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From the Collections: Twentieth-Century Artists' Books

September 11–October 31, 1982

Many 20th-century artists have experimented with the book form, which allows them to express their interest in multiples and reach a wider audience. The results range from works where the text plays a central role to volumes with no text whatsoever, from Xeroxed pamphlets to deluxe, leatherbound portfolios. In conjunction with Bookworks: 1982, the international conference of artists, writers, and publishers being held in Philadelphia in October, the Museum has selected nine artists' books which reveal a range of approaches to the artistic medium. Artists and writers drawn into the radical aesthetic movements of the early 20th century turned to the book as a means of expressing the new ideas both visually and verbally. Fernand Léger's The End of the World, Filmed by the Angel N.-D. of 1919, for example, accompanies a fantastic cinematic text by Blaise Cendrars and was hailed for the artist's experimental use of typography in the lithographs and color stencils which illustrate the novel. Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, of 1934 is a box containing loose facsimiles of manuscript notes and reproduction of drawings and paintings related to the major work of the same name, also known as the Large Glass, owned by this Museum. The notes were done over a period of several years and are meant to be studied at random as a guidebook through the Glass. In Henry Matisse's Jazz, 1947, equal emphasis was given to the color stencil images and to the text, reproduced from the artist's handwritten original. Diter Rot's D. R. Book C. of 1963, on the other hand, consists solely of unbound die-cut sheets of black and white paper which can be shifted and shuffled to produce an infinite number of Op Art patterns. Other artists of the 1960s took advantage of recent technology, producing works such as Eduardo Paolozzi's Moonstrip Empire News of 1967. Enclosed in a hot-pink molded acrylic case which seems to glow like neon, the book intersperses silkscreen prints on acetate and paper allowing multiple images to unfold, working with the notion of sequence inherent in the book form. Bookworks: 1982, organized by the Foundation for Today's Art, will be held at the Moore College of Art October 1 through 3.

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Christine Armstrong

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