Putting It All Together
How does one read a book made of concrete? The Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell said he encased a copy of Betonierungen, a looseleaf portfolio of his planned works in concrete, inside each of the 100 copies of Betonbuch. But how do we confirm the presence of this publication? A collaboration among curators, conservators, and materials scientists at the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute investigated this challenge by turning to the scientific community to conduct instrumental analysis of Vostell’s work to offer an alternative approach to reading the material object. The results were inconclusive, but work continues to try to understand how the Betonierungen and its idea might be enhanced, contradicted, or transformed by the Betonbuch that contains it.