Friday, December 19, 2008
Books as Art
Last night, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis opened Text/Messages: Books by Artists, an exhibit that demonstrates how some artists have used books as a form of material, medium or subject in their creations. Over the years, the Walker has collected 2,000 pieces that fall into this book-art category, and now some are on display, including, according the press release, "Elegant tomes conceived by artists such as Robert Motherwell and Ellsworth Kelly; conceptual projects by Lawrence Weiner; humorously subversive books by Karen Finley, Mike Kelley, and Paul McCarthy; and rare illustrated editions such as Salvador Dali’s take on Alice in Wonderland."
With this exhibit, and art form, what's on the pages - if there are any pages at all - is not what's significant. It's the shape they take, and the way they present the message, oftentimes political. (For example, again from press release, "Red Book, a work by Chinese artist Xu Bing composed of a row of cigarettes printed with text and housed in a box that resembles Chairman Mao’s so-called Little Red Book.") From a 26-foot, accordion-style book to a large sculpture book-boat (pictured), this exhibit studies a way of art that still thrives and is celebrated in this age of technology and Twitter accounts.
Through April 19. I hope to make a visit.
Walker Art Center
Star Tribune article
(Photo credit: Courtesy of Walker Art Center. Kcho, Obras Escogidas (Selected Works), 1994, books, metal frame, wood table, newspaper, twine Collection Walker Art Center Clinton and Della Walker Acquisition Fund, 1996)