Ulises Carrión (1980) captures the essence of this form when he describes them as “an expressive unity […] where the message is the sum of all materials and formal elements” (p. 25). This definition draws attention to the fact that an artist book is not just a container for words or images on the page but an art object in its own right.
The Fine Arts Library has been collecting artist books for over 40 years, with the first work acquired being Alison Cavell’s 1967 book, The Hill. Since then, the collection has grown to over 450 works showcasing a range of approaches and interpretations of the artist book – from textual and pictorial, through to sculptural.
Most works represented in the collection have been produced by Elam students and staff. There are however, books by other local, national, and international book artists such as Michael Reed, Judith Mohns, Allan Kaprow, and Sol Le Witt.
You can find artist books in the Catalogue (search for “artists book” and limit results to Fine Arts Library). They may be viewed in the Fine Arts Library Special Collections.
William Hamill, Lending and Collections Librarian, Fine Arts Library
Carrión, U. (1980). Second thoughts. Amsterdam: Void Distributors.