lippard in Adema & Hall 2013

terature that were produced and distributed by the Birmingham Centre for
Contemporary Cultural Studies in the 1960s and 1970s, as discussed by Ted Striphas and
Mark Hayward in their contribution to this issue.


According to the art theorist Lucy Lippard, the main reason the book has proved to be
so attractive as an artistic medium has to do with the fact that artists’ books are
‘considered by many the easiest way out of the art world and into the hearth of a
broader audience.’ 3 Books certainl

It required them to come to terms with the idea that publishing
their own work did not amount to mere vanity self-publishing, in particular. Moore
and Hendricks describe this state of affairs in terms of the power and potential of ‘the


Lucy R. Lippard, ‘The Artist’s Book Goes Public’, in Joan Lyons (ed), Artists’ Books: a
Critical Anthology and Sourcebook, Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop Press,
1993, p45.
Joan Lyons, ‘Introduction’, in Lyons (ed), Artists’ Books, p7.

s book thus conveyed a high degree of artistic autonomy,
while also offering a far greater role to the reader or viewer, who was now able to
interact with the art object directly (eluding the intermediaries of the gallery and
museum system). Indeed, Lippard even went so far as to envision a future where
artists’ books would be readily available as part of mass consumer culture, at
‘supermarkets, drugstores and airports’. 15

4) The Politics of the Democratic Multiple


Hendricks and Moore, ‘The Page as Alternative Space’, pp94-95.
Joan Lyons, ‘Introduction’, in Lyons (ed), Artists’ Books, p7.
Lippard, ‘The Artist’s Book Goes Public’, p48; Lippard, ‘Conspicuous Consumption: New
Artists’ Books’, in Lyons (ed), Artists’ Books, p100. Is there a contradiction here between a
politics of artists’ books that is directed against commercial profit-driven galleries and
institutions, but which nevertheless uses the tools of mass consumer culture to reach a wider
audience (see also the critique Lippard offers in the next section)? And can a similar point be
made with respect to the politics of some open access initiatives and their use of social media
and (commercial, profit-driven) platforms such as Google Books and Amazon?


The idea of the

of the book can change how we
read, was certainly an important topic for artists throughout this period. Many
experiments with artists’ books focused on the interaction between author, reader and

Drucker, The Century of Artists’ Books.
Lucy Lippard and John Chandler, ‘The Dematerialization of Art’, Art International, 12, 2
Langdon, Book.


book, offering an alternative, and not necessarily linear, reading experience. 25 Such
readerly interventions often represented a criti

world, and to
question both the concept of the book and that of art as the singular aesthetic artefact
bolstered by institutional structures, was not particularly long-lasting. With respect to
the democratization of the artist’s book, for example, Lippard notes that, by losing its
distance, there was also a chance of the book losing its critical function. Here, says
Lippard, the ‘danger is that, with an expanding audience and an increased popularity
with collectors, the artist’s book will fall back into its edition de luxe or coffee table
origin … transformed into glossy, pricey products.’ For Lippard there is a discrepancy
between the characteristics of the medium which had the potential to break down
walls, and the actual content and form of most artists’ books which was highly
experimental and avant-garde, and thus inaccessible to readers/con

ental and political potential of artists’
books) and the way our dominant system of scholarly communication currently
operates on the other, often seem to be rather disconnected. Again, a useful
comparison can be made to the situation described by Lippard, where more
(conceptually or materially) experimental artists’ books were seen as being less
accessible to a broader public and, in some cases, as going against the strategy of
democratic multiples, promoting exclusivity instead.

It is certainly t


Display 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 ALL characters around the word.