Graphing Artists Books
The selections within this exhibition come from the more than 250 southern-made books in Vanderbilt's Special Collections, and are the product of a Dean's Fellowship taken on by undergraduate art history major Haley Brown during Fall semester 2015, who encoded a dataset representing these books, their makers, and the networks that bind the book arts community. We extended and repurposed this data, and in that process we found previously unseen connections about the collection itself. Answers to these questions taught us which books in the collection are the oldest, what people are most representative and in what ways, and which themes we tend to collect around most frequently, as well as links between artists, schools, and mentors in the book arts community. Taking the abstract data and recreating it with books allows viewers to see these works and their connections conceptually, which theorist Lucy Lippard said means "the idea is paramount and the material form secondary..."