Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Arts Tuesday/Abecedarian Gallery

Today's Book Arts Tuesday is the first of periodic postings of galleries which feature book arts. I am particularly interested in galleries that have a strong web presence in addition to a physical space. I applaud all who have a gallery that is open to the public and requires staffing, paying the rent, curating and mounting exhibits, and all the myriad tasks and expenses that go into making a gallery work. And extra kudos to those who make their exhibits available virtually to those who cannot attend like Alicia Bailey of Abecedarian Gallery.

Located at the north end of the 910 Arts Complex (don't I sound like I have been there which alas I have not) in Denver, CO, Abecedarian Gallery "exhibits and represents artists working across a variety of disciplines with particular focus on contemporary book arts, works on paper, collage and assemblage." The current exhibition, curated by Alicia, is Interactive Artifact. In her statement, she addresses the difficulties and joys of allowing viewers to interact with the work, an issue that book artists are most familiar with.

During my tenure as gallery director of Abecedarian my recognition of the immense appeal of sculptural interactivity in visual artworks has grown, alongside my respect for artists able to create such works. Inviting viewer interaction is a risky business, subjecting the work to wear and tear or damage it mightn’t receive if exhibited in a strictly hands-off environment or cloistered behind closed doors.

For this exhibition I am pleased to have assembled a group of artists willing to have their work viewed interactively. As book artists’ are who I most often work with, and as book artists’ are by nature more willing to have their work viewed interactively (a book after all is a form of interactive sculpture) this exhibit includes artists who often, although not exclusively, work under the umbrella of book arts.

As both practitioner and dealer in the field, I have spent much time (too much perhaps) pondering and debating the definition of artists’ books and exploring various answers to the question what is a book. Engaging as these musings and discussions often are, this exhibition has given me the opportunity to indulge my appreciation for well crafted, exciting, dynamic and kinetic works without regard to how they relate to bookness.

Visit Abecedarian to see this exhibit as well as many others. There is an online catalog for every exhibit as well as print and download versions that can be purchased. And check out the exhibition blog for a closer look. If you are a book artist, take a look at the Opportunities for Artists for news of upcoming shows and submission policies.


MyHandboundBooks said...

Great idea to feature galleries like this.

I haven't been to Alicia's gallery (yet, maybe someday) but would love to because of her focus on book arts; I watch her site and all the exhibits seem fabulous!

Sara Bowen said...

I love the Abcedarian Gallery! Last year Alicia included some of my work in a show called "One Unit Per Increment" and she made it very easy for me, despite our geographical separateness. I love being able to see the gallery's shows on-line and to read her interesting and informative articles and opinions on the Book Arts Web: it is a great resource about mainly American artists and book artists for someone outside America. Long may her good work continue... Best wishes, Sara (http://doubleelephant.blogspot.com)

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