In 2020, the only US-based publication dedicated to the review of artists’ books published its last issue, leaving in its wake a void for critical discourse and exposure for contemporary practitioners. As the Journal of Artists’ Books became defunct, Corina Reynolds—Executive Director of Center for Book Arts in since 2018—collaborated with Printed Matter to plan a two-day symposium on the future of book art criticism to be held in conjunction with the first-ever PM Virtual Art Book Fair in 2021. The event will gather an international group of critics to discuss the current state of criticism within artist books, including factors that impede more expansive discourse, and identify what resources are necessary to ensure financial and job security for arts writers. The conversations at this event will be archived, made available online, and used to inform CBA’s Book Art Criticism Initiative. This multi-year project plans to develop a free educational seminar on book art criticism for emerging arts writers and, in Fall 2021, launch a new critical publication for book art, Book Arts Review (BAR), with fair remuneration for contributors and an accompanying prize for new book arts criticism. It is the goal of BAR to reflect the vast diversity of creators within the book arts community, and a long-term platform dedicated to conversations about both the history and contemporary moment in book art.
“The Foundation’s commitment to supporting artists by funding the institutions that incubate, encourage, exhibit and critically engage their work is unwavering. Non-profit arts organizations face profound challenges due to the political, economic, social and cultural upheavals of our current moment. At the same time, and more than ever, artists need the supportive community and creative encouragement that these organizations provide.”
Joel Wachs, President