artist book: a work of art realized in the form of a book.
The definition may sound simple, but the world of artist books can be a bewildering place. From the familiar pairing of images and text, to sculptures created out of paper and complicated bindings that create a performance each time the book is opened, nearly anything can be called an artist book if there is intention and consideration. This series showcases artists from different realms of the art world exploring the structure and meaning of the book.
Over the course of the past few weeks, I have started listening to TEDTalks as I paint. I was quite surprised to discover that Brian Dettmer, a book sculptor, was featured on a talk just last year. A New York based artist represented by P.P.O.W., Dettmer has been dubbed "The Book Surgeon" by the press. Rather than give you a synopsis of his work and his process, I urge you to take six minutes out of your day and listen to Dettmer talk about his work in his own words. After all, the information that we often learn about artwork is filtered through a secondary source via the curator, the gallerist, or the critic; thus, it is a rare opportunity to hear an artist speak directly about his or her own work. Enjoy.
Elizabeth K. Harris is the Director at Louis K. Meisel Gallery. She holds an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and has co-authored two books on art. She likes looking at books more than reading them.