The "Writing about Artists’ Books, and
~ Hey! Wow! Check this out! ~
Actual Artists’ Books!!" Issue
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JAB43 contains a combination of writing about artists’ books and actual artists’ books. This issue includes two artists’ publications made especially for this issue: Isabel Baraona’s untitled (or not) Song of Myself and With God on Our Side by Judy Barass.
Isabel Baraona spent two weeks here at the Center for Book and Paper on a residency in early 2017 with the express purpose of working on a book for insertion into JAB. Her idea was to have excerpts of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself printed on small sheets that would be inserted between the bigger pages of (enlarged) letterpress cuts that she had chosen from our vast collection. The cuts have an American tenor, and Baraona’s interleaving of Song and the enlarged cuts offers her impression of American culture. (There may be a similarity between this method of re-purposing and the Gysin/Burroughs’ cut-up process. See page three in the print issue.)
When Isabel first arrived for her residency and showed her dummy for the book project with the interleaving of Song and the rest of the book, I was surprised and delighted at the unplanned confluence of our thoughts. In JAB44 (fall, 2018) one of the inserted artist books will be JAB HATCH — a collaboration between JAB and Hatch Show Print in Nashville. The interleaving binding for JAB HATCH is very similar to Isabel’s Song of Myself, as you will eventually see (hint hint... be sure your subscription is up-to-date!). JAB HATCH was supposed to be part of JAB43, but the binding was too time-consuming for it to be included. This kind of binding, in which separate aspects of the same project are presented in this interleaving manner, has been done before, of course. But it was still great to have it happen in two JAB projects that would be published in the same year.
Judy Barass is an Australian artist with a wry sense of humor that carries a serious message in her artwork and zines. The message in With God on Our Side is particularly important during this time of global divisions that often center on religion.
Marianne Dages’s essay “The Artist’s Book as Third Mind” examines the cut-up technique used by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. Dages demonstrates how the artists thoughtfully combined random and planned methods to create new texts and a new way of making art that we take for granted nowadays. Though their ways of working has similarities to Dada, Gysin and Burroughs foresaw aspects of postmodern appropriation even if the purposes may differ.
“The Knowing of Artists’ Books” by Monica Carroll and Adam Dickerson explores the episteme as a way of describing the artist book and they urge the development of a mode of description for artist books. As they wrote in their essay, “We do, …, urge that the development of …a mode of description [for artists’ books to be] …an exciting and valuable project, for it has great potential for enriching our ways of talking about and conceptualising artists’ books.”
Melanie Emerson’s essay about the work of Bea Nettles from the 1970s is an important addition to the history of artist’s books. As a woman exploring the link between the personal and art with photographs and text Nettles was a pioneer at a time when this was not as prevalent as it is now.
Willa Goettling and Rebecca Hill, both graduate students in the MFA Book and Paper program at Columbia College Chicago, have written book reviews by artists Mary Clare Butler and Isabel Baraona. Hill also wrote a review of The Blind Man 100th Anniversary Facsimile Edition published by Ugly Duckling Press.
Karen Wirth of the Minneapolis College of Art & Design has joined the JAB Advisory Board, and she expertly edited Marianne Dages’s essay “The Artist’s Books as Third Mind.”
►JAB43 was designed and offset printed on the Heidelberg GTO52 (ein farben) at the Center for Book, Paper and Print, Columbia College Chicago by Brad Freeman. The body text is set in Harriet, and the headlines are set in Cholla. The paper is Mohawk Superfine Ultrawhite Smoooove 28 lb. writing for the text, and 80 lb. for the cover.
Continuing on as our fearless and somewhat enigmatic webmaster is Kathi Beste, backup doo-wops courtesy of the Book Artists’ Sunshine Band.
Founder and Editor
► JAB (The Journal of Artists’ Books) is indexed in The H.W. Wilson Company, Art Abstracts, CSA’s ARTbibliographies Modern, and in Bibliography of the History of Art.