After our class discussion, the Wikipedia entry linked on the home page, and my search for this week’s response, I found myself with more new questions than answered ones. For instance: what aren’t artists books? Can’t commercially printed works with stunning layouts and beautiful cover art be just as artistic as those that are crafted by hand? If the function of a work is lost, is it still a book, or is it artistic material? Are hand-crafted, decorative books categorically the same as less ornate books repurposed into another form of art?
It was with these questions in mind that I found two works that called out to me. The first is the work below, “Artists who make pieces, Artists who do books”, by Japanese-born artists Noriko Ambe. Ambe has repurposed an art book from modernist Ed Ruscha by cutting pages to create a layered wave of color, thus creating a new work entirely. The work is visually stunning, and further prompts monologue about the nature of art books and of collaboration.
Le Surréalisme positions a sculpture of a human breast atop a field of black, amid an otherwise vacant flesh-colored book. For me the piece works like much of Duchamp’s art; it attempts to challenge what art can be and mean, and explores the possibilities of mixed media.