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The Book as Art

October 22, 2009

Now, I’ll admit, I never have had high expectations when it comes to college art museums, but I was completely blown away by the Book as Art exhibit at Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art.

The show exhibits over 80 interpretations of book-making by female artists from around the world. Don’t expect to see dozens of watercolor accordion books. This exhibit really forces the viewer to expand their views on what book is and how we tell stories.

The works mostly fall into two categories. The first reimagines the book as a medium, using its pages as the base for sculpture as seen in this salad book. One of the most memorable pieces was an entire picnic scene created from paper. But one of my favorites was a pie book, where the artist made eight slices of pie from folded paper. When folded and put together it looked like a painting of a cherry pie in its aluminum tin, but once you took out each piece and unfolded it, a pie recipe was revealed.

The rest of the piece explored how we tell our stories. This picture shows a project the artist completed in her travels, when she combined her tea-time with her journal-writing time, writing her entries on the dried tea bags she had used. Another creative piece had six pieces of soap. Once each piece was used up a piece of a story written on linen was unlocked. One of the most moving pieces in the exhibit was a silk children’s nightgown with portraits of family members silkscreened onto the hem and key words of the artist’s family history was scribbled around the rest of the dress.

The Book of Art exhibit runs through May 31st and is free and open to the public.

Originally written March 25, 2009

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