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Photo courtesy of Billboard.
The Holdovers Review
February 20, 2024

Book Art at the Morris Museum

One of the Morris Museum exhibits, “Book Art: A Novel Idea,” centers around the ways books can be used to create art outside of the written word. Featured artists James Allen, Julie Dodd, Karen McDermott, Doug Beube, Janet Guertin, Irmari Nacht, Beatrice Coron, Andrew Hayes, Rocco Scary, Liz Demaree, Lynn Keffer, Eric Schmidt, Brian Dettmer, Guy Laramee, and Suzie Tuchman all use different techniques like cutting sculpting and painting to create something that is truly their own.

What is unique about this exhibit is that it shows the different ways books can be interpreted when it leaves the hands of the author. Authors always have a way that they believe their works will be received and interpreted, but people and artists often run with the ideas presented to them, leaving the original intention in the dust. Brian Dettmer took the book “the Fight to Conquer the Ends of the Earth”, a travel book on exploration, and carved out pages. It now said right in the middle of the artwork “to conquer the ends of the earth, the story of the ends”. Surrounding this and other fragments of text was images from the book, once to illustrate polar exploration, now surreal images of a man trying to do it all. Another artist, Irmari Nacht, has been using books that she believed would otherwise be thrown out for her series “SAVED.” Her work “books110Terezin” is part of that collection, featuring books in shreds, but also curls to highlight the beauty and replaceability of something that would be thrown out.

julia lees article
Courtesy of Julia Lees

All of these intricate pieces of art tell a different story. The artist uses original works to create something new and exciting. Despite their differences, they all show the power of artists to influence other artists. The result is a beautiful look into the way a person sees and interprets art, different from another. 

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