Artists’ books are, like any other medium, a means of conveying art ideas from the artist to the viewer/reader. Unlike most other media they are available to all at a low cost. They do not need a special place to be seen. They are not valuable except for the ideas they contain. They contain the material in a sequence which is determined by the artist. (The reader/viewer can read the material in any other but the artist presents it as s/he thinks it should be). Art shows come and go, but books stay around for years. They are works themselves, not reproductions of works. Books are the best medium for many artists working today. The material seen on the walls of galleries in many cases cannot be easily read/seen on walls but can be more easily read at home under less intimidating conditions. It is the desire of artists that their ideas be understood by as many people as possible. Books make it easier to accomplish this.
Synopsis: Cover by Carl Andre. This special issue of the influential 1970’s artzine was devoted entirely to the subject of artists‘ books, constituting one of the first critical analyses of the medium nearly 10 years after it began. Included are forty-five statements by artists and art professionals connected to artists‘ books (a selection of which are reprinted in the introduction to Printed Matter’s 1997 1998 catalog), including Kathy Acker, John Baldessari, Daniel Buren, Alan Kaprow, Sol LeWitt, Carolee Schneemann, and Lawrence Weiner. Art Rite was critical to the founding and early development of Printed Matter.