Thursday, 31 October 2013

Artist's Book Yearbook 2014-2015

With the light fast draining from a sullen sky I've scuttled down the garden path and into a cosy warm kitchen for coffee and a proper look at a BOOK . . . not any old book, but my copy of the Artist's Book Yearbook 2014-2015.
This is a biennial reference which focuses on international activity in the field of book arts. 

It serves as a resource for artists, academics and students, for librarians and researchers, in fact for anyone who is interested in artists' books!

In this issue there are many and various essays and interviews - so I'm already planning to set aside some afternoons for a couple of weeks to get through them all, maybe bake some cake? . . 

First off, John Bently's Against Orthodoxy: A ramble in the woods of art. Looking at how effectively the criteria in Art Schools (these days Uni's) is now a worrying tendency to make a 'one size fits all' approach to both students and learning . . . as someone with experience of Art School in the 70's and as a recent mature post-grad student of course I found myself nodding in agreement as I drank my coffee and read this, but then . . . there is some sense in creating standards from which to assess a students work . . . mind you should there be any rules in art? 

In the craft element, most probably, but in the concept, the idea of a piece, who should we allow to decide on those rules. Why one set of rules and not another? I know, I for one, don't like to be boxed in. 

Surely, the joy (and the acquisition of skills and knowledge) in being an art student is in the freedom to try out ideas and not to be constrained from the get go . . . constraint inevitably will come soon enough.

As you can see, half an hour with this BOOK and hours worth of cogitation. I highly recommend you get hold of a copy.
And there are over 190 national and international artists listed with examples of their recent book works. I shall be engrossed for some while yet . . .

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