DETROIT — I’m an inveterate lover of books, so you never have to bother arguing with me about the continued relevance of print as a medium. Books are not just the sum of their words and ideas, but lovely standalone objects — a concept aptly demonstrated by two book-based shows going on in the Detroit Metro area.
At Holding House is TURNOVER A SPREAD — a survey of artist books and limited edition texts by local Detroit publishers and print artists, including Toby Millman, Lynne Avadenka, Laura Beyer, and Ryan Standfest. At the Cranbrook Museum of Art is Read Image/See Text, which borrows its title from an iconic poster titled “See/Read,” a treatise on communications design, by former artist-in-residence and co-head of the Design Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Katherine McCoy. This hands-on investigation of books as art objects mixes the work of hometown heroes like Susan Goethel-Campbell, Megan Heeres, and Corrie Baldauf (whose Infinite Jest Project continues to proliferate, digitally and physically) with some well-known artist books, including examples by Ed Ruscha and Kara Walker. The Cranbrook show additionally features a graphic design section and a reading room with selections curated in collaboration with Maia Asshaq, co-founder of Detroit’s boutique bookstore du jour, Ditto Ditto, co-organizer of the wildly popular annual Detroit Art Book Fair, and local expert on limited-run publishing.