Off the Shelf: Modern & Contemporary Artists' Books

Off the Shelf: Modern & Contemporary Artists' Books
From March 12, 2017 — June 25, 2017
Baltimore Museum of Art

A charming collection of books are available for view at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A free museum in the creative city of Baltimore, Maryland. The show, which is set up in a multi-room format, comes with a special Guild of Bookworkers connection! Potomac Chapter Chair, Vicky Lee was involved in the informational signage in the library room of the exhibit. The information on the structure of the book was well received and the subject of many conversations as the exhibit patrons were exposed to the process of bookbinding, some for the first time. When asked to comment on her involvement in the project, Ms. Lee gave a lighthearted and insightful response:

          "I was surprised to be contacted about creating a display and pleased that they wanted an              educational display at the museum - that wasn't just for children!  I tried to get materials that                already existed and instead of making a book from scratch I purchased one at a used book store.          That way it had a decorative binding, gilt edge pages and type/print that could engage the viewer on    many levels and highlighted (I hope) how all the different parts make and influence each other -          even in an "ordinary book" - as well as in the case of the "artist book". -Vicky Lee

There were a few iconic pieces (Gordon Matta-Clark), and many interesting text blocks to view, from such artists as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, but as a bookworker, there was not as much binding emphasis as I would usually like in a book show; I'll just be brief, I enjoy some extravagant gold tooling. But this isn't just a book show, it is an art show. It is great opportunity for understanding that connection. There are places where the finely made book can go that only a particular artist's mind will take it. The show is great for viewing the capabilities of using books, especially expensive show catalogs,  as a venue for interesting takes on the traditionally manufactured case bound book. The items had a variety of binding styles; accordion bindings, loose plates in a paper cover, pamphlet books, to simple yet traditionally forwarded fine bindings. I wish I had taken better notes at the show, but honestly, I didn't realize I was going to be writing a blog post on the subject when I went, and so I will 'silver lining' my inability to properly caption the attached photos by saying; "I enjoyed the use of textures and colors and international artist inclusion and lovely images and attempting to read some German. It was fun. You should go." It's open for another month. The museum is FREE. Also, you can park at the museum if you want to be close and pay $7, or you can park across the street for free and take a nice walk. 

---Shannon Kerner for GBW 2017---


Popular Posts