Artists’ Books

Large-scale pop-up book with a dark haired woman behind a huge display of food. She wears a green dress and purple flowers in her hair and turns to look over her left shoulder. The food explodes forward with bowls of soup, skewered meat, banana leaves, pig tail, and more.
The Library and Research Center (LRC) holds more than 800 unique and limited-edition books by women artists in a variety of mediums, complementing an additional 200 held in the museum’s fine arts collection.

An artist’s book is a work of art in book form. Objects in this medium can be entirely handmade or mass-produced and vary in the degree of focus on content, form, and materials. Many artists encourage readers to rethink the nature of the book and reading in new and unexpected ways. Contemporary artists’ books range from fine craft letterpress works to one-of-a-kind or limited-edition art objects presented in a wide variety of materials and book formats. Artists incorporate typography, papermaking, paper engineering, bookmaking, design, fine art, graphics, creative writing, and digital media into their book works.

Meret Oppenheim, Caroline, 1985; Artist’s book with letterpress, colored etchings, and embossing, 5 1/2 x 11 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; © ProLitteris Zurich, courtesy of Lisa Wenger and Martin A. Bühler, Meret Oppenheim Estate; Photo by Lee Stalsworth