atkinson, Beuys, Celant, Dwan, Greenwood, Hansjorg Mayer, Walther König, Maenz, Siegelaub, Sperone and the many other personalities of the Art-Language, Arte Povera, Conceptualist and Fluxus movements); and even the size of suitcases and availability of transport for bringing the artwork into the UK played a role. 

Generally the online links for the artists’/authors’ names lead to biographies, either in their official websites, Wikipedia or other news sources. Where an artist/author is listed multiple times, the links vary from instance to instance to provide a wider range of information about the individual and, in some cases (such as Dieter Rot’s), more images. The links behind the publishers’ names go to publishers’ websites or Wikipedia entries about them. The links that follow each entry resolve to images of the work, videos, audio, interviews or essays relevant to the work. For selected entries in Celant’s list, a compare/contrast takes the user to websites or works whose juxtaposition might shed light on the similarities or differences between the item in Celant’s list and book art of the subsequent decades.

The webliography also supports the haptically as well as digitally inclined. The links behind the titles of the works provide information on the nearest library location of the work (although not all titles could be located).  Be sure to enter your own location and refresh the results. And when you visit, be sure to take a copy of Germano Celant’s little book, which, thanks to 6 Decades Books is possible by download and, thanks to online used-book sellers, can still be purchased in print.

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A “webliography” for

Germano Celant’s Books as Artworks 1960/1972

2nd edition, published by 6 Decades Books, 2010, and 1st edition published by Nigel Greenwood, Inc., 1972.

______. Manifestos. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1966. [Contributors: Ay-OPhilip CornerRobert FilliouJohn GiornoAl HansenDick HigginsAllan KaprowAlison KnowlesNam June PaikDiter RotJerome RothenbergWolf VostellRobert Watts, and Emmett Williams] [Images] [Compare/contrast with Jessica Lack’s Why Are We ‘Artists’?: 100 World Art Manifestos, with Michael Pichler’s Publishing Manifestos and this review of Luca Lo Pinto’s exhibition “Publishing as an Artistic Toolbox, Vienna, 28 January 2018“]

Acconci, Vito. Transference: Roget’s Thesaurus. New York: 0 to 9 Books, 1969. [Image] [Video] [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Sam Winston’s Darwin, 2015]

Agnetti, Vincenzo. 14 Proposizioni sul Linguaggio Portatile. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972. [originally published in Flash Art]

Andre, Barry, Huebler, Kosuth, LeWitt, Morris and Weiner.  The Xerox Book. New York: Seth Siegelaub, Jack Wendler, 1968. [Image] [Video, Jack Wendler] [Compare/contrast with Michael Mandiberg’s Print Wikipedia, 2015, and Paul Soulellis’ Library of the Printed Web, 2013 to present]

Andre, Carl. Seven Books of Notes and Poetry. New York: Dwan Gallery/Seth Siegelaub, 1969. [Images] [Essay on artist] [Video, Carl Andre] [Video, retrospective] [Compare/contrast with Sam Winston’s Dictionary Story Book, 2014]

Anselmo, Giovanni. Leggere. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Leilei Guo’s The Way, 2008]

Art & Language. Olivet Discourse. Paris: Templon Editeur, 1971. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Frameworks-Air Conditioning. Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1967. [Image] [Essay] [Video of Baldwin and Ramsden, Chicago symposium] [Compare/contrast with Taeyoon Choi’s “Zero & One”, 2017]

Art & Language – Poster for Air-Conditioning Show, 1971-1972
Colección MACBA. Consorcio MACBA. Depósito Philippe Méaille.

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Hot-Warm-Cool-Cold. Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1967. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. 22 Sentences: The French Army. Coventry: Precinct Publications, 1968. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Sunnybank. Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1969. [Image] [Compare/contrast with M.L. Van Nice’s Feast is in the Belly of the Beholder, 2010]

Atkinson, Terry; Baldwin, Michael. Theories of Ethics. New York: Art & Language Press, 1971. [Image]

Atkinson, Terry; Bainbridge, David; Baldwin, Michael; Harrison, Charles; Hurrell, Harold; Kosuth, Joseph. Art-Language. Cologne: Dumont Schauberg, 1972. [Essay] [Essay]

Image result for art & language: texte zum phänomen kunst und sprache [book]

Baldessari, John. Ingres and Other Parables. London: Studio International, 1972. [Image] [Also see Clare Lehmann’s entry on Baldessari in Artist’s Who Make Books, 2017, p.29]

Baldessari, John. Choosing: Green Beans. Milan: Edizioni Toselli, 1972. [Images][Compare/contrast with George Gessert’s Natural Selection, 1994]

Baldwin, Michael; Hurrell, Harold. Handbook to Ingot. New York, Coventry: Art & Language Press, 1971. [Image] [Video of Baldwin and Ramsden]

Barry, Robert. ”   “. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Elisabeth Tonnard’s The Invisible Book, 2012]

Barry, Robert. Robert Barry 1969-71. Cologne: Gerd de Vries, 1971. [Compare/contrast with Elisabeth Tonnard’s A Dialogue in Useful Phrases, 2010]

Barry, Robert. Something Which Is…(30 Pieces as of 14th June 1971). Cologne: Paul Maenz, 1971. [Image]

Barry, Robert. Two Pieces. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1971.[Images]

Baruchello, Gianfranco. Mi viene in mente. Milan: Edizioni Galleria Schwarz, 1966. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Xu Bing’s Book from the Ground, 2014]

Becher, Bernd & Hilla. Anonyme Skulpturen. Dusseldorf: Städtische Kunsthalle Verlag, 1970.  [Image] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Anselm Kiefer’s The Rhine, 1992-2013, and Helen Malone’s Ten Books on Architecture, 2012]

Blake, John. John Blake : recent work, 1969-71 : a travelling exhibition arranged by the Circulation Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1972. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Anouk Kruithof’s The Daily Exhaustion, 2010]

Bochner, Mel;  Cherix, ChristopheWorking Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed As Art: Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts,December 2 – December 23, 1966 [New York]. Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 1997. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Johanna Drucker’s All: the Books I Never Wrote or Wrote and Never Published, 1962 to 2017]

Bochner, Mel. The Singer Notes. New York: Self-published, 1968. [Images] [Compare/contrast Bochner’s notes and drawings resulting from conversations with scientists and engineers at Singer Labs in New Jersey with the Smithsonian Libraries’ online exhibition Science and the Artist’s Book, 1995]

Bochner, Mel. Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography). New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Bochner, Mel. Notes on Theory. Kingston, RI: University of Rhode Island, 1971. [Image]

Bochner, Mel. 11 Excerpts (1967 – 1970). Paris: Edition Sonnabend, 1972. [Images]

Boshier, Derek. 16 Situations. London: Idea Books, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Sascha Pohflepp’s and Chris Woebken’s Situated Sampling Set, 2017]

Derek Boshier, Situation 1 (from the ‘16 Situations’ series), photograph, 1971
See The Courtauld Institute blog.

Boyle, Mark. Journey to the Surface of the Earth. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1970. [Images and book by J.L. Locher] [Compare/contrast with New England Guild of Book Workers’ Geographies: New England Book Work, 2014]

Brecht, George. Fluxus No. 1 March 1964. New York: Valise eTRangLE, 1964. [Images]

Brecht, George. Chance-Imagery. New York: Something Else Press, 1966. [Images, including facsimiles] [Compare/contrast with Barb Tetenbaum’s and Julie Chen’s Artist’s Book Ideation Cards, 2013, and Paul Soulellis’s Chancebook #1 (Why Does It Hurt So Bad), 2013]

Brecht, George; Filliou, Robert. Games at the Cedilla, or the Cedilla Takes Off. New York: Something Else Press, 1967. [Images]

Brøgger, Stig. 21. marts 1969 = March 21 1969. Copenhagen: Jysk Kunstgalerie, 1969. [Second edition]

Broodthaers, Marcel. Image: un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard. Antwerp: Wide White Space, 1969. [Images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Doug Beube’s Veil: Secret Wars of the C.I.A., 1996, J. Meejin Yoon’s Absence, 2004, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, 2010, Pauline Rafal’s Windows, 2014, and James Bridle’s Every Redaction, 2015]

Double-page spread Marcel Broodthaers Image: Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard, 1969

Brouwn, Stanley. 100 This Way Brouwn Problems for Computer IBM Model 95. Cologne: Walther König, 1970. [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Julie Johnstone’s 2-20% | 20-2cm, 2014]

Brouwn, Stanley. La Paz. Schiedam: Stedelijk Museum, 1970.[Image] [Images]

Brouwn, Stanley. Tatwan. Munich: Aktionsraum, 1970. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Craig Mod’s and Dan Rubin’s Koya Bound: Eight Days on the Kumano Kodo, 2016]

Brouwn, Stanley. Durch Komische Strahlen Gehen. Monchengladbach: Stadtisches Museum, 1970. [Image] [Image]

Brouwn, Stanley. Steps. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1971. [Image] [See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 57-58][Compare/contrast with James Bridle’s All Roads Lead to X, 2015; compare/contrast with Yu-Wen Yu’s Boston to Taipei ,2013]

Brouwn, Stanley. Afghanistan-Zambia. Aachen: Gegenverkehr e.V., Zentrum für aktuelle Kunst, 1971. [Image & essay] [Compare/contrast with James Bridle’s Where the F**k Was I?, 2011}

Brouwn, Stanley. One Step (IX-100X). Brussels: Galerie MTL, 1971. [Essay]

Brouwn, Stanley. 1 Step – 100,000 Steps. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1972. [Image]

Buren, Daniel. Limites Critique. Paris: Yvon Lambert, 1970. [Images] [Site]

Burgin, Victor. Work and Commentary. London: Latimer Press, 1972.  [Image] [Video] [Essay] [Exhibition 2012]

Burgy, Donald. Art Ideas for the Year 4000. Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, 1970. [Video] [Compare/contrast with Gunnar Green’s and Bernhard Hopfengärtner’s 75000 Futures, 2014]

Burgy, Donald. Contexts Completion Ideas. Krefeld: Schuring, 1971. [Compare/contrast with Praxis, Museum of Nonvisible Art, 2011]

Burn, Ian. Xerox Book. n.p.: Self-published, 1968. [Compare/contrast with Paul Soulellis’s Apparition of a distance, however near it may be, 2013]

Xerox Book (1968)
Ian Burn

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Six Negatives. New York: Society for Theoretical Art, 1969. [Images] [Video of Baldwin and Ramsden]

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Notes on Genealogies. Vol. 1, No. 2. New York: Art-Language, 1970. [Essay by Thomas Dreher]

From the National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne, Australia

Burn, Ian; Cutforth, Roger; Ramsden, Mel. Proceedings. Vol. 1, No. 3. New York: Art-Language, 1970. [Essay by Jo Melvin]

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Notes on Analyses (1). Coventry: Art-Language Press, 1970. [Image]

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. Stating and Nominating. New York: Art-Language, 1970.

Burn, Ian; Ramsden, Mel. The Grammarian. New York: Art-Language, 1970.[Image]

Byars, James Lee. 100,000 Minutes, or the Big Sample of Byars, or 1/2 an Autobiography, or the First Paper of Philosophy. Antwerp: Galerie Anny de Decker, 1969. [Images] [See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 75-77] [Compare/contrast with Johanna Drucker’s All: the Books I Never Wrote or Wrote and Never Published, 1962 to 2017]

Cage, John. Silence. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Press, 1961. [Video] [Compare/contrast with Paul Soulellis’s 273 Relics for John Cage (A Likeness Is an Aid to Memory), 2011]

Cage, John. A Year from Monday. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Press, 1967.

Cage, John. Notations. New York: Something Else Press, 1969.

Cage, John. Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Things Worse) Continued, Part Three. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967. [Video] [Compare/contrast with Robin Price’s As You Continue, 2011]

Carlini, Alessandro; Lang, Karl. Prozess Art, Situation Art. Berlin: Self-published, 1971.

Castillejo, Jose Luis. The Book of I’s. Constance: Castillejo, 1969. [Images] [Video] [Audio]

Castillejo, Jose Luis. The Book of Eighteen Letters. Madrid: Artes Graficas Luis Peres, 1972. [Images] [Audio]

Chiari, Giuseppe. Senza Titolo, 1971. Milan: Edizioni Toselli, 1972. [Images] [More images]

Collins, James. Revision and Prescription. New York: 98 Greene Street, 1971. [Image]

Corner, Philip. Popular Entertainments. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Andrew Savage’s Savage Presents Jean Michel Jarre, 2011]

Costa, Claudio. Estratti da Evoluzione-Involuzione. Genova: Edizioni Masnata, 1972. [Image]

Croce, Giancarlo. a  a’b’  b. Rome: Edizioni Gap, 1971.[Compare/contrast with Abra: The Living Book by Kate Durbin, Amaranth Borsuk and Ian Hatcher (2014)]

a  a’b’  b (1971)
Giancarlo Croce
19.3 x 18.5 cm, 48 pages + cover

a  a’b’  b (1971)
Giancarlo Croce
19.3 x 18.5 cm, 48 pages + cover

Cunningham, Merce. Changes: Notes on Choreography. New York: Something Else Press, 1968.

Cutforth, Roger. The Empire State Building. New York: Art Press, 1969. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Helen Malone’s Ten Books on Architecture, 2012, and Mandy Brannan’s 30 St Marys Axe, 2015]

Cutforth, Roger. The Visual Book. London: Lisson Gallery, 1970. [Image]

Cutforth, Roger. CN/ET/ESB: The Non-Art Project. New York: Self-published, 1971. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Helen Malone’s Ten Books on Architecture, 2012]

Darboven, Hanne. Xerox Book. Hamburg: Self-published, 1969.

Darboven, Hanne. 6 Manuskriptie 69. Dusseldorf: Michelpresse, 1969. [Image]

Darboven, Hanne. Das Jahr. n.p.: n.p., 1971. [Unable to locate]

Dibbets, Jan. Robin Redbreast’s Territory: Sculpture 1969, April — June. New York, Cologne: Siegelaub/Walther König, 1969. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Stephen Collis’ and Jordan Scott’s Decomp, 2013; with Marinus van Dijke’s Eye, 2013]

Dibbets, Jan. Perspective Correction. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Image] [Essay] [Compare/contrast with Wendy Wahl’s Laid Open, 2017]

Dibbets, Jan. 3.12.1971 t/m 16.1.1972. Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum, 1971.

Fabbris, Giorgio; Spiller, Giorgio. Assenza. Venice: Self-published.

Ferguson, Gerald. The Standard Corpus of Present Day English Language Usage Arranged by Word Length and Alphabetized within Word Length. Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1970. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Masumi Shibata’s UED (Uncertain English Dictionary), 2008]

Filliou, Robert. Ample Food for Stupid Thought. New York: Something Else Press, 1965. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Black Page catalogue from the Laurence Sterne Trust, 2009]

Filliou, Robert. Hand Show. Villingen: Saba-Studio, 1967. [Image] [Additional images]

Filliou, Robert. A Filliou Sampler. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967. [Image]

Filliou, Robert. 14 Chansons et 1 Charade. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1968. [Images] [Additional images]

Filliou, Robert (with Beuys, Brecht, Cage, Iannone, Kaprow, Marcelle, Patterson and Rot). Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts. Cologne: Walther König, 1970. [Images] [Video]

Fisher, Joel. Double Camouflage. Mansfield, OH: Mansfield Fine Arts Center, 1970. [Image] [Additional images]

Flynt, Henry. Down with Art. New York: Fluxpress, 1968. [Image] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Doug Beube’s Breaking the Codex, 2011]

Fulton, Hamish. The Sweet Grass Hills of Montana as seen from the Milk River of Alberta. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1971. [Image] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Helen Douglas’s The Pond at Deuchar, 2013]

Fulton, Hamish. Hollow Lane. London: Situation Publications, 1972. [Images] [Additional images]  [Video] [Compare/contrast with Craig Mod’s and Dan Rubin’s Koya Bound: Eight Days on the Kumano Kodo, 2016]

Gilbert & George. A Message from the Sculptors Gilbert & George. London: Art for All, 1970. [Image] [Additional images] [Video]

Gilbert & George. To Be with Art is All We Ask. London: Art for All, 1970. [Image] [Additional images] [Video]

Gilbert & George. The Pencil on Paper Descriptive Works. London: Art for All, 1970. [Additional images]

Gilbert & George. A Day in the Life of Gilbert & George. London: Art for All, 1971. [Image] [Additional images]

Gilbert & George. Oh, The Grand Old Duke of York. Lucerne: Kunstmuseum Luzern, 1972. [Image] [Additional images]

Gilbert & George. Side by Side. Cologne: Walther König, 1972. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Abra: The Living Book by Kate Durbin, Amaranth Borsuk and Ian Hatcher (2014)]

Graham, Dan. End Moments. New York: Self-published, 1969. [Image]

Graham, Dan. Two Parallel Essays. New York: Multiple, Inc., 1970. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Tom Abba’s These Pages Fall Like Ash, 2013.

Graham, Dan. Dan Graham. London/Cologne: Lisson Gallery/Walther König, 1972.

Graham, Rodney. Works 1963-1969. Cologne/New York: Walther König, 1970.

Greco, Sandro. Saper Sorridere. n.p.: Self-published, 1971. [Article]

Gregory, Kathe; Landis, Marilyn; Lewis, Russell; Crane, David; Kahn, Scott. Stolen. New York: Colorcraft Lithographers/Dwan Gallery, 1970. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Andrew Savage’s Stolen White Goods, 2006, and then Cristina Garrido’s intervention White Goods, 2011]

Hamilton, Richard. Polaroid Portraits, Volume One. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1972. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Anouk Kruithof’s The Daily Exhaustion, 2010]

Harvey, Michael. White Papers. New York: Self-published, 1971. [Images] [Additional images]

Hemsworth, Gerard. South West Coast of England. Amsterdam, London: X-One/Nigel Greenwood, 1970.

Hidalgo, Juan. Viaje a Argel. Madrid: Zaj, 1967. [Images] [More images]

Higgins, Dick. What are Legends: A Clarification. Calais, ME: Bern Porter, 1960. [Images]

Higgins, Dick. Jefferson’s Birthday / Postface. New York: Something Else Press, 1964. [Images]

Higgins, Dick. A Book about Love & War & Death, Canto One. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1965. [Images] [Video]

Higgins, Dick. Foew and ombwhnw : a grammar of the mind and a phenomenology of love and a science of the arts as seen by a stalker of the wild mushroom. New York: Something Else Press, 1969. [Images] [Video]

Huebler, Douglas. Durata Duration. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Andrew Eason’s Clock Watching, 2006]

Huebler, Douglas. Location Piece #2. New York: Multiple, Inc., 1970. [Images] [More images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Barbara Tetenbaum’s Mining My Ántonia; Excerpts, Drawings, and a Map, 2012]

Hurrell, Harold. Fluidic DeviceCoventry: Art-Language, 1968. [Image]

Johnson, Ray. The Paper Snake. New York: Something Else Press, 1965. [Video of reprint edition]

Kaltenbach, Stephen. [Artforum Advertisements]. New York: Artforum, Issues dated November 1968 through December 1969. [Image] [Artslant interview]

Kaprow, Allan. Assemblage, Environments & Happenings. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1965. [Images] [Video]

Kaprow, Allan. Pose: Carrying Chairs through the City, Sitting Down Here and There, Photographed, Pix Left on Spot, Going On, March 22 1969-1970. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Knowles, Alison. By Alison Knowles. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1965. [Images]

Kosuth, Joseph. Four Titled Abstracts [within S.M.S. Portfolio no. 3]. New York: Letter Edged in Black, Inc., 1968]. [Images] [More images]

Kosuth, Joseph. Function. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Additional images]

Kosuth, Joseph. Notebook on Water. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images] [Additional images]

Kosuth, Joseph. The Sixth Investigation 1969, Proposition 14. Cologne: Gerd de Vries, 1971. [Image] [Video]

Kosuth, Joseph. The Sixth Investigation 1969, Proposition 2. Buenos Aires/Cologne: CAYC/Paul Maenz, 1971. [Video]

Lamelas, David. Publication. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1970. [Images] [Video]

Latham, John. Least Event/One-Second Drawings/Blind Work/24-Second Painting. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Image] [Video] [Cover of the work indicates a publication date of 1970]

Law, Bob. 16 Drawings. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Images] [Audio]

LeWitt, Sol. 49 Three Part Variations Using Three Different Kinds of Cubes, 1967-1968. Zurich: Editions Bischofberger, 1969. [Images] [Video]

LeWitt, Sol. Four Basic Kinds of Straight Lines. London: Studio International, 1969. [Images][Video] [Film][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 171-172]

LeWitt, Sol. Schematic Drawings for Muybridge II, 1964. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images] [Video, Veronica Roberts] [Video, Charles Haxthausen]

LeWitt, Sol. Four Basic Colours and their Combinations. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Images]

Lole, Kevin; Smith, Paul. Handbook on Models. Coventry: Self-published, 1972. [Unable to locate a work of this title in WorldCat, but one with the title The Relativism of Emotion Handbook to the Model and same date of publication is described in Paul Robertson‘s “A Collection of Rare Art+ Language Books and Internal Documents – Many Unknown in Literature”, Gorebridge, Midlothian: Unoriginal Sins/Heart Fine Art, n.d.]

30 x 21cm, 50pp (printed recto only) plus printed card covers. Xerox inner pages as issued. The first and only edition of this theoretical work based on a physical model (electro-shock, photo beams and electronic buzzers) acting as metaphor for analogue, theoretical and representative models. Cover is very minority marked on the front and back cover has a faint diagonal crease else VG++. From the archive of David Rushton who believes only 10 or fewer of this book was published.

Long, Richard. Rain Dance. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Long, Richard. From Along a Riverbank. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Helen Douglas’s Venetian Brocade, 2010]

Long, Richard. Two Sheepdogs Cross In and Out of the Passing Shadows the Clouds Drift Over the Hill with a Storm. London: Lisson Gallery, 1971. [Images][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 175-176]

Maloney, Martin. Integuments. Brattleboro, VT: Press Work, 1969. [Image] [Video] [Additional outtakes]

Maloney, Martin. Fractionals. Brattleboro, VT: Press Work, 1970.

Maloney, Martin. Intervention (Five Days and Five Nights at the Galerie MTL). Brussels: Galerie MTL, 1970. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Sam Winston’s Darkness Visible, 2017]

Double-page spread from
Intervention (Five Days and Five Nights at the Galerie MTL), Martin Maloney
Brussels: Galerie MTL, 1970

Manzoni, Piero. The Life and Works. Glucksburg-Hamburg-Paris: Peterson Press, 1963. [Image] [Artspace essay] [Compare/contrast with Marc Straus’s White Heat exhibition, 2017]

Marchetti, Walter. Arpocrate Seduto sul Loto. Madrid: Zaj, 1968. [Images] [More images]

McLean, Bruce. King for a Day. London: Situation Publications, 1972. [Images]

Merz, Mario. Fibonacci 1202 Merz 1970. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Images] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Rutherford Witthus’ Anything is a Mirror, 2007, and Susan Happersett’s Box of Chaos, 2014]

Merz, Mario. Una somma reale e una somma di gente. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972.

Morris, Robert. Continuous Project Altered Daily. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images] [Additional images][Further additional images][Still more images]

Nauman, Bruce. Burning Small Fires.  San Francisco.: Self-published, 1968. [Images]

Display of Ed Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, 1964, at Pliure: La Part du Feu, 2 February – 12 April 2015, Paris. Photo by Robert Bolick. Reflected in the lower left hand corner is the display of Bruce Nauman’s Burning Small Fires; in the upper right corner, the film clip of Truffaut’s 1966 Fahrenheit 451; and in the upper left, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s La bibliotheque en feu, 1974.

Nauman, Bruce. Clea Rsky. n.p.: Self-published, 1969. [Images] [Additional images] [Compare/contrast with Anouk Kruithof’s Automagic, 2016]

Nauman, Bruce. Laair. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images][Additional image]

N.E. Thing Company. A Portfolio of Piles. Vancouver: Self-published, 1968. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Alicia Martín’s Biografias, 2002 ongoing]

N.E. Thing Company. Trans VSI Connection NSCAD-NETCO. Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, 1969. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Dennis Ashbaugh’s and William Gibson’s AGRIPPA: A Book of the Dead, 1992]

Oldenburg, Claes. Injun & Other Histories. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1966. [Image]

Oldenburg, Claes. Store Days. New York: Something Else Press, 1968. [Images]

Oldenburg, Claes. Notes in Hand. London: Petersburg Press, 1971. [Images]

Ono, Yōko. Grapefruit. Tokyo, New York: Wunternaum, 1964. [Images]

©Yoko Ono

Oppenheim, Dennis. Flower Arrangement for Bruce Nauman. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970.  [Images] [More images]

Paolini, Giulio. Cio che non ha limiti e che per sua stessa natura non ammette limiti di sorta. Turin: Self-published, 1968. [Image] [Another image] [More images]

Paolozzi, Eduardo. Metafisikal Translations. London: Kelpra Studios, 1962. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Francisco Prieto’s London 1827, 2001-13]

Paolozzi, Eduardo. ABBA ZABA. London: Hansjorg Mayer, 1970. [Image] [Images] [More images]

Penone, Giuseppe. Svolgere la Propria Pelle. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1971. [Image] [More images]

Phillips, Tom. A Humument. London: Tetrad Press, 1970. [Image] [More images] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, 2010]

Phillips, Tom. Trailer. Dusseldorf: Hanjorg Mayer, 1971. [Image]

Pilkington, Philip; Rushton, David; Lole, Kevin; Smith, Paul. Concerning the Paradigm of Art. Zurich: Editions Bischofberger, 1971. [Last author’s name corrected from “Paul” to “Peter”] [From Paul Robertson, “A Collection of Rare Art+ Language Books and Internal Documents – Many Unknown in Literature”, Gorebridge, Midlothian: Unoriginal Sins/Heart Fine Art, n.d.

“30 x 21cm, 16pp (recto only). White card covers – with offset title. A text published by Bischofberger from a theoretical document written by Kevin Lole, Philip Pilkington, David Rushton and Peter Smith (formerly Analytical Art and by this time fully regarded as members of Art & Language) which applied Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shift to art (the original theory by Kuhn being a view that revolutions in scientific thought only occurred when sufficient contrary evidence to the prevailing orthodoxy had mounted up and the original hypothesis could no longer explain the physical evidence emerging from empirical studies). It is worth noting that at this time Bischofberger bought a great deal of Art + Language material from the group and published other documents by them including some of the group’s rarest publications – storing many of the more three-dimensional works for later resale. Bischofberger did not print the books himself – rather Art and Language arranged design and publication in Coventry (for free using the University’s resources) and David Rushton drove the books over in a camper van to Switzerland (breaking down just on the edge of the city due to running out of petrol and having little money left, Rushton coasted the last mile down hill on an empty tank).

The limitations of these series of books are usually placed at c. 200 but Rushton remembers taking far fewer than that with him and this Analytical Art book was in fact only produced in 50 copies taken to Zurich plus a few retained by the artists in the UK.

That said this is one of ONLY 5 copies which were numbered in roman numerals (this one being III/V) and signed by ALL of the four writers in pencil on the first title page.”]

Pilkington, Philip; Rushton, David. Sample from a Topological Notebook. Coventry: Self-published, 1972. [Video] [From Paul Robertson, “A Collection of Rare Art+ Language Books and Internal Documents – Many Unknown in Literature”, Gorebridge, Midlothian: Unoriginal Sins/Heart Fine Art, n.d.

“30 x 21cm, 28pp carbon copy pages and printed cover. This was one of ONLY four copies made and published by the group – two copies being signed by David Rushton and Peter [sic] Pilkington and created from original typed sheets and two copies remaining unsigned and created (as here) using the carbon copies from the originals. These latter two examples were regarded by the group as artist’s proofs of the book. This is the only copy of this book available for sale anywhere as from the original four prices: one is in Paul Maenz’s archive and another two copies are in the hands of private collectors (who purchased them from ourselves). This copy is signed by David Rushton and Philip Pilkington and has been stamped on the inside front cover with the official Art & Language Stamp and also designated in blue ink “Second Copy”. Fine estate and clearly rare.”]

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. Le Ultime Parole Famose. Turin: Tipolito Piano, 1967. [Images] [Additional images]

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. L’uomo nero: Il lato insopportabile. Salerno: Rumma Editore, 1969. [Included in this anthology; searchable here] [Image] [Cover image] [Video] [Compare/contrast with Abigail Thomas’s Micro-Pages, 2010]

Prini, Emilio. Magnete. [included within Celant’s Arte Povera published by Praeger , 1969.] [Unable to verify this; an image of the work appears in Emanuela Nobile Mino’s article “Emilio Prini: Non creo, se è possibile”, Flash Art 50, 298 Dicembre 2011 – Gennaio 2012.]

Magnet / Photo Series / Group 2000 / September 1968 / (4 Phase) / Continuous Photographic Photographs Continuously Photographs Up to 20,000 Shots / Run Time work / 10 years / annual series of 20,000 elements / technique / black and white photography / leafs / 3 M / K 203 3 / each 30 x 40 / constant time setting diaphragm / fixed tilt stand / 1969 / camera used maintains the original value and adds to the artistic market.

Ramsden, Mel. The Black Book. [Unable to find a work under this title in WorldCat]

Ramsden, Mel. Abstract Relations. New York: Art-Language, 1968. Edition of 5. [Unable to find a work under this title in WorldCat; the 5 images on the left in this photograph from the Philippe Méaille private collection at MACBA come closest.]

‘ART & LANGUAGE Incomplet’ exhibition views, 2014. Photo: EOS-AF, Estudi Orpinell & Sánchez — Artesania Fotogràfica

100% Abstract (1968) Art & Language

Roehr, Peter. Ziffern: 10 Typomontagen 1965. Cologne: Gerd de Vries, 1970.

Ty-100 (1965)
Peter Roehr
Source: Artnet 29 October 2017

Rot, Dieter. BOK 2a. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1960. [Images and essay] [Video, survey of Rot’s artist’s books]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 2b. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [Links in author’s name lead to image]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3a. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3b. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3c. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [For images, see Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, p. 243]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 3d. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [Video link]

Rot, Dieter. BOK 4a. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. BOK 5. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. Dagblegt Bull No. 8. La Louvriere: A. Balthazar & P. Bury, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. Daily Mirror Book. Reykjavik: forlag ed, 1961. [For image, see Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 242-243][Compare/contrast with Vienna Romanée’s Data Sewing Project,  2011 to present]

Rot, Dieter. Mundunculum. Cologne: Dumont Schauberg, 1961.

Rot, Dieter. Book AC 1958-1964. New Haven: Ives-Sillman, 1964.

Rot, Dieter. Quadrat-blatt. Hilversum: Steendrukkerij de Jong, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. The Copley Book. Chicago: Bill and Norma Copley Foundation, 1965. [For image, see Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 243-245]

Rot, Dieter. Kölner Divisionen. Cologne: Galerie der Spiegel, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. Quick. Reykjavik: Self-published, 1965.

Rot, Dieter. Poetrie No. 1. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1966.

Rot, Dieter. Scheisse: Neue Gedichte von Dieter Rot. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1966.

Rot, Dieter. Die Blaue Flut. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. A Look into the Blue Tide, Part Two. New York: Great Bear Pamphlets, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Siebdruckbilder (Screenprint Pictures 1-4). Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Mundunculum (enlarged and corrected). Cologne: Dumont Schauberg, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Poetrie 2 (301 kleine Wolken in Memoriam big J und big G : ein fingierter Bericht aus der inneren Fremde)Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. 80 Wolken, 1965-67. Stuttgart: E. Walther, 1967.

Rot, Dieter. Poeting 3/4 (Poeterei: Doppelnummer …). Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1968.

Rot, Dieter. Poemetrie. Cologne: Divers Press, 1968. [Image] [Compare/contrast with Robert Kalka’s Medium, 1995]

Poemetrie (no. 4 of the review Poeterei) (1968)
19 transparent plastic bags; letterpress, printed on both sides, filled with vanilla pudding and urine; plastic cover, back cover with signed drawing a.p. (ed. of 30 + 3 a.p.)
© Dieter Roth

Rot, Dieter; Williams, Emmett. Still More Shit — A Supplement. New York: Something Else Press, 1968. [Still more images]

Rot, Dieter. Die Kakausener Gemeine. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1968. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Die Gesamte Scheisse/The Complete Shit. Berlin: Rainer Verlag, 1968. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. 246 Little Clouds. New York: Something Else Press, 1968. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Little Tentative Recipe. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1969. [Images]

Little Tentative Recipe (1969)
Approx 800 rotaprints in colour.
8.8 x 8.8 x 8.8 cm. Adhesive binding wooden box. 100 unique pieces numbered.
© Dieter Roth

Rot, Dieter. Poetrie 5 to 1st. London: Hansjorg Mayer, 1969. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Icelandic Leather. Reykjavik: Self-published, 1970. [Unable to locate by this title; may be referring to Volume 5, Bok 3 of the Collected Works]

Rot, Dieter. Snow. Stuttgart, Reykjavik, London: Wasserpresse Mayer, 1970. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Postkartenblock (Postcard Pad). Cologne, London, Hellnar: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Frances Kiernan’s All the Prints I Have Made, 2010]

Rot, Dieter. 2 Problems of Our Time: An Essay. Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. Franz Eggenschwiler: The Young Man, the Man, His Time, His Work (until today 2.5.71), An Essay. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Images]

Rot, Dieter. Ideogramme. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. Smaller Works Part 1. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Volume 18 of Gesammelte Werke]

Rot, Dieter. Smaller Works Part 2. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer, 1971. [Volume 19 of Gesammelte Werke]

Rot, Dieter. Who Was Mozart. Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. Who’s the One Who Doesn’t Know Who Mozart Was? Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Rot, Dieter. A Question? Reykjavik: Verlag Reykjavik, 1971.

Ruppersberg, Allen. 23 Pieces. Los Angeles: Sunday Quality, 1969. [Images]

Ruppersberg, Allen. 24 Pieces. Los Angeles: Sunday Quality, 1970. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1963. [Images] [Interview about the book][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 251-252][Compare/contrast with Sowon Kwon’s Whiteowned Gasoline Stations, 2007, and Ginger Burrell’s Twentysix Charging Stations, 2014]

Ruscha, Ed. Various Small Fires. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1964. [Images]

Display of Ed Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, 1964, at Pliure: La Part du Feu, 2 February – 12 April 2015, Paris. Photo by Robert Bolick. Reflected in the lower left hand corner is the display of Bruce Nauman’s Burning Small Fires; in the upper right corner, the film clip of Truffaut’s 1966 Fahrenheit 451; and in the upper left, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s La bibliotheque en feu, 1974.

Ruscha, Ed. Every Building on the Sunset Strip. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1966. [Images] [Animation] [Compare/contrast with Every Item in the Artists’ Book Collection of the Banff Centre Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives, 2013 to the present, and James Bridle’s installation Every CCTV (CC), 2017, an extension of The Nor, 2014]

Ruscha, Ed. Thirtyfour Parking Lots. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1967. [Images] [Compare/contrast with James Bridle’s Drone Shadow Handbook, 2013]

Ruscha, Ed. Nine Swimming Pools (and a Broken Glass). Los Angeles: Self-Published, 1968.

Ruscha, Ed. Business Cards. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1968. [Images]

Ruscha, EdStains. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1969. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Ellie Ga’s Classification of a Spit Stain, 2009]

Ruscha, Ed. Crackers. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1969. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Real Estate Opportunities. Los Angeles: Self-published, 1970. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Babycakes with Weights. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 252-253]

Ruscha, Ed. A Few Palm Trees. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1971. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Records. Los Angeles: Heavy Industry Publications, 1971. [Images]

Ruscha, Ed. Dutch Details. Deventer: Octopus Foundation, 1971. [Images] [Video, more images and essay][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 254-255]

Sonnier, Keith. Object Situation Object. Cologne, New York: Walther König, 1970. [Images] [Official website] [Video]

Spoerri, DanielTopographie Anecdotée du Hasard. Paris: Galerie Lawrence, 1962. [Images]

Spoerri, Daniel. An Anecdoted Topography of Chance. New York: Something Else Press, 1966. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Rutherford Witthus’ Anything is a Mirror, 2007]

Spoerri, Daniel. The Mythological Travels.... New York: Something Else Press, 1970. [Images]

Staeck, Klaus. Pornographie. Giessen: Anabas Verlag, 1971. [Images] [Official website]

Stezaker, John. Works, 1969 – 1971. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1972. [Compare/contrast with Doug Beube’s Speechless Series, 2015, Noriko Ambe’s Artist Books Project, 2009-13, and Scott Hazard’s Photo Constructs, 2011]

Stezaker, John. “0(A-F)” and Five Inherent Predicables. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1972.

Stezaker, John. “A” and Six Predicable Concepts. London: Nigel Greenwood, 1972.

Tacha, Athena. Heredity Study I, 1970-71. Oberlin, OH: Self-published, 1971. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Jan Fairbairn-Edwards’ Family Geology, 2015]

Tacha, Athena. Heredity Study II, 1970-71. Oberlin, OH: Self-published, 1971. [Images]

Tacha, AthenaSpatial Disorientation Staircases and Ramps 1971-72. Oberlin, OH: Self-published, 1972. [Image]

Titus-Carmel, Gerard. Joaquin’s Love Affair. Paris: Ericard Editeur, 1971. [Images]

Tuttle, Richard. 2 Books 1969. New York: Betty Parsons Gallery, 1969. [Images]

Van Elk, Ger. The Well-Shaven Cactus/Paul Klee um den Fisch, 1926/The Co-Founder of the Word OK/The Discovery of Sardines/The Symmetry of Diplomacy. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1972. [Images] [More images ][Video]

Vautier, Ben. Le Livre Total: 13 propositions pour une nouvelle perception et conscience de l’objet livre. Nice: Self-published, 1963. [Image]

Vautier, Ben. Écrit pour la gloire à force de tourner en rond et d’être jaloux. Nice: Self-published, 1970. [Images]

Venet, Bernar. Astrophysics [within S.M.S. Portfolio no. 6]. New York: Letter Edged in Black Press, 1968. [Images]

Venet, Bernar. Exploited Subjects: Stimulated Raman Effect. New York: Multiples, Inc., 1970. [Images]

Walther, Franz Erhard. Objekte, Benutzen. Cologne: Walther König, 1968. [Images]

Warhol, Andy. A. New York: Grove Press, 1968. [Images] [Compare/contrast with Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books, 2013]

Warhol, Andy. Andy Warhol. Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1968. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Statements. New York: Siegelaub, 1968. [Images][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, p. 291]

Weiner, Lawrence. Traces. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1970. [Actual title is Tracce Traces.] [Images] [Compare/contrast Michael Winkler’s Word Art/Art Words, 1985]]

Weiner, Lawrence. 10 Works. Paris: Yvon Lambert, 1971. [Images][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 293-294]

Weiner, Lawrence. 10 Obras. Buenos Aires: CAYC, 1971. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Causality Affected and/or Effected. New York: Leo Castelli, 1971. [Images][See also Clare Lehmann’s entry in Artists Who Make Books, 2017, pp. 292-293]

Weiner, Lawrence. Flowed. Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1971. [Images] [More images] [Compare/contrast with Demosthenes Agrafiotis’ The Chinese Notebook, 2015.

Weiner, Lawrence. Misschien door Verwijddering [Perhaps when removed]. Amsterdam: Art & Project, 1971. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Quizas Cuando Removido [Perhaps when removed]. Buenos Aires: CAYC, 1971. [Edition of the work pirated and edited with the permission of Art & Project] [Image]

Weiner, Lawrence. Having Been Done At. Turin: Sperone Editore, 1972. [Images]

Weiner, Lawrence. Green as well as Blue as well as Red. London: Jack Wendler, 1972. [Full title is And/Or: Green as well as blue as well as red.] [Images]

Young, La Monte. An Anthology of Chance Operations. New York: La Monte Young and Jackson MacLow, 1963. [Contributors: Brecht, George; Cage, John; De Maria, Walter; Flynt, Henry; Higgins, Dick; Johnson, Ray; MacLow, Jackson; Morris, Robert; Ono, Yoko; Paik, Nam June; Rot, Dieter; Williams, Emmett; Young, La Monte; et al.] [Images] [Young soundtracks and video]

Young, La Monte; Zazeela, Marian. Selected Writing. Munich: Friedrich Publishers, 1969. [Images]

βΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβσβΟβς

Bookmarking Book Art – On the Origin of Species

Charles Robert Darwin by John Collier
Charles Robert Darwin
by John Collier

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us…. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

– On the Origin of Species, 1869, the final paragraph.

In disparate “entangled banks” and micro-climates around the world, book artists and Charles Darwin have evolved a symbiotic relationship. By date and place, here are some bookmarks on that evolution.

1995, Washington, D.C., USA

Carol Barton and Diane Shaw organized the exhibition “Science and the Artist’s Book” for the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the Washington Project for the Arts. Barton and Shaw invited book artists to respond to works in the Heralds of Science collection in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library.  Among twenty-one other pairings, George Gessert was invited to respond to Charles Robert Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, London, 1859.

Gessert’s response was Natural Selection (1994), an artist’s book consisting of computer-printed handwriting and Cibachrome prints of the results of Gessert’s own experiments in hybridizing irises. Citing Darwin’s description of the breeding of pigeons for their ornamental characteristics, Gessert contends “that Darwin also recognized aesthetics as an evolutionary factor”.  Since the 1980s, Gessert’s work and writings have focused on the way human aesthetics can affect evolution and the aesthetic, ethical and social implications.  His work and that of artists/theorists such as Suzanne Anker, Eduardo Kac, Marta De Menezes, the Harrisons and Sonya Rapoport have constituted the bio art and eco art movements.  A collection of his essays appeared as Green Light: Toward an Art of Evolution in the Leonardo Book Series, published by The MIT Press in 2010.

Gessert, George, “Hybrid 768,” Science Meets Art, accessed February 8, 2017, http://gamma.library.temple.edu/sciencemeetsart/items/show/37.
Gessert, George, “Hybrid 768,” Science Meets Art, accessed February 8, 2017, http://gamma.library.temple.edu/sciencemeetsart/items/show/37.

2004, Manchester, UK

Evolution Trilogy, 2004 Part 1 – 10 x 7.5 x 1 Part 2 – 12 x 9 x 2 Part 3 – 8.5 x 6.5 x 1 Emma Lloyd
Emma Lloyd
Evolution Triptych (2004)
Part 1 – 10 x 7.5 x 1, Part 2 – 12 x 9 x 2, Part 3 – 8.5 x 6.5 x 1

Inspired by Darwin’s The Descent of Man, Part I, and cell structures in biology texts, Emma Lloyd‘s Evolution Triptych sparks thoughts of fossils, woodcarved altarpieces or the tooled cover of the St Cuthbert Gospel, the code of life embedded in DNA structure and the code of information embedded in the codex.

Tree of Jesse Altarpiece Porto, Portugal
Tree of Jesse Altarpiece
Porto, Portugal
The St Cuthbert Gospel
British Library

The artistic technique here – carving the book as artifact – is prevalent in book art; see the work of Doug Beube, Brian Dettmer and Guy Laramée, for example. Lloyd’s treatment of the Darwin volume is the only one of its type in this collection of bookmarks. Given the influence of On the Origin of Species, though, it would be unusual if other “book surgeons” have not been similarly inspired by it.

2009, London, UK

Storyteller and book artist Sam Winston set about categorizing the words in On the Origin of Species and poet Ruth Padel’s Darwin, A Life in Poems (Chatto & Windus, 2009). He sorted them by nouns, verbs, adjectives and “other”.  As Winston puts it, he “wanted to present a visual map of how a scientist and a poet use language – a look at how much each author used real world names (Nouns) and more abstract terminology (Verb, Adjective and Other) in their writings.”

To do that, he categorized the 153,535 words in On the Origin – a dot with a 4H pencil for the 50,567 words categorized as “Other”, a 2H pencil for the 38,266 categorized as “Noun”, an HB pencil for the 26,435 categorized as “Verb” and a 4B pencil for the 38,266 categorized as “Adjective”. The result – Darwin, a series of visual “frequency poems” on display at Le Gun Studio in London – is a book altered through the DNA-like pattern of its own words into a completely “other” scroll and into a topographical map of itself – guided by the artist’s hand and mind.

Sam Winston, Darwin, 2009
Sam Winston 
Darwin (2009)
Right view. Sam Winston, Darwin, 2009 Le Gun Studio, 19 Warburton Road, London, E8 3RT, UK
Right view. Sam Winston, Darwin (2009)
Le Gun Studio, 19 Warburton Road, London, E8 3RT, UK

In the same sesquicentennial year, in the same city, Stefanie Posavec collaborated with Greg McInerny to issue (En)tangled Word Bank, a series of diagrams, each representing an edition of On the Origin of Species, and the work’s title alluding to Darwin’s “entangled bank” passage presented above.  The pressed-dandelion-shaped chapters and subchapters are divided into paragraph ‘leaves’ with wedge-shaped ‘leaflets’ representing their sentences.

The sentences forming the ‘leaflets’ of the organism are of orange, senescent tones when they will be deleted in following editions. The green, growth tones are applied to those sentences that have life in the following edition. The tone of each colour is determined by its age, in editions, to that point. Through these differences in colouration the simplicity in structure in the early stages of the organism’s life develops into a complex form, showing when the structures developed to its changing environment. Around the organisms the textual code is provided, showing the changes in the size of the organism, and where the senescence and growth is derived in that code. A series of re-arrangements of the organism focus on changes at each level of organisation.

This is “structural infographic” as art.

Greg McInerny and Stefanie Posavec, (En)tangled Word Bank, 2009.
Stefanie Posavec and Greg McInerny for Microsoft Research, Cambridge
(En)tangled Word Bank  (2009)

2009, Boston, MA, USA

Across the Atlantic, Ben Fry, author of Visualizing Data (O’Reilly, 2007), created a similar work of art called The Preservation of Favoured Traces. Fry color-coded each word of Darwin’s final text by the edition in which it first appeared and used the data to build an interactive display at fathom.com demonstrating the changes at the macro level and word-by-word. Fry went on to produce a poster version and print-on-demand book version.

Ben Fry, The Preservation of Favoured Traces, 2009
Ben Fry 
The Preservation of Favoured Traces (2009)

2009, Vancouver, Canada

Three thousand miles away that summer, Canadian poets Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott placed multiple copies of On the Origin of Species in various outdoor locations “not … to put the natural into the text, [but] … to put the text out into the natural world and see what happens to it” (p. 2). After a year, Collis and Scott photographed the results in situ and collected and used the some of the still decipherable words as found text for their volume Decomp (Coach House Press, 2013).

Artist: Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott Decomp, 2013
Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott
Decomp (2013)
Artist: Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott Decomp, 2013
Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott
Decomp (2013)
Artist: Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott Decomp, 2013
Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott
Decomp (2013)

This blend of the technique of found text and artistic collaboration with nature harks back to Marcel Duchamp’s 1919 Readymade Malheureux , Finlay Taylor’s East Dulwich Dictionary (2007) and M.L. Van Nice’s Feast is in the Belly of the Beholder (2010) among many others.

2009, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Former science teacher and now botanical artist and bookmaker, Kelly Houle embarked on a 10-year plan to create an illuminated and scribed copy of the first edition of On the Origin. Where medieval scribes and rubricators had abbots to preside over them and their book art, Houle has University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Jerry A. Coyne and several other academics. As she notes about her process, the past techniques have also yielded to present concerns:

Artist: Kelly M. Houle The Illuminated Origin, 2009 - Watercolor, gouache, interference watercolor, gold foil, shell gold on Fabriano Artistico, 22 x 30 inches
Kelly M. Houle
The Illuminated Origin (2009 – )
Watercolor, gouache, interference watercolor, gold foil, shell gold
on Fabriano Artistico, 22 x 30 inches

Today many artists still practice the tradition of illumination using medieval and renaissance-era materials and techniques. While many of these have stood the test of time, there are more earth-friendly materials than those used in the past….

Detail of frontispiece Courtesy of the artist
Detail of frontispiece
Courtesy of the artist

The Illuminated Origin of Species will be written on hot-pressed Fabriano Artistico paper made in Italy. It is the best paper in the world for both calligraphy and botanical art. These are extremely smooth, beautiful, and durable papers. They are chlorine-free, acid-free, and 100% cotton. No animal by-products are used in the sizing. Combined with Winsor and Newton watercolors and gouache, this paper will be perfect for the demands of The Illuminated Origin.

Detail of frontispiece Courtesy of the artist
Detail of frontispiece
Courtesy of the artist

To mimic the play of light on various shiny and iridescent surfaces in nature, I am using 23k gold foil, shell gold, and interference watercolors, which contain small flecks of mica to produce an iridescent effect. These metals will distinguish The Illuminated Origin as a truly “illuminated” manuscript.                — Kelly M. Houle, “The Making of a Modern Illuminated Manuscript

Houle aims to complete her work in 2019, On the Origin‘s 160th anniversary.

2009, Farnham, Surrey, UK

Between its hardback covers lined in marbled papers, Angela Thames’ Darwin’s Poetic Words  has distilled the often liturgical, poetic passages of On the Origin of Species.

Artist: Angela Thames Darwin's Poetic Words Hardbound, 12 pages, 12 x 8 cm, 8 linocuts, Somerset paper
Angela Thames
Darwin’s Poetic Words (2009)
Hardbound, 12 pages, 12 x 8 cm, 8 linocuts, Somerset paper

Between 2009 and 2013, Thames created four more artist’s books besides Darwin’s Poetic Words, based on excerpts from On the Origin of Species. In this focus and technique, Thames takes and interprets portions rather than the whole of the source as do Houle, Collis and Scott, Fry, McInerny and Posavec, Winston, and Lloyd in their differing ways.

Angela Thames Evident Evolution (2009-13) Collagraph images of bone structures and text, 8 pages, Silkscreen covers, Spiral bound edition
Angela Thames
Evident Evolution (2009-13)
Collagraph images of bone structures and text, 8 pages, Silkscreen covers, Spiral bound edition
Angela Thames A Grain in the Balance (2009-13) Collagraph images with rubber-stamped text, 8x10cm, 15 pages, Somerset beige paper
Angela Thames
A Grain in the Balance (2009-13)
Collagraph images with rubber-stamped text, 8x10cm, 15 pages, Somerset beige paper
Angela Thames Poor Man (2009-13) Folded card with pop up flower, Words spoken by his gardener, Silkscreen, wood-stamped text, Open edition
Angela Thames
Poor Man (2009-13)
Folded card with pop up flower, Words spoken by his gardener,
Silkscreen, wood-stamped text, Open edition

Angela Thames Poor Man (2009-13) Folded card with pop up flower, Words spoken by his gardener, Silkscreen, wood-stamped text, Open edition

Poor Man (2009-13) is the only exhibit in this survey that demonstrates the pop-up technique in book artistry, but as evolutionary biology and fossil-hunting have shown, who knows what undiscovered forms are out there.

2012, New York, NY, USA

Following in their tradition since 1984, Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (“Kids of Survival”) seized on Darwin’s “Tree of Life” diagram

Darwin's notebook sketch of an evolutionary tree. Charles Robert Darwin, Transmutation of Species, 1837
Darwin’s notebook sketch of an evolutionary tree. Charles Robert Darwin, Transmutation of Species, 1837

and “jammed” to produce a series of paintings and preliminary works in ink and watercolor on pages of the book to create ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES (after Darwin). Eighteen students, aged 13 to 16, worked with Rollins on the preliminary studies, one of which appears below, that preceded the 2013 exhibition of paintings at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery.

Artist: Tim Rollins, b. 1955, and K.O.S., founded 1984 Studies for ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES (after Darwin) ink and watercolor on book page 9 x 6 inches 22.9 x 15.2 cm
Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
Studies for ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES (after Darwin) (2014)
Ink and watercolor on book page, 22.9 x 15.2 cm
Photo credit: Lehmann Maupin Gallery

The large-scale paintings consist of almost all of the 360 pages of On the Origin fixed to canvas and ink-stamped over and over with the “Tree of Life” image, which had been cut into 60 handstamps. Rollins described the concept of the works in an interview for Brooklyn Rail:

The whole book is 360 pages but we don’t ever want to be literal so it’s not all of the pages. They’re there to inspire. It’s like an opera. The libretto inspires the music. You can watch an opera in a language you don’t know, without reading. It’s the same with our work. It’s about a visual correspondence with the text. The work is not about something. That’s why you can’t get hung up on interpretation. That’s a big issue, especially with so much politically engaged art. We want to create a situation, learning machines, so everyone is learning in the process of making and then hopefully the audience will be inspired too. Maybe they will pick up Darwin or continue with the idea. These are catalysts for action.

In a video interview with ArtNet, Rollins also refers to the K.O.S. jamming process -reading aloud from the book in a studio setting, discussing it with students and seeking inspiration from the text – not as a school lesson or classroom exercise but as a kind of séance, an assertion that touches the essence of “reverse ekphrasis” in book art. Rather than the literary work or book capturing the spirit of a work of art, the work of art captures the spirit of the book.

2013/14, Oxford, OH, USA

At the University of Puget Sound (2013) and Center for Book Art in New York (2014), Diane Stemper exhibited her Darwin-inspired book art that explores “the intersection between the natural world, daily living, science and the collective and individual experience of landscape”.

Artist: Diane Stemper Universal Sample (2014) Edition of 4, Intaglio and letterpress on Arches
Diane Stemper
Universal Sample (2014)
Edition of 4, Intaglio and letterpress on Arches
Diane Stemper Universal Sample (2014) Edition of 4, Intaglio and letterpress on Arches
Diane Stemper
Universal Sample (2014)
Edition of 4, Intaglio and letterpress on Arches
Artist: Diane Stemper Universal Sample (2014) Edition of 4, Intaglio and letterpress on Arches
Diane Stemper
Universal Sample (2014)
Edition of 4, Intaglio and letterpress on Arches

Hand bound, printed and produced in her Plat 21 Studio, in Oxford, her Galapagos Map (2013), Darwin’s Atlantic Sea (2014) and Universal Sample (2014), these works have an eerie physical presence.  At the Center for Book Art, I have seen and, with the kind permission of Alex Campos, the curator there, touched the works. The intaglio printing and richly textured creamy paper still communicate themselves even across the digital divide.

2014, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and London, UK

Simon Phillipson completed a variorum edition of On the Origin of Species, in which every verso page is the evolved or amended text and the recto page is the final text from the the Sixth edition.

Charles Robert Darwin, On the Origin of Species, variorum edition designed by Simon Philippson, 2014. Printed in the Netherlands on special 60gsm bible paper and finished with a special metallic bronze ink
Charles Robert Darwin, On the Origin of Species, variorum edition designed by Simon Phillipson, 2014.
Printed in the Netherlands on special 60gsm bible paper and finished with a special metallic bronze ink

The verso pages are completely printed in a special metallic bronze ink. The recto is printed in a combination of black and bronze ink. The bronze highlighted words in the recto correspond to the evolving or amending text in the verso. Very reminiscent of, but distinct from, Ben Fry’s The Preservation of Favoured Traces (see above).

2014, Minneapolis, MN 

Vesna Kittelson, Mrs. Darwin's Garden, Book Two, 2014 Accordion book, 9 x 7 in
Vesna Kittelson,
Mrs. Darwin’s Garden, Book Two (2014)
Accordion book, 9 x 7 in

Vesna Kittelson is an American-Croatian artist based in Minneapolis. Her résumé cites public collections ranging from Tate Britain and Minnesota Museum of American Art to Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Armenia and the Modern Museum of Art in Croatia. In 2009, she spent time at Churchill College, Cambridge University, where she learned about the life and marriage of Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood. Subsequently she created four artist books titled Mrs. Darwin’s Garden depicting primitive-seeming plants imagined as flora that Darwin might have seen from the deck of the Beagle. The names of the plants are made-up Latin names or variations on those of contemporary plants.

Vesna Kittelson, Mrs. Darwin's Garden, Book Two, 2014 Accordion book, 9 x 7 in
Vesna Kittelson, Mrs. Darwin’s Garden, Book Two, 2014
Accordion book, 9 x 7 in

These abstract images are imagined plants for Mrs. Darwin’s garden. They are illustrations of named floral specimens that never existed in reality. In Mrs. Darwin’s Garden they are presented as if they correspond to data derived from Darwin’s experimentation in his greenhouse. In this book I replaced the 19th C methods of botanical drawing with pouring paints to incorporate the contemporary notion of valuing an accident, followed by drawing with brushes and pencils to gain control and give the images a place and time in the 21st C.

2014, Grasswood, Saskatchewan, Canada

Jonathan Skinner (Warwick University) wrote in his preface to Decomp (see above):

Writing rots, meaning flees. … Yet the book is written to locate (some) meaning here. Would it make any difference to leave Decomp itself in the wilderness? Probably not.

Book artist, papermaker and co-founder with her husband David Miller of Byopia Press, Cathryn Miller reviewed Decomp in 2013. If not prompted by Skinner’s preface, Miller must have felt how appropriately evolutionary it would be to attempt to replicate the Decomp experiment by substituting the result of that experiment for the subject of the replicating experiment. Thus, in January 2014, Miller nailed to a tree “a book based on letting brand new copies of On the Origin of Species rot in various locations”.

Artist: Cathryn Miller Recomp, 2014 Copy of Decomp, Collis and Scott (2013) nailed to a tree Photo credit: David G. Miller
Cathryn Miller
Recomp (2014)
Copy of Decomp, Collis and Scott (2013) nailed to a tree
Photo credit: David G. Miller

For over twenty months, Miller monitored and husband David photographed the book’s weathering. That, however, was not the transformation that would result in an altered book and possibly a work of book art. Nature had some ironic appropriateness in store for Miller, Skinner, Collis, Scott and all of us. The blown pages were visited by Bald-faced Hornets, who digested them á la John Latham and his students but regurgitated them as cellulose with which to build a large nest.

Artist: Cathryn Miller Recomp, 2015 Photo credit: David G. Miller
Cathryn Miller
Recomp (2015)
Photo credit: David G. Miller
Artist: Cathryn Miller and Bald-faced Hornets Recomp, 2015 Nest composed of pages from Decomp, Collis and Scott (2013) Photo credit: David G. Miller
Cathryn Miller and Bald-faced Hornets
Recomp (2015)
Nest composed of pages from Decomp, Collis and Scott (2013)
Photo credit: David G. Miller

In the context of book art, the nest offers a curiously serendipitous digression. In 1719, the French naturalist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur published an essay to the Royal Academy of Sciences on the natural history of wasps. In the passage below, he hypothesizes how their natural papermaking industry could be adopted by man.

René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, "Histoire des guêpes", Mémoire de l'Académie royale des sciences avec 7 planches (252) - En 1719, imprimé en 1721. http://www.academie-sciences.fr/pdf/dossiers/Reaumur/Reaumur_publi.htm. Accessed 12 September 2016.
René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, “Histoire des guêpes”, Mémoire de l’Académie royale des sciences avec 7 planches (252) – En 1719, imprimé en 1721. http://www.academie-sciences.fr/pdf/dossiers/Reaumur/Reaumur_publi.htm. Accessed 12 September 2016.

In 2015, Miller presented the results as Recomp in her blog at Byopia Press. In September that year, however, critics (raccoons, the artist thinks) visited the work and deconstructed it.

Recomp vandalized, 2015 Photo credit: David G. Miller
Recomp vandalized, 2015
Photo credit: David G. Miller

Might this prove that, to paraphrase the last paragraph of On the Origin, “by laws acting around us…. from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals [and their art], directly follows”? If so, that makes raccoons and critics equal laws of nature.

2015, Umeå, Sweden

Johannes Heldén’s work Field is book, visual art and installation all in one. Heldén’s is perhaps the darkest variant on Darwin’s theme here.

It consists of interactive landscape animations on a floor touchscreen of 20 sqm,

Field (2015) Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén
Field (2015)
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University

a series of sculptural mutations of the Eurasian Jackdaw*,

Field (2015) Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén
Field (2015)
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University

an ever-changing soundscape and an interactive screen wall with a text responding to the changing DNA of the bird

Field (2015) Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén
Field (2015)
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University

– as the ”code” of todays species is slowly lost, so is the code and context of language. The gaps in the text correspond to the shift in the DNA sequence, prose turns into dark poetry, connections and meaning changing for each iteration.

Field (2015) Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén
Field (2015)
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University
Field (2015) Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén
Field (2015)
Produced, and premiered, at HUMlab, Umeå University

All these pieces are connected: as you explore the landscape and trigger the glowing touch points with your body, time is rapidly speeding up (clouds move over the scene, trees wither away, a flood is coming), one by one the four bird sculptures in the installation will be ”activated” with light and sound, spiraling the species further down into mutations. At the end of the piece, no lights remain in the landscape, the sound is immense, all mutations have occurred, the last poetry dissolves into entropy. Then all fades to black.

Since Darwin’s theory encompassed extinction, perhaps Heldén’s vision is not so much a variant on Darwin as it is a pessimistic appreciation and warning about the impact of our interaction with the entangled bank.

2016, Guildford, Surrey, UK

Cathryn Miller’s “bio-book-art” and that of Collis and Scott stand at the collaboration end of the bio art spectrum, where the artist yields considerable control to nature in the creative process. At the coordination end of the spectrum – closer to domestication of species – stands Dr. Simon F. Park’s bio-book-art – The Origin of Species –  perhaps “the first book to be grown and produced using just bacteria”. Presented at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the small book has pages made of bacterial cellulose, produced by the bacterium Gluconoacetobacter xylinus (GXCELL). Its cover is even printed with naturally pigmented bacteria.

Artist: Dr. Simon F Park The Origin of Species "The small book shown here was grown from and made entirely from bacteria. Not only is the fabric of its pages (GXCELL) produced by bacteria, but the book is also printed and illustrated with naturally pigmented bacteria. " Posted 27 March 2016 Photo credit: Dr. Simon F. Park
Dr. Simon F Park
The Origin of Species
“The small book shown here was grown from and made entirely from bacteria. Not only is the fabric of its pages (GXCELL) produced by bacteria, but the book is also printed and illustrated with naturally pigmented bacteria. ” Posted 27 March 2016
Photo credit: Dr. Simon F. Park

Although Park’s science-driven process for paper manufacturing and printing echoes the speculations of French naturalist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (see above), it seems to have much in common with the painstaking craft of handmade paper and hand letterpress printing.  The first sheet of Park’s micro-organically grown paper took a little under two weeks to be generated and stencilled with his bacterial ink.

2016, Colchester, Essex, UK

It seems chronologically backwards to move from bio-book-art’s live media to Chris Ruston’s ammonites of  The Great Gathering.  As should be evident by now, however, the evolution of the symbiotic relationship between book artists and Darwin has been anything but a straight line. It  has curved, circled and recursed.

Tim Rollins + K.O.S may have had their séance 30-50 feet away from Darwin’s lodgings in Edinburgh, but Chris Ruston brought her Darwin-inspired book art to an even more fitting venue: a church converted into Colchester’s Natural History Museum.

Natural History Museum High Street Colchester, Essex England Photo credit: Chris Ruston
Natural History Museum
Colchester, Essex, England
Photo credit: Chris Ruston

As the artist comments at her site:

The Great Gathering refers to our continued exploration of where we have come from, and where we are going. Combined the seven volumes tell an amazing story spanning 650 million years. Sculptural in form, each book reflects a moment of this journey. From black holes and dark beginnings, through ocean and sediment layers, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and recycled National Geographic magazines the work charts the inevitability of change.

View of exhibition of The Great Gathering Natural History Museum Photo credit: Chris Ruston
View of exhibition of The Great Gathering
Natural History Museum, Colchester
Photo credit: Chris Ruston

They are a response to visiting Museum collections, in particular the Natural History Museum, Colchester and the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences Cambridge. Fossils hold the key which have enabled us to unlock  the story of our Origins – from the largest creatures to the smallest organisms. The 19th century saw an explosion of knowledge  and understanding, culminating in Darwin’s publication of  On the Origin of  Species. By piecing together the riddle of the fossil record, Darwin and his contemporaries began asking revolutionary and challenging questions, the results of which are still felt today.

View of exhibition of The Great Gathering Natural History Museum Photo credit: Chris Ruston
View of exhibition of The Great Gathering
Natural History Museum
Photo credit: Chris Ruston

Science and art are the presiding geniuses over The Great Gathering. In The sciences of the artificial (1969), Herbert Simon emphasized: “The natural sciences are concerned with the way things are” and engineering, with the way things ought to be to attain goals. Like the scientist, the artist, too, is concerned with the way things are. They are the raw material with which the artist works or to which he or she responds. But like the engineer or the designer, the artist is concerned with the way things ought to be:

Artist: Chris Ruston The Great Gathering, 2016 Photo credit: Chris Matthews
Chris Ruston
The Great Gathering, 2016
Photo credit: Chris Matthews

how a solander box ought to be constructed to operate with the work and, in enclosing it, be “the work”;

Chris Ruston The Great Gathering (2016) Photo credit: Chris Matthews
Chris Ruston
The Great Gathering (2016)
Photo credit: Chris Matthews

what materials (photos from the Hubble telescope) ought to be used to reflect a moment in time;

Chris Ruston The Great Gathering (2016) Photo credit: Chris Matthews
Chris Ruston
The Great Gathering (2016)
Photo credit: Chris Matthews

how thread, tape and stitch ought to be to hold together a spine that will flex and spiral into the shape of a fossil;

Chris Ruston The Great Gathering (2016) Photo credit: Chris Matthews
Chris Ruston
The Great Gathering (2016)
Photo credit: Chris Matthews

how the color of the material ought to be juxtaposed with the material’s altered shape to carry meaning;