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date: 23 October 2019

Artist’s booklocked

  • Johanna Drucker

Extract

Though much disputed over the decades, the term ‘artist’s book’ has a well-recognized definition that draws on historical traditions of book production and conception now part of the current wide field of practice. Broadly understood, an artist’s book is any work of original art created in the Book format. By this definition, an artist’s book is work that does not exist in any other form, is not a reproduction of pre-existing work, and is created as a book as the first instantiation and expression of a project. Artists’ books range from inexpensive multiples to one-of-a-kind artefacts and make use of every imaginable production and reproduction technology as well as taking a wide variety of forms. Artists’ books need not be made entirely by an artist, do not have to carry the signs of being handmade or unique, and have no particular constraints on the content, themes, or concerns they raise or the contexts in which they circulate. Even with such a broad scope in the definition, the artist’s book is readily identified because it takes the book as its primary mode of expression and is a work that comes into being as a book....

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