The ICP/Bard MFA artists have increasingly been embracing the hand-made book as a format, and even toppling it over in favor of making what I call “not-books:” small, interactive items that may be multiples, but are decidedly vessels for the artist’s thinking and desire to control their distribution.
They find in it a great way to “workshop” projects, share them with peers, and present them at venues like the Printed Matter New York Art Book Fair [they have been the only MFAs to have their own table there for the past 2 years] and Camera Club of New York Zine Fair.
Brian Paumier’s work is in the shape of a book, but seems too tactile and intimate to be a book. It has absolutely no text, and is more a devotional sculpture.
Libby Pratt also plays with form, returning to the scroll, or is it a ribbon?
Among the not-books received, Nandita Raman played with the conceptual nature of the Library of Congress classification system by creating a game of chance that generates random encounters with the library, changing with every book added to a shelf.
Rony Maltz’s call number zines also refer back to the library, and ask the reader to assemble in their preferred order.
Nica Ross’s work is three memory sticks titled Mine, Not and Yours…a video of her is “Mine,” and found video that seems to echo it is “Not,” and “Yours” is blank, so that the library patron can add their own, and participate in the work.
Daniel Temkin’s work is a floppy disk, and the work that results from slipping it into a Commodore 64.
There is something authentic, democratic and playful in all of this craft that represents a real trend at ICP thoroughly consistent with its curatorial and pedagogical emphasis on how images communicate, from its roots in LIFE magazine to the production of so many objects of this kind.
It is a practice we celebrate here with a small selection of items, some of which were made for classes, and others that the library acquired at the New York Art Book Fair.
Please come in and take a look at the books in the window and throughout the library.
David Lundbye’s books are hanging in the exhibition [from the ceiling on strings!], just to the East of the library entrance.