Monday, February 9, 2015

What are Artists' Books?

What is an artist's book and how can it be defined? This and many other questions are posed to students participating in the Corcoran School of Art and Design’s Art and the Book graduate program. The Master’s in Art and the Book focuses on the history and theory behind the rich tradition of book making. Students in this program actively engage in book making during their course of study. By end of the program, students are tasked with creating one collaborative artist’s book as a class, using a single overarching theme.

 Earlier this January, a group of these students exhibited their final book project from the fall semester. Entitled An Exquisite Future, the book revolves around ideas like the advancement of technology, the eminent collapse of the bee population, and the emotions that result from thinking about the unknown. The students composed the book by each completing a unique page. However, students collaborated by basing their page on the previous student’s page each presenting a year in the future. Each student only viewed the previous student’s entry. So, when the book was completed, a full and complete picture of the future emerged.

Sarah Matthews, Untitled, 2014.  
           
An Exquisite Future is one example of an artist’s book, however; it is not the only kind that exists. In fact, there are many forms and variations of artists’ books. This diversity in artists’ books makes it difficult to define the exact nature of these art pieces. According to Frank Furnace, an avant-garde performance art and fine arts nonprofit, “An artist’s book is an object whose primary medium is the idea, as opposed to an object that is valuable by virtue of the materials from which it is made.[1] This is a clarifying definition because it showcases how artists’ books are works of art that are realized in the form of a book, rather than a traditional medium. Therefore, each book varies in materials, images, and ideas. Ultimately, each artist's book is an expression of an idea conceived by the artist.

Artists' books from the Corcoran Art & Design collection will be on display as a part of Paper Window beginning February 11th in the MPA 2nd floor cases.



[1] Lauf, C. (1998). Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists' Books. American Federation of Arts.

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Covering exhibits at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery and giving you a peek into the Permanent Collection of the George Washington University.

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Howard Hodgkin: Paintings - May 16, 2012

Monday, February 9, 2015

What are Artists' Books?

What is an artist's book and how can it be defined? This and many other questions are posed to students participating in the Corcoran School of Art and Design’s Art and the Book graduate program. The Master’s in Art and the Book focuses on the history and theory behind the rich tradition of book making. Students in this program actively engage in book making during their course of study. By end of the program, students are tasked with creating one collaborative artist’s book as a class, using a single overarching theme.

 Earlier this January, a group of these students exhibited their final book project from the fall semester. Entitled An Exquisite Future, the book revolves around ideas like the advancement of technology, the eminent collapse of the bee population, and the emotions that result from thinking about the unknown. The students composed the book by each completing a unique page. However, students collaborated by basing their page on the previous student’s page each presenting a year in the future. Each student only viewed the previous student’s entry. So, when the book was completed, a full and complete picture of the future emerged.

Sarah Matthews, Untitled, 2014.  
           
An Exquisite Future is one example of an artist’s book, however; it is not the only kind that exists. In fact, there are many forms and variations of artists’ books. This diversity in artists’ books makes it difficult to define the exact nature of these art pieces. According to Frank Furnace, an avant-garde performance art and fine arts nonprofit, “An artist’s book is an object whose primary medium is the idea, as opposed to an object that is valuable by virtue of the materials from which it is made.[1] This is a clarifying definition because it showcases how artists’ books are works of art that are realized in the form of a book, rather than a traditional medium. Therefore, each book varies in materials, images, and ideas. Ultimately, each artist's book is an expression of an idea conceived by the artist.

Artists' books from the Corcoran Art & Design collection will be on display as a part of Paper Window beginning February 11th in the MPA 2nd floor cases.



[1] Lauf, C. (1998). Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists' Books. American Federation of Arts.

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Washington, District of Columbia, United States
"Found In Collection" or simply "FIC" is the way many museums classify the more mysterious items in their possession that have little or no documentation. Here at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of the George Washington University, we do keep extensive records of our collection, but some of the items we come across in academic buildings or our own storage can leave us wondering. This blog is an effort to showcase some of the more curious examples and their stories, and to provide a glimpse of the great variety of art pieces within the collection. To learn more about the Brady Gallery's history, recent exhibitions, or the George Washington University, take a look at the links below.

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