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Bridwell|Art Library

Artists' Books Exhibit: Introduction

Exhibit created by Gail Gilbert, 2014.

Bryan book

Barrett book

Kalmback and Kellner book

Sligh book

Artists’ books are works of art in book form produced in limited editions. Although infrequently included in texts dealing with the history of art, artists’ books have been part of every art movement. They allow artists to disseminate their ideas outside of the constraints of the gallery system. By the early 1970s, artists’ books were recognized as a distinct discipline. Organizations supporting the study and teaching of artists’ books were founded. Universities established book arts degree programs, and new journals were launched to provide a forum for critical engagement with the genre. Librarians began to collect artists’ books and exhibits appeared with increasing frequency.

The artists’ books collection at the University of Louisville Bridwell Art Library is a teaching collection, meant to be inspiring and instructive to our users. Thus, the collecting emphasis is on variety, as the following list indicates:

  • Artists and books in the collection: 263 books by 190 artists
  • Shapes and structures: accordion books, tunnel books, slat books, flag books, flip books, pop-up books, fan-, trapezium-, oval- and triangle-shaped books
  • Techniques: Xerox, letterpress, collage, silkscreen, engraving, lithography and woodcut
  • Materials: marbled, handmade and embossed papers, gold leaf, corrugated cardboard, lead, Tyvek, goatskin, Plexiglas, hemp, silk, glass, lace, polyester film, leather and wood
  • Bindings: Coptic, piano hinge, medieval long stitch, running stitch, stab, concertina, spiral and blizzard

Lovett book

Kunc and Pinsky book

Hanni book

Gardner book

Johnston book