Spreading the Word exhibition celebrates book arts

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February 10, 2010

The Visual Arts Series at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University presents Spreading the Word, a book arts exhibition. The exhibit opens Feb. 25 and will be on display through Apr. 14 in the Gorecki Gallery in the Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict.

Spreading the Word invites the viewer to engage with a wide range of book arts at CSB and SJU. Explore hybrid forms such as digitally scanned printed works and eBooks presented alongside traditional book arts including book-binding, broadsides, papermaking, calligraphy, illumination and typography, along with surprising and innovative artists' books.

Artists' books and book objects are so varied in form that their definition is a subject of great controversy. They are generally conceived and produced by artists in limited editions or one-of-a-kind objects, yet can include installations and even performance art. Additional forms include graphic novels, zines and altered books - all of which play an important role in popular culture.

This exhibit is drawn from the recently established collection of artists' books at CSB (the Clemens Library, the Literary Arts Institute and Welle Books Arts Studio); from SJU's extensive collections at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, including Arca Artium's rare books and The Saint John's Bible; and from the CSB and SJU art department, faculty, staff and student book artists.

An opening reception will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. Guest artist Buzz Spector will present a gallery talk at 7 p.m. Spector is an artist and critical writer whose artwork has been shown in such museums and galleries as the Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pa. Spector's work makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and object, and is concerned with relationships between public history, individual memory, and perception.

He has issued a number of artists' books and editions since the mid-1970s, including, most recently, Time Square, a limited edition letterpress book hand altered by the artist and published in 2007 by Pyracantha Press and ABBA at Arizona State University, Tempe.