Sarah Smith will give a "slide" talk about artists books and the show in the Paul Scott Library at 11:30am on November 1st. In the mean time, Sarah talks about the show here:
Artists' Books come in many forms. Some are unique sculptural works; others printed in limited editions, finely printed and finely bound. Still others are more commercially printed and widely disseminated. The concepts behind the books also vary widely from the personal, political, narrative, analytical, humorous and a myriad of other angles.
My collection strives to be a combination of the various types of artists' books, although it tends to lean toward the offset-lithographically printed, larger editioned (affordable) books. Sometimes these are referred to as democratic multiples, in that they are intended for the larger audience rather than just art dealers and collectors. This is where I've seen my own work existing in the world as well.
I began collecting mainly as an interest in books, in particular, books with odd (or so it seemed to me at the time when I was about 19), unexpected content. Then as now, I collected as inspiration for my own work and my students' work. I realize when I look at the whole collection (which this show contains a portion of) that I gravitate toward books of lists or collections. The book titled "Sorry" is a good example of this. It takes time and more digging through the book to ascertain the meaning of the concept. It's not the traditional narrative structure, but a simple theme and variations within. Buzz Spector's book displaying his library lined up in order of size is another good example of the list and categorizing. Why am I interested in these books? Maybe it has to do with my own impulse to categorize (perfect for putting away lead type!). I tend look at the differences and similarities between things and people, wondering how the same basic form can end up being so very different.
I acquired some of these books as gifts, some were traded for other artwork and many were purchased at various book fairs, conferences and bookstores (Printed Matter in New York has seen a lot of business from me). I'm glad I could share some of them and invite everyone to touch them and study them.