Public Programs

Book Excavation Workshop with James Allen

  • September 16-17, 2017:
  • 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • |
  • Add to calendar 2017-09-16 10:00:00 2017-09-17 16:00:00 America/Los_Angeles Book Excavation Workshop with James Allen Bellevue Arts Museum BAM

Make your own Book Excavation with Cut Up/Cut Out artist James Allen. In this two-day workshop, Allen will demonstrate reductive techniques and processes he uses and guide students through their own book excavation. Ages 14+. Some experience using cutting tools recommended, but not required.

Supply list

Bellevue Arts Museum

Members: $210 | Non-members: $240

About James Allen

A majority of James Allen's artwork is reductive: he takes common-place objects and alters them by removing parts or fragmenting and reconstructing them. Allen refers to this sculptural process as Book Excavations. Each Excavation begins by cutting a rectangular hole in the cover of a book. Then, one page at a time, he cuts his way through the pages. By selectively keeping fragments of images and words he creates a composition using the content of the book as it emerges. He leaves the book bound and doesn't move any of the pages of the book. Instead revealing the contents only by cutting away and removing sections of pages. In this way, chance and random associations are embraced to reinterpret the intended message and purpose of each book. Both narrative and compositional dynamics are considered to create a condensed reinterpretation of the book's content. The original intent of the book is destroyed, but in the process an exquisite Excavation is created. These Excavations turn the linear format of a book into a flat "window" through which to observe many pages at once. Instead of reading from cover to cover and gaining knowledge, the meaning of the book is obscured and becomes a visual meditation on its subject. James Allen earned a BFA from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and was featured in the book, Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed. In 2009 his work was exhibited at the Bellevue Arts Museum in The Book Borrowers: Contemporary Artists Transforming the Book. His Book Excavations are also in special collections libraries at UCLA; Ringling College of Art and Design; John's Hopkins University; University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; and University of Colorado Boulder.

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