“A Private Reading: The Book as Image and Object”

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery

This crowded and pleasantly fusty show presented not artists’ books but artworks premised on the idea of the book as a cultural form, a prism refracting conceptual, formal, psychological, and historical meaning. Fifty-five pieces by thirty-five artists were on view; not surprisingly, emphasis fell on assemblage, photography, and works on paper, with modest dimensions and subdued palettes predominating. “The book as image and object” is a loose designation, and certain items seemed to have been chosen more for their maker’s name than for intrinsic wit or wisdom regarding visuality, textuality, or the gentle erotics by which looking shades into reading and vice versa. But, as in any library, the gratuitous shared space with some great stuff. Intricacy and idiosyncrasy were in ample evidence, as was the slightly mad, sweetly obsessive love of swaybacked shelf and toppling pile.

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