“Hand Buzz Spector a book, and there’s a good chance he will destroy it.” So goes the introduction to Buzz Spector on his Faculty Highlights page at Cornell University where Spector is Professor and Department Chair in the College of Fine Arts and Sciences. Though his artworks vary, many are made up of altered books, including Lannan’s Portrait of Dorian Gray, 1989, a very carefully ripped up edition of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, originally published in 1890.
Using books to make art comes naturally to Spector, who in addition to being an artist, is a writer, editor, and book designer. In fact, text flows freely through his drawings, collages, postcard pieces and installations. “So how might things proceed from here, how to stall a sentence so that it lingers over a nothing-in-particular in order to make the duration of its reading stand in for a silence of some sort” reads Spector’s drawing Sentence, 2003.
Buzz Spector was born in Chicago in 1948. His work has been exhibited widely at museums and galleries including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; and the Mattress Factory, Pittsburg, PA. Spector’s writing on contemporary art and culture has appeared in a number of publications including Artforum, Art Issues, and American Craft.