Bound to Amaze

  • A book that unfolds with pages that looks like leaves of green lettuce.
    Katherine A. Glover, Green Salad, 2001; Vellum, acrylic on Tyvek, semi-precious beads, and ribbon tie, (Salad) 17 1/2 x 14 x 9 1/2 in. (Bowl) 4 1/2 x 8 in. (dia.); National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase: Library and Research Center Acquisition Fund; © Katherine A. Glover
  • The small seed of a tropical fruit sits on top of a square wooden base that reads Libro-Seme. Inside the seed are small book pages, which have musical notes on them.
    Elisabetta Gut, Libro-Seme, 1983; Tropical fruit, and pages of musical notes on Japanese paper, 3 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 3 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the artist; © Elisabetta Gut
  • A beige linen box that looks like a pillow lies open with an illustrated book inside whose pages are also made of beige linen.
    Sandra March, "Es Quan Dorms que hi veig clar..." (It's when I sleep I see all clearly..."); Photolithography and linen, 17 x 18 1/2 x 4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Purchased from the funds donated by NMWA Book Arts Fellows; © Alejandra Colell Pinell (Sandra March); Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career on view July 20–November 25, 2018

This focus exhibition celebrates the vision of Krystyna Wasserman, curator emerita, who assembled NMWA’s collection of more than 1,000 artists’ books over a thirty-year period. Although Wasserman also procured exquisite texts made through the time-honored processes of printing and binding, Bound to Amaze centers on her discovery of books created through inventive techniques such as carving, piercing, pleating, and curling.

A number of featured works are dramatically sculptural in form, made from materials including linen, wood, and semi-precious stone. With subjects ranging from Shakespeare’s Desdemona to the pleasures of eating, the books also reveal Wasserman’s love of drama and whimsy. This presentation offers a glimpse into her curatorial process, focusing on the friendships she has built with artists through the years based on their shared passion for the book art genre.

Recently retired from the museum, Wasserman first served as director of NMWA’s Library and then as a curator of contemporary art. Through her expert work, the museum has become a world-renowned repository for artists’ books. Bound to Amaze includes many visitor favorites along with new acquisitions being exhibited for the first time.


Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and made possible by Mrs. Marjorie B. Rachlin. Additional support is provided by Julie and Jon Garcia.

National Museum of Women in the Arts