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The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game [Hardcover]

Julia Rothman , Jenny Volvovski , Dave Eggers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 36.95
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Book Description

Aug. 18 2010
In The Exquisite Book , one hundred indie artists play an ingenious version of the Exquisite Corpse drawing game. Each adorns a page with artworkhaving seen only the page of the artist immediately prior and using a single horizon line to connect the two. Some continue the "story" quite literally while others build on the previous page in more fanciful ways. This astonishing volume's format is as unique as its content, with each of the book's ten chapters residing on a ten-page accordion pull-out, allowing readers to view the art continuously. With an illustrated foreword by Dave Eggers, and art from such luminaries as James Jean and Jill Bliss, this charming book is, simply, exquisite.

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Product Description

About the Author

Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski, and Matt Lamothe are partners in Also Design. Julia is author of the popular blog Book-By-Its-Cover.com.

Dave Eggers is a writer and editor.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and imaginative Nov. 15 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The exquisite book is an exquisite idea that was adapted from the surrealist technique of 'the exquisite corpse'.

Wikipedia defines it as: Exquisite corpse (also known as exquisite cadaver or rotating corpse) is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun") or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed."

This book is a very enjoyable extension of the idea using contributions from 100 artists, each using the horizon line from the previous composition in the string. They were only allowed to see the composition of the preceding piece and no others so each artist makes his own contribution and the results are very interesting. This approach makes for a delightful art book that will continue to offer a new experience every time it is picked up. I'll be returning to it again very soon.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and compelling Oct. 3 2010
By kybrdplyr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I tried to read this book from cover to cover, visually, and it was just not enough. I now display one fold out page per week or as long as is necessary to really see at what I am looking. This book fits the criteria for the kind of art I hang on my walls: it must be endlessly visually compelling and it must grab my heart. Add to that the intellectual curiosity of each artist's piece and this book becomes a mini-museum of delight. Congratulations on the concept and thank you.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Love This Oct. 17 2010
By Imagine This - Published on Amazon.com
This book is so creative and smart. The illustrations are beautiful and will pull you in to discover what the connections are from one to the other. When I looked at it with a friend, I discovered that we each saw different connecting entry points and that made it ever more captivating. Dave Eggers introduction is so true, that however complicated, all our stories are in some way connected. This was a huge undertaking...a hundred contemporary artists participating by responding to a previous artist is done to perfection. The fold=out design was a perfect format. You will look at this over and over and then match the interview as to why the artists responded the way they did. Art teachers will especially want to try this with students and use the book as an example. The variety of ideas and the playfulness are refreshing and gorgeous.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very cool. You will not be disappointed! March 10 2011
By Doug Bowker - Published on Amazon.com
This book is not just thought provoking, it's also really fun! It is obvious most of the artists put a lot of time and creativity into their page, and I like the "chapter" themes the editors came up with. Over time I'm sure I will be looking up my favorites to see what kind of other work the various artists have done. The production quality is very good, especially for such a reasonable price, with good binding, folding and clear print quality throughout.

Granted, this book is not perfect, in that the editors definitely should have sent a few pictures back with a "read the rules and try again" note because some artists acted as if they just couldn't be bothered with actually lining up their painting with the page before. Seriously, that's the point of the whole book! Luckily, on balance most DID try to work with the previous images, and in many cases the connections made between multiple images is truly fantastic. Also luckily, even the paintings that are "on their own" are usually good works too. Still, it can be annoying to see a great series of pictures kind of come to a dead end when the next artist maybe uses one tiny line to "connect" and ignores all the interesting possibilities the previous image had!

I'd love to see this project done again in the future with other artists and designers; you really could never run out of things you could do with this concept!
32 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by a book by its cover. Oct. 4 2010
By Amy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book here after reading about it on the book-by-its-cover blog, which I really enjoy. I loved the concept, and I still think it's a great idea. But if I'd taken the time to find it in a bookstore and looked at it "in person" first, I wouldn't have purchased it.

There are a few good visual connections from one page to the next (half of which are shown as the examples on the blog), but much more of it is a disjointed grouping of random illustrations, strung together, but hanging by a thread. Which doesn't make it a terrible book, but it doesn't live up to the expectation created. There's a section in the book where the artists answer different questions about their submissions. Many of them should've been asked why they agreed to be part of a collaboration if they had no intention of cooperating with its one basic premise.

If you're someone like me who does enjoy disjointed groupings of random illustrations, I recommend skipping this one and putting your money toward a Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, or one of the other juried annuals that present a better selection of contemporary illustration. A few of these might turn up there.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to fully embrace a chaotic result, but interesting all the same March 1 2012
By Kilgore Gagarin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First, the price of this book makes it easy for me to recommend, albeit slightly, that you purchase this if interested. Despite what I see as its flaws, I found it a a good deal as I am a collector of artists books, particularly "fan-fold" or "leporello" works like this. As a physical artifact, the book itself is well constructed and well executed. I see the major artistic problem as one of "too many cooks" as in "too many cooks spoil the broth."

It's a good work to stimulate discussion and ideas which I think is sort of the point of the eponymous game of "exquisite corpse" on which this book is based. I would love to see a similar work executed by fewer artists, perhaps one, in order to see if a clearer vision can emerge. In the end, I liked this book, but just couldn't fully embrace the end result which I found to lean towards incoherence and chaos.
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