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15 FEBRUARY 2015

Smithsonian Libraries Artists' Books Collection Online

"Artists' books are works of art, like paintings or sculptures, but in book form. While book illustration has a much longer history, the book as art object is a product of the 20th century. Some of the early examples were created by Futurists and Dadaists in their politically–motivated pamphlets and magazines, by Fluxus artists in their happenings, and by conceptual artists' in their work to dematerialize the art object. Artists' books can also be unique creations undertaken with extreme care and attention to detail. Some are experimental and done by artists better known as painters or sculptors, as a way to extend their artistic practice. Many artists use the book format to create narratives to deal with difficult issues, with ideas that cannot be conveyed as clearly on a canvas or other medium. Some artist–made books illustrate the words of others, integrating art and literature. And some artists' books do not have words at all. As a work created by an artist, the nature, appearance and purpose, of an artist's book can be fundamentally different from what one might find on the shelves of the library.

Artists' books exist at the intersections of printmaking, photography, poetry, experimental narrative, visual arts, graphic design, and publishing. They have made a place for themselves in the collections of museums, libraries, and private collectors. They have caught the interest of art historians and critics writing about art, and there are numerous studio programs in art schools dedicated to the art of the book, ushering in new generations of artists making books."

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20th century • art and literature • art object • artist-made books • artists books • artists making books • Barbara Krugerbook formbook formatbook publishing • cataloguer • cataloguing challenge • Claire Van Vliet • Cooper Hewitt Library • cross-institution collaboration • culture onlineDada • defy easy classification • Dibner Library • diorama • Ed Ruscha • experimental books • FluxusFuturism (art movement) • Georges Adeagbo • graphic designhappenings • Hirshhorn Museum • Ida Applebroog • illustrating the words of others • Joe Freedman • Julie Chen • Kara Walker • Laura Davidson • library catalogue • Luan Nel • museum collectionsnational cultural heritage online • National Museum of African Art • National Portrait Gallery Library • online resource • pamphlets • paper engineering • photographypoetry • politically motivated • pop-up booksprintmaking • Smithsonian American Art Museum • Smithsonian Design Library • Smithsonian LibrariesSol LeWitt • the art of the book • Thomas Parker Williams • unusual physical features • Virginia Flynn • visual arts • Warren M Robbins Library • William Kentridgeworks of artYoko Ono

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2013

Reanimating cultural heritage: digital repatriation, knowledge networks and civil society strengthening in post-conflict Sierra Leone

"The Reanimating Cultural Heritage project reintroduced these objects to both Sierra Leoneans and a wider audience, thereby creating a platform for future recovery of the Sierra Leone cultural heritage sector. The project, led by Dr Paul Basu, created an innovative digital heritage resource to provide digital access to the Sierra Leonean collections of the project's partner institutions (the British Museum, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow Museums, World Museum Liverpool, the British Library Sound Archive, and the Sierra Leone National Museum). The resulting www.sierraleoneheritage.org resource provides high quality images and enhanced information for over 3,500 Sierra Leonean objects from these museum collections.

Taking seemingly 'lifeless' museum objects, gathering dust in little–visited stores or displays, the project 'reanimated' them digitally by showing them alongside contextualising video, images, sounds and other media, 'reanimating' a traditional mask, for example, through video footage of a masquerade dance performance. The majority of the videos were made by Sierra Leoneans themselves, following participatory videomaking workshops. This ensured that a wide range of Sierra Leonean voices could be heard, from school children to weavers to religious leaders. Through integrating social networking technologies into the resource, visitors are able to comment and engage in dialogue about the objects and associated cultural practices."

(Arts & Humanities Research Council, 04/09/2012)

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2012AHRCArts and Humanities Research Council • Brighton Museum and Art Gallery • British Library Sound Archive • British Museum • comment and engage • cultural heritagecultural practicesdance performance • dialogue about objects • digital access • digital heritage • digital heritage resource • engage in dialogue • Glasgow Museums • mask • masquerade • museum collectionsmuseum objects • participatory videomaking workshops • Paul Basu • re-animating • reanimating • Reanimating Cultural Heritage • research project • Sierra Leone • Sierra Leone National Museum • social networking technologies • World Museum Liverpoo

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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