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'Unhinged: Book Art on the Cutting Edge' opens at the Whatcom Museum
Doug Beube, Border Crossing: In the War Room, 2006. Altered atlas, collage, thread, zipper; 48 x 48 x 5 in. Courtesy of the artist.

BELLINGHAM, WA.- Unhinged: Book Art on the Cutting Edge surveys recent directions in book art through 70 diverse works by prominent artists from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and across the United States. Opening at the Whatcom Museum on September 27, 2015 and showing through January 3, 2016, the exhibition explores the limitless potential of the book as an independent medium, including both intimately-scaled pieces and large installations.

Unhinged highlights myriad styles and processes. Many artists carve old volumes or twist their pages into unique, sculptural configurations. Others make their own books and experiment with different formats: accordion, pop-up, tunnel, and more. Some artists reconfigure ancient book forms, such as the scroll or codex, to create unique artworks. Books are often combined with other materials — both manufactured and natural, such as plastic and crystals—to astonishing effect.

The exhibition presents artists' lyrical odes to beauty as well as messages about identity, human justice issues, and environmental concerns. From political statements to metaphysical ideas, book artists interpret their medium through expressive and sometimes humorous constructions.

Curator of art Barbara Matilsky notes, "As many people are not familiar with books used in art, Unhinged will open viewers' eyes to the beauty, complexity, and cultural significance of the book. With digital media quickly surpassing books as a means of communication, the idea that artists can infuse new life into this traditional object underscores the continued importance of the tome in daily life."

Unhinged features 60 artists, including Jody Alexander, Islam Aly, Doug Beube, Long-Bin Chen, Julie Chen, Casey Curran, Andrea Deszö, Brian Dettmer, Timothy Ely, Deborah Greenwood, Ann Hamilton, Sun Young Kang, Lisa Kokin, Guy Laramée, Richard Minsky, Buzz Spector, Elsi Vasdall Ellis, Ellen Ziegler, and more. The exhibition also feature a hands-on display of work created by Hedi Kyle, one of the pioneers of book art, showcasing a variety of styles and formats. Visitors will be able to handle these volumes, which will convey the intimacy and kinetic component of many works exhibited in the show.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

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