Panel: Materialia lumina: The Contemporary Book in its Historical Context: Philosophical Musing of three Master Printers
Sponsored by Lux Mentis, Booksellers
Moderator: Danelle Moon, University of California, Santa Barbara.
This session will explore the book as a work of art, from the perspective of three master printers, Peter Rutledge Koch, Russell Maret, and Gaylord Schanilec. This program idea originated from the California Rare Book School course on the contemporary book in its historical context led by Peter Rutledge Koch in August of 2016.
The idea is to tease out the meaning (intentionality) of similarity and divergence between contemporary hand-made books and selected canonical books spread over the 2000-year tradition of artistic expression (writing, typography, printing, binding, structure, paper making, and image making) in book form.
Drawing from examples of ancient to contemporary books presented in the form of a vertical tasting of the book, we will explore “how to read a book; notes towards an analysis of connoisseurship.” Questions to consider: 1) Book to Book: How do books talk to each other (subject, historical provenance, materials and meaning, techniques of manufacture, commerce, audience and readership, design to design); 2) Between the Maker and the Reader: What is the artist trying to convey (intentions, messages, signals, metadata, colophon, artist statements, publisher’s notices, advertising); 3) Book to Reader: content speaks to reader (visual content—illustration, language and meaning, qualities [materialia lumina], visual content, color, design, illustration, typography, stagecraft and presentation, touch, tactility, mechanics, and smell.
This session discussion will focus on this vertical connoisseurship framework as a teaching tool for librarians and collectors on the history of the book and contemporary book arts.