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Sixties Artists’ Books

2011 ¦ Historical and archival research [EN]

Sixties Artists’ Books is a short anthology of texts and images about artists’ books, and bookworks in general, produced mostly in the United States during the ’60s. In this decade, in fact, the book form became a primary medium of cultural inquiry and artistic expression, catalysing and reflecting the complex stream of social, cultural and economic tension of the age.

The contents of the anthology are divided into three main chapters. Each chapter outlines a different attitude in dealing and experimenting with the book form, highlighting how in many ways those approaches interlaced with the coeval cultural context.

The Mass Age, Mess Age chapter focuses on the usage of the book as a tool for questioning the rising mass society by appropriating its own production systems, linguistic stereotypes, media paradigms. The Outside the Frame chapter emphasizes how for many, expecially between Conceptual artists, the book form represented a proper exhibition space, alternative to institutional contexts such as art galleries and museum collections. The last chapter, Intermedia, surveys some of the books produced by the Something Else Press, a small New York based publishing established by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins, whose publications blended art, design, music, literature, poetry and technology in a turmoil of experimental bookworking.

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