The book-as-art exhibition Tangibles: Beauty and Purpose in the Art of the Book was on display from September through November of 2013 at the NAU Art Museum. This exhibition was created in the belief that the physical artifact of a book can offer sensory experiences and imaginative encounters that the realm of digital facsimiles and “virtual” art cannot. Tangibles opened with a reception on September 19, 2013.
The exhibition included works that go beyond self-expression to engage with political and cultural issues in the contemporary world. The visual arts remain a compelling arena in which to effect criticism, reflection and change in a time of war, economic inequality and environmental destruction, to name only a few of the themes represented in the show. Pieces chosen for the exhibition employed traditional media of paint, ink, paper, woodcuts, and engravings, but we are equally interested in works that fall outside expected definitions of what a book might look like or how one might experience a book – creatively defined – as an aesthetic object.