Established on April 22, 1929 with the support of the "father of Soviet literature," writer Maxim Gorky, Literaturnaia gazeta is a landmark publication in Russia's cultural heritage. With its focus on literary and intellectual life, Literaturnaia gazeta allowed Soviet Russia’s preeminent authors, poets, and cultural figures a particular podium for commentary, affording perhaps fewer restrictions than might be possible in other publications. Literaturnaia gazeta was considered the most open among newspapers of the Soviet era, and it remains popular among the intelligentsia in today’s Russia. Publication of Literaturnaia gazeta was completely suspended in 1942 and 1943, and no issues were produced. In 1944, only 8 issues were published. The lack of database content for this period is not a gap, but reflects the publication schedule during these challenging years.
An artist’s book is a work of art that takes the form of a book. But what does that mean? And what counts as a book, anyway? Is it a bunch of pages that have been bound together, or is there more to it than that?
These are the kinds of questions that artists’ books try to answer. They play with both the form and the function of books as objects, encouraging onlookers to question traditional conceptualizations of “books.” They are usually handmade, often unique, and all different from one another. Because most artist’s books are hand-made and only crafted in small, limited runs, they offer artists a special opportunity to create books that are intensely personal.
All of the books featured in this exhibit are part of Miami University’s Walter Havighurst Special Collections. The materials on display reflect a concentrated effort to build a diverse, provocative collection that will challenge students to reconsider their notion of “books” while also paying tribute to the creativity and innovation of book artists across the globe.
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Making a Book into a Video