Artists' Books Collection
- 1976 - 2014
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
2.5 Linear Feet (three document cases and two flat boxes)
While artists have been adding illustrations and other graphic elements to books since the age of medieval manuscripts and the earliest printed books, artists’ books emerged in the twentieth century, with early examples made by the Futurists and Dadaists in the early decades.
Artists’ books come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are rare and handmade; some are printed in limited editions and numbered; and some are published for the general market. The form makes use of texts, photographs, drawings, paintings, collages, even paper sculptures in the pop-up books.
Some practitioners and patrons make the case that artists’ books are a democratic medium for artistic expression and distribution. Books are easily made and passed around. They are simple and do not have to circulate through the usual institutional channels. Printed Matter, Inc. is a store in New York City that specializes in artists’ books and offers materials at affordable prices. It also allows artists an easy way to submit and get their works published.
But artists’ books can also be rare and precious. Museums collect them and present them in glass cases, which is necessary for preservation but also, some contend, a contradiction of their identities as books which are meant to be held and perused. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City had an exhibit in 1995 entitled "A Century of Artists Books" and included artists’ books by Chagall, Matisse, and Picasso.
Artists’ books are hybrid materials. They occupy the intersection between art and literature, between object and book. They tell stories. They make political statements and social commentaries. They ask questions. And sometimes, like one book in this collection, they can create a rainbow in your hand.
Museum of Modern Art. A century of artists’ books. Retrieved from https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/439?
Printed Matter, Inc. What is an artists’ book? Retrieved from https://www.printedmatter.org/about/artist-book
Smithsonian Libraries. Smithsonian libraries artists’ books. Retrieved from https://library.si.edu/collection/artists-books
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Artists' Books Collection
- Patricia Reguyal
- February 2020
- Description rules
Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Department of Special Collections and Archives Repository
Queens College Libraries, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us