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New issue of RU Libraries' Journal looks at artist's books

"It's Our Pleasure to Serve You", 1997
Original artist book by Suellen Glashauser, made from paper cups, thread, colored pencil, cloth, rickrack ribbon, crayon.
Artist book held in Rutgers' Special Collections and University Archives, New Brunswick

The Artists' Books of Suellen Glashausser, a New Jersey-based artist who created installations, wall-works, sculpture and one-of-a-kind artists' books, is the focus of the latest issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries. This special issue includes riffs on Suellen and her work by artists Debra Weier, Karen Guancione, Debra Rapoport, Lore Lindenfeld, Judith Krall-Russo, an interview with Charlie Glashausser by Pam Scheinman, essays by Pam Scheinman and Michael Joseph, and a catalog of the one-of-a-kind artists books in the Rutgers Libraries compiled by Debra Schiff, with links to dozens of Suellen's works.

This issue can be viewed online, here:

With degrees in art from Manhattanville College, the Sorbonne and Berkeley, Suellen began making artists' books in 1981 as part of a second generation of conceptual artists who embraced the subversive anti-art attitudes of the conceptualists but rejected the totalizing belief that art inhered only in the idea.

Suellen's artists' books served to re-valorize the materiality of the art object by exposing the conventionalized book form to a wide range of unlikely materials -- tin, aluminum, copper, glass, wood, plastic, paper shopping bags, paper towels, Belgian liquor labels, cardboard shirt collars, plastic beads, toy Santas. While non-traditional materials have become a commonplace in 21st century artists' books, Suellen's works foreground the originality of their inspiration through constant inventiveness, irreverence and metamorphosis. While using the book form, they are specifically about expanding our ideas about and heightening our experience of Art and its indissoluble connection to daily life.

Exuberant and mysterious, Suellen's one-of-a-kind books gently insist on the sensuality and deep mystery of the book and the ultimate authority of personal taste. They also remind us of how the book rose to become a legitimate medium in 20th century fine art, and that its primary affiliations were not with Renaissance bookmaking crafts, but with humanistic notions that re-emerged during the nineteen sixties and seventies, in pop art, conceptualism, even contemporary children's books and advertising.

Earlier versions of some of the texts in "The Artists' Books of Suellen Glashausser" were first presented at the opening of an exhibition, Suellen Glashausser and Her Circles, at the Rutgers University Libraries in 2007. The exhibition was curated by Pam Scheinman, Karen Guancione and Michael Joseph, who served as the guest editor of this special issue of the Journal.

Posted December 8, 2010