The Book Borrowers: Contemporary Artists Transforming the Book

February 24 - June 14, 2009

A book can be many things: an object, a source of knowledge, a cultural artifact or an idea. From each volume, layers of meaning and subtext can be mined, not only from the words and images inside, but from the subtle design elements, the materiality of its pages and spine, and its symbolic value as a recorder of human evolution. For 550 years, the printed page has been our primary means of communication, though it is steadily being overtaken in the digital age.

The Book Borrowers highlights 31 works from locally, nationally and internationally renowned contemporary artists transforming books into sculptural works. Pieces in the exhibition explore the book's inherent qualities and reflect upon this unique juncture in time. Manhattan White Pages turned into the head of Buddha, laser engraved volumes poignantly dissected, stacks of encyclopedias sandblasted into monumental landscapes – the works in this exhibition reveal new and unexpected layers of meaning that go beyond the book as a source of information and offer a fresh look at its place in an increasingly digitally oriented world. The Book Borrowers is both a nostalgic homage to the book and a reflection on our current progression beyond it.

Artists include: James Allen (WA), Noriko Ambe (NY), Gary Berg (WA), Long-Bin Chen (NY), Casey Curran (WA), Brian Dettmer (GA), Alan Corkery Hahn (WA), Jenn Khoshbin (TX), Jane Lackey (WA), Guy Laramée (Canada), Jacqueline Rush Lee (HI), Georgia Russell (UK) and Yuken Teruya (NY).

Brian Dettmer, Random House

Brian Dettmer, Random House

Noriko Ambe, A Thousand of Self

Noriko Ambe
A Thousand of Self
Cuts on a book, "1000 on 42nd Street" by Neil Selkirk
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Pierogi

Organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Nora Atkinson. Local viewing made possible in part by the City of Bellevue, Washington State Arts Commission and Marquand Books.