Dimentions: 9.5 x 11.5 inches (red books); 5 x 8 inches (green)
Materials: Duo-toned book cloth, archival paper, ink
BookDrop is our attmept to increase interest and knowledge about making visual art today. We didn't want to have to ask anyone permission to do it. We just wanted to give people more understanding of visual art. We looked at the skills we have collectively, Steuart's and Terry's, and decided to make some books because we have experience with visuals and with text.
We knew we wanted to uses some actual artwork in the book, but we wanted this to be a project we could afford on our own. Drawings are a cheap way to make original works especially if they aren't framed, and being part of a book can make a drawing last a long while, especially if the paper is good and the ink is on only one side.
We also think that the more people know about something, the more interested they are in the thing. We have a lot of experience seeing, thinking about, and communicating about contemporary visual art, so this experience prompted us to record a conversation about these specific drawings, and that text went into the book, too. Biography shouldn't play into what someone thinks about an artwork, but we figured people are curious about this, and added some journal-type sections of the book. It makes it more personal.
And then we figured out where we should leave these books in order to be found by someone who was already interested in art and books. Art museum bookstores was the right answer.
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If you find a book like one pictured here, it is NOT part of the bookstore's inventory. It may become your property just by taking it.
We made six books of these books and left them, one each in five art museum bookstores in Britain and France during a month-long trip in 2017. One stayed home.
Each one was hand-made from tearing the paper for the pages, to drawing on them, book cover making, binding and text writing. The main content of each book is a set of Steuart's drawings made on archival drawing paper. After he drew each group, we talked about the images, the progression or changes between groups in this drawing project and the process of making art, in general. Terry transcriped the conversations and used her best penmanship to write the text in another section of the book. While traveling, we filled in each book with a chatty travelogue / journal, some travel drawings and a bit of a review of art seen just before we dropped off the book in an art museum bookstore.
In all, each book contains five signatures: the drawings, the commentary, the journal, the art review and an introduction. This intro was printed by AlphaGraphics, a commercial laser printer, on cover stock. We used an American paper - Bee - for most of the text pages In hindsight, the last section, our response to the art and scenery that we experienced just before leaving the book, is the most varied and in some cases didn't go as expected.
In Dublin, we didn't pre-buy tickets to see what was apparently a highly-desired Vermeer exhibition. The permanent collection was new to us, and hopefully we wrote some interesting comments about it in the book that was left in their bookstore. The last photos on this webpage show Terry writing in the Irish National Gallery, and finally, holding up some Mona Lisa socks in the bookshop. Book 1 had just been left in the far corner of the shop, in the stacks that appear over Terry's right shoulder.
Normally, we write about contemporary exhibitions — how old art impacts people today, or about work being made contemporaneously, and you can find examples of these at Unsafeart, an online magazine. It's an on-going project to start conversations about contemporary visual art. Feel free to join the conversations at www.Unsafeart.com
If you find yourself in one of these museum bookshops, you can spot our books by their bright magenta/violet book cloth. On the spine, you'll see a drawing in white ink of a stick, and might notice a little loop of red and white butchers string above the spine that gives you a way to tip it out of the shelves.
If you find this book in a museum, please feel free to make it your own.
Steuart Bremner & Terry Talty