bookworks in Adema & Hall 2013

although the latter has its limits: ‘The convention of the book is both
its constrained meanings (as literacy, the law, text and so forth) and the space of new

James Langdon (ed), Book, Birmingham, Eastside Projects, 2010.
Ulises Carrión, ‘Bookworks Revisited’, in James Langdon (ed), Book, Birmingham,
Eastside Projects, 2010.
Drucker, The Century of Artists’ Books, pp3-4.
Ibid., p360.
Tom Sowden and Sarah Bodman, A Manifesto for the Book, Impact Press, 2010, p9.


work (the b

ons often represented a critical engagement with ideas of the author
as original creative genius derived from the cultural tradition of European
Romanticism. Joan Lyons describes this potential of the artist’s book very clearly:
‘The best of the bookworks are multinotational. Within them, words, images, colors,
marks, and silences become plastic organisms that play across the pages in variable
linear sequence. Their importance lies in the formulation of a new perceptual
literature whose content alters

aders/consumers outside of
the art world. 28


Interestingly, Carrión was one of the sharpest critics of the idea that artists’ books
should be somehow able to subvert the gallery system. In his ‘Bookworks Revisited’,
he showed how the hope surrounding this supposedly revolutionary potential of the
book as a medium was based on a gross misunderstanding of the mechanisms
underlying the art world. In particular, Carrión attacked the idea that the arti

’ books were developed in
cooperation with museums or galleries, where they were perceived not as subversive
artefacts but rather as low-cost tools for gathering additional publicity for those
institutions and their activities. 32

Carrión, ‘Bookworks Revisited’; Johanna Drucker, ‘Artists’ Books and the Cultural Status
of the Book’, Journal of Communication, 44 (1994).
Stewart Cauley, ‘Bookworks for the ’90s’, Afterimage, 25, 6, May/June (1998).
Stefan Klima, Artists Books: A Critical Survey of the Literature, Granary Books, New
York, 1998, pp54-60.
Drucker, The Century of Artists’ Books, p78.


Following Abigail Solomon-Gode


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