Bibliomania examines the myriad ways contemporary artists feature books as the subject of their art. A “book” used to be defined as a number of printed or written pages bound together along one edge, protected by covers. Today, the concept of the book continues to evolve and expand, most notably in the direction of digital media.
Interestingly, many contemporary artists are making art about books—photographing them, arranging them, drawing and painting them, dissecting them and making sculptural facsimiles of them—always finding various ways to address the book as subject matter for their work. Ironically, while the content of books becomes increasingly more accessible with the advent of electronic readers e-books and digitized books, artists seem to be paying more attention to the book as an object.
Featured artists: Richard Baker; Thomas Broadbent; Ryan Brown; Joy Garnett; Nina Katchadourian; Brandon Lattu; Björn Meyer-Ebrecht; Abelardo Morell; Mickey Smith; and Jude Tallichet.
Why, at this moment in time, are some artists focusing their attention on the good-old-fashioned bound volume? Does this stem from a growing anxiety over the possible obsolescence of books? Are books becoming cultural artifacts, and are artists treating them as relics, and perhaps even fetishizing them? Whatever the motivation, many artists are making provocative works that challenge viewers to consider the roles and meaning of the book in the digital age.