Response to Peter Thomas

Peter Thomas starts out talking about his experience at the beginning of the book arts movement. I believe he estimated that he first heard the term artist’s book in 1976? And that “the advent of the personal computer freed the book” to become what it is today – something that can be seen as an art medium, and is not limited the traditional text block and case. I completely agree that the computer age has “freed” the book to become something other than conventional information storage.

One really interesting point that Thomas brought up is that, thus far, critics have not named the different “schools” of book artists, the way that painters and sculptors throughout history have been placed into schools. Having that helping hand from the critics (who see works of art in the big picture, art history context) really does orient us (audience and artists) in how we talk and think about art – in all mediums. I wonder where the critics are out there, and who might be thinking about these “schools,” and when the critics’ conversation about book arts will become more accessible to the book artists themselves?

I think the biggest statement that Thomas makes in this lecture is that book arts will soon become the dominant visual/fine arts medium, that 2D art (painting, printmaking, drawing) has become “boring,” and anyone with a computer can now make art. He makes the point that a painting on the wall is worth more than paintings in a book, but implies that eventually it will be the other way around.

First of all – I disagree that 2D art is boring! However, I agree that book arts are currently under-valued. It is a big leap to say that in the future all other fine art mediums will be replaced/dominated by the book. I suppose anything is possible over time. I do agree that book arts will become more valued and sought after, as physical books become more of a luxury, and should be acknowledged as a fine art form alongside painting and sculpting. Will books ever be more popular than 2D artwork? Will we have books on the wall instead of paintings? Only time will tell.

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