So, as I already posted, artists’ books are “books” in the sense that they convey a message to a viewer/reader, but the form used is up to the individual artist.
The various components of “He Likes You” by Indigo Som.
Some of the most delicate books we have in our collection are “Nocturne” by Laura Russell, “He Likes You” by Indigo Som, and “Necessary Disclosures” by Sarah Peters. Russell’s seemingly simple neon cityscape can be extended into an accordion-like shape so you can view each element of the book individually, then put it back in place and admire how carefully placed and designed each cutout is. The “cootie catchers” that comprise Som’s “He Likes You” are reminiscent of middle school recess activities, but the messages inside the folds and flaps hint that this book is intended for mature readers. “Necessary Disclosure” uses the Russian doll formula but applied to pink felt balls that fit into each other with lines of text decorating the insides. These three books are quite delicate so be sure to ask a Special Collections librarian to show you how to properly handle them.
One of the most unique artist book I’ve come across is Alyce Santoro’s “The universal raisin cake theory: a cosmic mix!” It is literally a cake mix box with Santoro’s text and images wrapping around the box, kind of like a cereal box with puzzles and games on it. Another interesting use of form is Rita MacDonald’s “Fam-I-ly: A book”, which is a small wooden box with a little door that opens up the text. It reminded me of an old-fashioned game or domino holder, and the handcrafted designs and text on the folded sections of paper are representative of what you would find in almost any house.
The last book I want to highlight is Lori and Wendy Spencer’s “Shared Memories” which is about the two sister’s different points of view on the same events from their childhoods and later in life. The form is more traditional book-style, but the content and page assemblage keep the sisters’ voices and individual memories separate yet complimentary.
We have dozens of other artists’ books in Special Collections, feel free to drop by Carrier 205 and look at/photograph (no flash please!) them during the school year or in the next few weeks if you’re back in the Burg!