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Betsy Stirratt
Grunwald Gallery of Art

Last modified: Monday, October 8, 2012

Grunwald Gallery presents a novel approach to art: sculptural installations of books

Oct. 8, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Many of us might consider the words that fill our bookshelves as art, but what about the books themselves?

Big Red C

Buzz Spector's "Big Red C."

Print-Quality Photo

Internationally known artist and writer Buzz Spector will bring his unique book sculptures to the Grunwald Gallery of Art on Indiana University's Bloomington campus this month, including an installation composed of 2,500 books dubbed "The Library of Babel" and a piece featuring more than 900 dissertations written by IU authors.

The five works created as part of the exhibition will use nearly 10,000 books total, all from IU's libraries. More than 8,850 books were borrowed from the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility to make the exhibition possible, while the dissertations were borrowed from the Herman B Wells and the Fine Arts libraries.

The exhibition will also include Spector's Polaroid works, which often feature books as well.

"These installations invite commentary on the logic and poetry of the arrangement of the books and ask us to consider the function of the book object, while Buzz's oversized Polaroid prints further investigate the themes of meaning and form, authorship and ownership, and the physical experience of reading," Grunwald director Betsy Stirratt said. "The exhibition is meant to spark broader discussion of the relevance and role of books and libraries in the arts and humanities."

"Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf" opens Oct. 19 and will be on view through Nov. 16. Spector will sign his newest book, "Buzzwords: Interviews With Buzz Spector," at the opening reception, 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 19 at the gallery. "Buzzwords" will be offered for sale at the Friends of Art bookshop, adjacent to the Grunwald Gallery.

An accompanying panel discussion titled "Books, Text and Information: The Role of Libraries and the Arts and Humanities" will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Fine Arts Library, with receptions in the Fine Arts Library and Grunwald Gallery to follow. It will focus on such topics as the future of the book, the importance of stacks and browsing, and forms of scholarly production and authorship. Panelists are Ron Day, associate professor of library and information science; Ian Meares, visiting assistant professor of ceramics; and Dawna Schuld, assistant professor in the Department of History of Art. Moderator is Emilee Mathews, interim director of the Fine Arts Library. The Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts and the Department of History of Art are part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Spector is dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. He has received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, three Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowships and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He also edited the critical volume, "The Book Maker's Desire: Writing on the Art of the Book."

The exhibition is sponsored by the College Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University Libraries, the Fine Arts Library and the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility.