As physical books are increasingly supplanted by their digitized counterparts, the trend of sculptors transforming books into art objects has taken off. Whether as an attempt to preserve some element of a dying tradition or repurpose items that many now see as disposable, book art is everywhere. And although many examples of it are twee or fetishistic, every once in a while, a particularly bizarre, original, or aggressive work catches our eye and makes us reconsider books as we know them. We’ve rounded up some remarkable examples after the jump, from The Catcher in the Rye encrusted in crystals to a book armored with sharp nails.
Alexis Arnold, The Catcher in the Rye
Yes, that’s J.D. Salinger’s most famous novel, splayed open and covered in crystals. And it’s not the only book Arnold has transformed into a gem-like object — she’s decorated everything from Crime and Punishment to the San Francisco phone book, as well as several periodicals, in sparkly clusters of Borax. According to her artist statement, the sculptor is fascinated by “visual displays of decay and growth,” and by speeding up these natural cycles in her work, Arnold seeks to explore “the aesthetics of these once-utilitarian objects that are entering the world of obsolescence, as well as acts to suggest past narratives and post-human futures laden with nostalgia, wonder, and the interminable progression of time.” See more of her crystal-covered books at Beautiful/Decay.