Sandra Kroupa at Book Artists Jam
Marvin Sackner's Collecting Statement (word doc.)
(Collector, co-founder of the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archives of
Concrete and Visual Poetry), discussed details of his own generous collecting interests.
Since Dr. Sackner is, himself, half the institution for which he collects, there is no
implicit conflict at the root of his collecting, although, as his Power Point presentation
made wonderfully clear, his tastes have changed and grown over the years, and as such provide a
good basis for a historical critique of the origins of the artists' book movement and a study of its infiltration of more
popular cultural genres, such as children's book illustration. In a morning that saw a number of definitions of artists'
books asserted, Dr. Sackner provided his own. "An artists' book has a visually appealing presentation as a result of hands-on
involvement by a visual artist, writer, poet, performer or composer." He also provided an anti-definition of an artists'
book, or a definition of what an artists' book is not. "An artists' book is not a book in which fine typography
is utilized for conventional fiction, non-fiction and poetry, nor is it a book in which imagery and text or poems exist side
by side throughout the book," (which he defined as a livres d'artistes.) Focussing on examples of mass produced artists'
books, since he believed that the focus of the panel would be institutional collecting and he assumed public institutions
did not have much money to spend, Dr. Sackner discussed artists' books of under $35, and gave examples of kinds of mass
produced artists' books. These inlcuded: verbal/visual: concrete poetry, visual poetry, sound poetry, performance art/poetry,
shaped poetry, rebus, conceptual art, pictograph books; unusual shaped books or bindings; diaristic books; experimental
calligraphy; experimental fictiopn; flip books and pop-up books. A slight glitch with the a/v gave Dr. Sackner the opportunity
to take questions, and to give a learned gloss on the origin of the concept of concrete poetry and the first appearance of
the term "concrete poetry."