Sorted Books

Nina Katchadourian. Chronicle, $22.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4521-1329-6
When conceptual artist Katchadourian began stacking books to create playful expressions with their titles in the early 1990s, print had few challengers. Two decades later, with tablets and e-readers prevalent, the artist’s “delicate conceptual game with the horizontal and the vertical,” as Brian Dillon describes in his introduction, feels particularly relevant. The New York–based artist has assembled and photographed her stacks, or “clusters,” at private homes and museums, and even at playwright August Strindberg’s library in Stockholm. They recall everything from graffiti lifted from public bathroom stalls (“Repeat After Me/ Are You Confused?/ Are You Confused?”), to pure Imagist poems (“Sketches From a Hunter’s Album/ Rivers and Mountains/ Antlers in the Treetops/ Running Dog/ Some Trees/ Vanishing Animals”). When they are most effective, the book spines form lucid images that involve the viewer in a pithy narrative, such as the mock-noir cluster: “Trouble is My Business/ Money Under the Table/ Blood on the Dining-Room Floor/ Downcast Eyes/ Guilty.” With some exceptions, Katchadourian’s stacks possess an understated sophistication; they are true to the intimate nature of books and yet reveal their dramatic features and unexpected potential. And they suggest that print is becoming, as she believes, “more beautiful, more tactile, and more materially compelling.” Color photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-4521-2686-9
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