Conversaciones Críticas / Critical Conversations: An Examination of Book Art / Libro de Artista
From Meredith Hale
Over the last six decades, the book arts and the artists' book have been expanding their influence both internally, within libraries and museum collections, as well as beyond institutional and disciplinary boundaries due to their unique capacity to engage with and question metanarratives. Their unparalleled ability to initiate innovative exploration of canonical art works and authors, and their capacity to interrogate knowledge formation and dissemination in fields such as history, art history, literature, critical theory, artistic praxis, printing and book making distinguishes this field from any other. In addition, the artists' book has emerged as an ideal medium to further political, environmental and social justice initiatives. Despite the ability of book works to raise questions regarding any subject that could exist within a library's collections, the history of art has rarely engaged with the liminal space that is the homeland of book art. This session promotes the need for critical discourse around artists' book and book art from multiple perspectives. Speakers will explore the versatility of the medium's materials and design within the context of book arts production praxis, including mail art and its significance in Latin America; its opportunities for engagement with students and community members through exhibition, instruction and outreach events; its unique cataloging and descriptive challenges; and its place in art historical analysis and literary analysis. They will also demonstrate how the artist book creates an opportunity for dialogues about cultural and racial hegemony, gender, activism, and bi- and multilingual narratives. Panel participants include: a university faculty member and art historian whose areas of research includes artists' books from Latin America; an artist and faculty member whose receipt of a grant to work in Mexico generated a collaboration with a local printer using traditional letterpress processes; the director of a university book arts program; and academic librarians for whom artists' books permeate their collection development strategies, instruction, and public programming. This recording is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).