Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Laminated Scrapbook

Now it’s all packed down and put up. “Moving Thought” is musealized. A bulletin board photographic record of the tour is installed at the Contemporary Art Museum through May 25th, 2008. The books we selected are all back on the shelves.

That final cargo included selected published artists’ books selected from Printed Matter, New York, artists’ books already in the CAM bookstore, “crossover” artists’ books from the campus bookstore Barnes & Noble, and some zines.

The circuist of the book opened up during “Moving Thought,” as students involved in zine-making continued to circulate their work through subcultural channels, and others who were teaching asked their students to make handmade one-of-a-kind books. (One of these, I’m told, went on track to be published when a copy shop owner connected the art student with a publisher.) Hands-on workshops – in bookbinding and cyanotypy – took place at different bookmobile venues.

The larger aspects of the artists’ book expressed in “Moving Thought” lie in the relation of the project to contemporary creative work. What is the place, and what is the space of the book today? Handmade artists’ books are very private items. Published artists’ books are rare items on the market for which they were ostensibly created. Since they are often so arcane, and always published in very limited numbers (so there can be no restock on a popular item), almost no bookstores bother to carry more than a few of them. The zine is circulated almost exclusively within subcultural milieux (although some libraries have begun to collect them).

The pedagogical project of “Moving Thought” was a gestural extension of the space of the artists’ book from a tiny few enclaves to a nomadic store on wheels. The project also poses the larger question – as a significant portion of artistic production dematerializes into cyberspace, what is the role of real space in artistic exhibition and interchange?
– Alan W. Moore
Visiting Assistant Professor for Contemporary Art and Critical Theory, 2007-2008
University of South Florida, School of Fine Arts and Art History, College of Visual and Performing Arts