The Contemporary Artist and the Art of the Book
The artist’s book has emerged over the years from the rich tradition of the French ‘livre d’artiste’ and ‘livre de luxe’ towards more sociable interaction with a public audience. From the 1960s to late 1980, artists began to publish their own works of art in affordable book formats using offset-lithography, photocopy or screenprint. It was this trend that resulted in the contemporary artist’s book often being referred to as a ‘democratic multiple’, the idea being that anyone could afford to buy artwork by an artist. More recently artists have been utilising developments in technology, from desktop publishing in the 1990s to publish-on-demand (POD) and electronic books in the 21st century. This lecture will explore some examples of the concepts and formats of national and international contemporary artists’ books and related artworks produced today.
This is part of the 2012 University of Bristol Autumn Art Lecture series – run in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas – which look at the art of the book, from the physical beauty that books can convey in the illuminated manuscript, the natural history publication and the work of William Morris, through the commercial beauty of Penguin covers, to graphic novels and how artists work with books today. For details of all events click here.
Sarah Bodman is Senior Research Fellow for Artists’ Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), where she runs projects investigating and promoting contemporary book arts. She is also Programme Leader for MA Multi-disciplinary Printmaking at the Bower Ashton Campus. Sarah is the editor of the Artist’s Book Yearbook, a biennial reference publication on contemporary book arts, and of The Blue Notebook.
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