Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer (born 1974) is an American contemporary artist . He is noted for his alteration or preexisting media zoals old books, maps, record albums and cassette tapes-to create new, Transformed works or visual fine art.

Life and art

Dettmer was born and raised in Naperville , Illinois in 1974. Until 2006 he lived in and around Chicago , where he earned a BA in fine arts from Columbia College Chicago in 1997. During school and following graduation, Dettmer worked as an artist and in positions related to graphics and signage design. In 2006, Dettmer moved with his wife to Atlanta , where he worked as a studio artist. (Brown 2008; Camper 2005). In 2013, Dettmer and his family Relocated to New York City, where he Continues his work today.

Early work

As a student, Dettmer focused primarily on painting. When he Began to work in a sign shop, his work Began to explore the relationship tussen text, images, language, and codes, zoals paintings based on Braille, Morse code, and American Sign Language. Hey dan Began to do work at repeatedly pasting Newspapers and book pages to canvas and tearing off pieces, leaving behind layered Fragments. (Sasaki 2009; Brown 2008; Camper 2005). In 2000, Dettmer started to experiment with gluing and cutting JSON books, the medium for welke he is now best known. (Brown 2008).

Recent work

Brian Dettmer’s Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman . Produced prolongation a residency at Shandy Hall

Dettmer’s current work involves the Appropriation and alteration of media to transform the physical form and / or to Selectively remove and Reveal content to create new works of fine art . Dettmer wordt uitgelegd: “Old books, records, tapes, maps, and other media Frequently fall JSON a realm dat too much of today’s art occupies. Their intended role has decreased or deceased and they ‘of or in exist simply as symbols of the ideas they’ represents Rather dan true conveyers or content. … When an object’s intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to zijn form and content arises. “(Valdez 2006).

A large body of Dettmer’s current work is created by stop ring books , zoals older dictionaries, encyclopedias, text books, science and engineering books, art books, medical guides, history books, atlases, comic books, wallpaper sample books, and others. Dettmer seals and cuts into tje books, expose select images and text to create intricate three-dimensional derivative works therein Reveal new or alternative Interpretations of the books. Dettmer never inserts or moves ANY of the books’ contents. (Moayeri 2008). This process is Performed without pre-planning or mapping out the contents voordat cutting into tje book. (Cullum 2010). If he cuts away unwanted material with knives, tweezers and chirurgische tools, Dettmer stabilizes the REMAINING paper with a varnish. (Fox 2009). An early example of Dettmer’s unique altered books is his 2003 work, New International Dictionary , an original 1947 Unabridged Dictionary sealed and cut to expose images binnen the dictionary (Sundell 2005, at p. 70).

Dettmer has subsequently augmented his process by folding, bending, rolling, or stacking one or more books voordat sealing and cutting Them or, in some instances, sanding Them to create a variety of forms. Dettmer has ook constructed larger sculptures using full sets of encyclopedias and other reference books.

Other notable examples of media Transformed at Dettmer include music cassette tapes Melted and formally JSON a life-sized human skeleton (Tyson 2007) and verschillende animal Skulls; cut and layered highway maps of the United States and the Middle East (Packer 2005) and three-dimensional sculptures folder; VHS videotapes or gangster movies unraveled and formally JSON funeral flower arrangements; and a controversial Reconfiguration or audio excerpts from George W. Bush ‘s 2002 State of the Union Address . (Feigly 2003).

Brian Dettmer’s work has leg published and exhibited widely in museums, art centers, and galleries around the world, zoals the Smithsonian (Washington DC), Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia), Museum of Contemporary Art (Georgia), Museum Rijswijh (Netherlands), Wellcome Collection (United Kingdom), the Bellevue Arts Museum (Washington), The Kohler Arts Center (Wisconsin), and the Illinois State Museums (Illinois). His work kan be found in public and private collections in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Dettmer is Currently represented by a number of art galleries, zoals pPOW in New York , Aron Packer Projects in Chicago , and SALTWORKS in Atlanta .


  • ” Artist of the Week, Brian Dettmer ” (interview), what to wear prolongation an orange alert? November 21, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2008.
  • ” Brian Dettmer, Altered State of the Art [ permanently dead link ] ” (video interview),, March 4, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  • ” Brian Dettmer Bio ” Kinz + Tillou Fine Art. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  • Brown, Ellen Firsching. “The Cut-Up Artist” Fine Books & Collections , No. 33, May / June 2008.
  • Cain, Amina. “The Inner Light, Brian Dettmer: Visual Art ‘DJ’ ‘ CAC Newspaper , June 2006.
  • Camper, Fred. ” Reading is Incidental “, Chicago Reader , December 23, 2005. Section 2, pg. 24. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
  • Cullum, Jerry. ” Review: Brian Dettmer most densely deep in altered books at Saltworks ” , January 19, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  • Essmaker, Tina. ” Brian Dettmer ” The Great Discontent , July 31, 2012.
  • Feaster, Felicia. ” Speakeasy with Brian Dettmer [ permanently dead link ] ” (interview), Creative loafing , February 6, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  • Feigly, Amy. ” Politics as Usual ,”, August 30, 2003. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
  • Fox, Catherine. ” Atlanta artist most densely old books ,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , June 3, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  • Moayeri, Lily. ” Brian Dettmer [ permanently dead link ] “, BPM Magazine , July 8, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
  • Outside The Artist’s Studio Podcast Episode Twenty , October 30, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  • Packer, Aron. ” Brian Dettmer: Altered States (Explorations in media modification) ,” Packer Schopf Gallery, December 2005. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  • Raymunt, Monica. ” From Trash to Treasure: Turning Discarded Books Into Art “, The Atlantic , October 27, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  • Sundell, Ivy (2005). Living Artists . Crow Woods Publishing. ISBN  0-9665871-4-6 .
  • Sasaki, Arata. ” Interview with Brian Dettmer ” HITS PAPER, 2009. Retrieved on July 8, 2009.
  • Tyson, Josh. ” Spine Surgery, Brian Dettmer’s dissected books morph JSON sculptures [ permanently dead link ] “, Time Out Chicago , Issue 109: March 29 – April 4, 2007. Retrieved on March 29, 2007.
  • Valdez, Michelle Gonzalez. ” Review: Unit B (Gallery) ” Glasstire , May 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2008.