Gallery, Aug. 6. The book has played a crucial role as organizing principle in
what we call the civilized world, affecting how we relate to and understand
knowledge about that world and ourselves. Artists who use the book as a
creative medium pose the question: What happens to our thinking, let alone our
reading, by asserting that an object is a "book" because we say it so?
third annual exhibition of art books at Harrison Gallery, curated by the Herron
Art Library, displayed a handsome array of sophisticated and often exquisitely
rendered variations on this cerebral theme. Many of these so-called books, like
Katya Reka's "Man Overboard," a bound flip pad of abstractly painted swatches,
carry no text.Others are really
3-D installations, combining objects and texts (Sarah Strong's "The Existence
of Us") or detailed assemblages (Wendy Fernstrum's "Literary Essences") that
evoke literary figures like Whitman and Dylan, while recalling the boxes of
Joseph Cornell. Gatis Cirulis' "Dumb Book" is just that — a heavy leather
tome, bound with wool — every page apparently blank.
apparently, because perhaps the most telling thing about these works is their
untouchability. They are read from an aesthetic distance and their language is
highly conceptual. This makes them more than a parlor trick, but prone to
preciosity. Through Aug. 27.