Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Jennifer Johung

Committee Members

Max Yela


Artist books, Bioart, contemporary, New Materialism


Body Bound is an exhibition catalog that corresponds to an exhibition of objects on display in the Emile Mathis Gallery that opened on February 23, 2023. The Exhibition traces the historically grounded and long-standing tradition of using bodily material as the basis for bookmaking. This practice has not subsided entirely in its traditional form but has also branched off and informed contemporary book-making practices. Contemporary books, specifically artist books, are a part of a longer history of using and presenting bodies with books. This exhibition includes historical books and contemporary artist books from the UWM special collections as well as the John Michael Kohler Art Foundation. The exhibition is grounded in the larger theoretical study of Bioart, Vital Matter, bookbinding, and artist book making practices.By tracing the use of bodies as a material for bookmaking historically and asking the viewers to engage with the books as intrinsically related to multiple forms of the body, the exhibition illustrates the relationship between our own our own human bodies, other human and non-human bodies, and the objects around us. It also reevaluates notions of Bioart as a strictly contemporary practice. The relationship between our own bodies and the bodily material of the book becomes more ambiguous, as especially highlighted by contemporary books that use human bodily material. When does a body cease to be a body and what objects do we consider living and why