Book Art has come a long way: The July/August edition of the Atlantic dubbed Xu Bing’s “The Book From the Sky” (1987-1991) “one of the most important works of 20th-century Chinese Art." For a better image of his installation, see the online slide show, “Visionaries from the New China,” which ends with another of Bing’s word/book pieces, “The Living Word” (2001). (Thanks to my colleague, Sam Gorovitz, for pointing out this article.)
(October 23) Michael Lieberman on Book Patrol calls attention to an exhibit of many pieces by Chinese artists featuring books at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The catalog of the exhibit, Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, claims that "in Chinese Contemporary Art there are few objects as important as the book."
(2014: See Zak Braiterman's reaction to the Met's display of Bing's installation.)
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)