What is a Contemporary Book?
For his first solo museum exhibition, Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound, Samuel Levi Jones transforms the Studio Museum's Project Space with a site-specific installation made of dismantled law books. When deconstructed into their basic components—covers and spines—the reference books’ implicit authority symbolically disintegrates. Stitched together in wall-to-wall grids, the fragmented books hang like paintings, emphasizing form and materiality. Once the books are stripped of their identity, their function and value are obscured, even negated. By manipulating law books, Jones engages with recent criticism of the American justice system.
If Jones’s project is of interest to you, check out these five contemporary artists who also work with books! Whether they doodle over the text or chop through the cover, these artists abstract the book’s traditional cultural role and physical form, as Jones does in Unbound.