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Walker Art Center show is one for the books

You spend a good amount of time teaching your children that books must never be mistreated — no page-ripping, no scribbling, don’t leave them on the floor, and please, never use them as coffee coasters.
And then you go to the Walker Art Center’s “T

You spend a good amount of time teaching your children that books must never be mistreated — no page-ripping, no scribbling, don’t leave them on the floor, and please, never use them as coffee coasters.

And then you go to the Walker Art Center’s “Text/Messages: Books by Artists” show, and what do you see? Mutilated, brutalized, abused books. Books that have been cut apart, glued together, painted and charred. Also, new books, beautifully handmade and remade, art about books, and art inspired by books. The exhibit is very cool, so all is forgiven. Heck, if penny-a-book used sales on Amazon are killing the new book industry, as the New York Times suggested last week, maybe more books should be repurposed as art supplies.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Minnesota Center for Books Arts is sponsoring two free bookmaking workshops at the Walker from 6-9 p.m., Jan. 22 and 29. “Many artists consider bookmaking to be an integral part of their practice — not a side activity, but one on par with painting, sculpture, video-making, printmaking, etc.,” says Walker curator Siri Engberg.

Certainly it seems easier to make a book than to write one. Text/Messages: Books by Artists.Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Through April 19.