Core III: From Materiality to Immateriality
For more than fifty years, artists have increasingly turned to the medium of the book for artistic expression. In this course, we examine historical sources, physical, visual and textual, from which they derive inspiration, utilizing the resources of our Denison and Honnold Libraries, the Scripps College Art Collection, and the Getty Research Institute. We see how digital applications revolutionized modern printing practice akin to Gutenberg’s contributions of the fifteenth century and led to the development of new forms of bookmaking, including the non-material, hyper-modern book. We question and analyze the motivation of artists and writers such as Mallarmé, Manet, Sonia Delaunay, Iliazd, Matisse, Ed Ruscha, Raymond Pettibon, Susan King, Betsy Davids and Claire Van Vliet in producing artists’ books. Bolstered by this underpinning, students create and exhibit their own bookworks by the end of the semester.
The field of artists’ books is relevant for intellectual inquiry because it is inherently multi- and cross-disciplinary. It includes complex visual and textual interplay, and there is a wide variety of subject matter addressed from a range of points of view. It affords an opportunity for students to survey the physical, textual and visual precursors to contemporary bookmaking and see historical contributions from a variety of cultures, e.g. Asian papermaking and printing, Egyptian cylinder seals, scrolls and Coptic codices, Islamic and Spanish leather decoration. There are significant resources on campus, all of which will aid students to find their own voice as they produce and exhibit their own bookworks.
There are two major projects for the course:
- Project One: Develop a description of what an artist book is. Identify and claim as your own one of the genres of artists’ books specified by Johanna Drucker in her book, The Century of Artists’ Books. Write the description of the genre in your own words. Act as curators for an exhibition to be mounted in the Clark Humanities Museum selecting Granary Books that best represent each genre. Work with the books written by the Huberts and Betty Bright for further insights. Use the Kilgour text for background and study the selected readings. Identify and describe the eighty-nine Granary Books in the exhibition. Prepare labels for the cases, write the catalog for the exhibit, and install the exhibit. Videotape your presentations of the books to accompany the catalog.
- Final Project: Develop and produce an artists’ book. It can be one-of-a-kind or produced in multiples. You can work individually or collaboratively. Work together to ﬁnd a site for exhibition of the bookworks. Develop an announcement for your exhibition. Videotape your presentations to the class about the books you produced and add this to the DVD for the exhibition.
Readings for the Core III course
|Selections from Supplementary Texts||
|Suggested further readings||