Krokodil was a satirical magazine published in the Soviet Union. Founded in 1922, it was first published as a supplement for Rabochaia gazeta. In 2001-2004 the title Krokodil was changed to Novyi Krokodil, but in 2005 the old title was back. Published continuously until 2008, Krokodil was at one time the most popular newspaper for humorous stories and satire, with a circulation reaching 6.5 million copies. Krokodil lampooned religion, alcoholism, foreign political figures and events. It ridiculed bureaucracy and excessive centralized control. The caricatures found in Krokodil can be studied as a gauge of the 'correct party line' of the time. During the height of the Cold War, cartoons criticizing Uncle Sam, Pentagon, Western colonialism and German militarism were common in the pages of Krokodil.
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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