The Book as Art Form Focus of Lawrence University Visiting Artist Series Presentation

APPLETON, WIS. – The evolution of the book as an artistic invention alive with ideas and possibilities will be the focus of a Lawrence University Visiting Artist Series address.

Siri Engberg, curator of visual arts at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, presents “Text/Messages: Books by Artists” Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. A reception with Engberg will be held following the address. Both events are free and open to the public.

A 1989 Lawrence graduate, Engberg will trace the changes in the ways books have been used by artists over the course of the last 100 years. While artists once used the book form to create often lavish publications filled with illustrations, according to Engberg, artists in the late 1950s and early 1960s saw the book as a more democratic way to present visual information.

Some artists began exploring the book as an art form that reflected contemporary movements such as pop art, minimalism, conceptual art and feminism. The result was the “artist’s book.”

Today’s artists are defying traditional book parameters, incorporating new modes of commercial printing, handmade papers and unconventional methods of binding to vastly change the book’s potential. They are creating books that have no text or even pages, books that unfold to great lengths, books that become sculpture and books that contain objects, instructions or games.

Engberg, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and English from Lawrence, organized the current exhibition “Text/Messages: Books by Artists” at the Walker Art Center, which features artist books from the Walker’s extensive library and collection.