The Book As Art - And Vice Versa
There are many wonderful and interesting things to see in the world - if we (I) only get out and see them. One of these things is occuring right now at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library.
Other than that the library is huge and houses a lot of great stuff, including books, it has many different floors of exhibits intermingled with the books.
Right now, on the sixth floor, in the Book Arts & Special Collections Center Skylight Gallery, is an exhibit on Contemporary Artistbooks from Germany. 13+, an independent association of European book artists and artists' book presses, has brought their travelling exhibition to the City by the Bay for the first time.
The books in the exhibition are pretty astounding. They are not just books that hold text and images, they are the art themselves. Some of the books are printed on unexpected materials, like rubber, while others are works of experimental literature, like Gerhild Ebel's display of the interaction between technology and the written word.
Some of the books are bound by a conventional press, while others are completed entirely by the artists' hands themselves, such as from the group à3. Others even make the paper themselves.
There are influences from many art and design movements, such as Dada and Surrealism, which show the group's astounding knowledge and talent. These aren't just books, they're masterpieces.
The exhibtion runs through October 14, so if you have a chance to get there - go. While you're up there on the sixth floor, check out the Rare Book Room and the Robert Grabhorn Collection of the History of Printing and the Development of the Book. You'll be glad you did.