Last Thursday’s CBPA event was a classic example of the inclusivity and breadth of the genre of artists’ books. The panel included curators, art historians, interdisciplinary artists, writers, experimental builders, journalists, publishers, and educators… and yet, there were only four panelists!
The session began with a brief introduction by CBPA Curator Jessica Cochran, who introduced Barbara Tannenbaum. Barbara spoke of her experience curating the first iteration of DIY: Photographers and Books, which was the first museum exhibition focusing on print-on-demand photobooks, at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She said the CBPA’s remounting of the show enabled her to expand the selection process, and include a wider array of print-on-demand books.
“I knew I was successful when the guards at the Museum would come to the exhibition (at Cleveland Museum of Art) on their break, to read the books in the show,” said Tannenbaum. Her efforts on the CBPA exhibition built on that success, resulting in a fascinating array of enjoyable and “touchable” book experiences.
Writer and publisher James Hugunin spoke next on his experiences founding and writing the art journals The Dumb Ox and U-TURN, and as former Midwest editor of The New Art Examiner. He talked about the process of taking his earlier artists’ book The Tossed Rope Series and re-imagining it as the print-on-demand piece seen in the exhibition. A number of audience members commented on the whimsical nature of this piece, and how it was reminiscent of their own early childhood memories and influences.
Lewis Koch talked about his photography projects and installations, and how his his most recent publication Twentyone Yellowstone Parking Lots is much more than an homage to Ed Ruscha’s 1963 artists’ book Twentysix Gasoline Stations, rather it is a meditation on humans’ colliding with and compromising of nature.
Tom Burtonwood rounded out the panel discussions by highlighting his work with “The 3D Printer Experience” a hybrid makerspace/retail store he co-founded in Chicago, his experience at the Makerbot MET#3D Hackathon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2012, and his most recent artist-in-residence experience this past October at the Chicago Public Library’s newly inaugurated Innovation Lab.
The reception following the panel discussion took place in the gallery, where visitors were able to enjoy experiencing all the works in Photobook Futures: Print on Demand Perspectives from DIY (Visits Chicago): Photographers and Books, which closes this Saturday, December 7.