Anything can be repurposed into art, so I’m glad to see used books getting a piece of the action. The internet is combining text, video and imagines in exciting ways, giving artist more to play with to explore our culture and selves. I think the shift from hardcopy to e-book is an opportunity for visual artists and writers to combine talents, like the movie industry has done for decades, to create new on-line forms of reading, that blend video, animation, colors and shapes with words and stories. I’m convinced the tactile and olfactory nostalgia of a good hardback book will never disappear, and I feel that the deconstruction of used books, recycled into visual art, is a form of flattery for a book (though maybe not the writer). I’ve seen book art before. I tend to look, appreciate, and move on. I rarely need to know the artist’s name. It doesn’t add to the experience for me, but if you did to know the artist’s inner struggle and meaning to their work, by all means. Sometimes knowing has changed my original view on the work, which warped my enjoyment of the pieces. Now here are my research favorites
The Bellevue Arts Museum, just outside ofSeattle, is holding a book arts exhibit called, “The Book Borrowers: Contemporary Artists Transforming the Book.”
Casey Curran’s work titled Pretense showed me how an existing book can be crafted to be read, or really engaged into under a different set of reading parameters. She doesn’t just turn the book into visual art but allows for the original content to be read in a new, often bizarre fashion.
Meg Hitchcock is my favorite so far. She creates shapes out of sentences and by doing so keeps the ability of structured information (the sentence) and adds another layer of meaning through her visuals. I think this is a great technique to use in playing with contradictions.