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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List

Artists' Books: Strategies for Collecting

Johanna Drucker


Preliminary Advices

  1. Primary References and Sourcebooks: these four are all useful enough to buy and keep as references.
  2. (NB: the use of the apostrophe is an issue of contestation, thus the variants seen here, all "sic".)

    Stefan Klima, The Century of Artists' Books (NY: Granary Books, 1995); written with the intention of providing a set of critical frameworks for understanding the way artists have explored the book as a form, cultural artifact, and producer of meaning, this work contains discussions of many individual works considered canonical, or at least definitively representative, by the author.

    Riva Castleman, Russian Avant-Garde Books 1917-34 (Cambridge: MIT, 1993). The importance of the Russian avant-garde books as an early c20 exploration of the medium makes Compton's works particularly important as a foundation.

    Susan Compton, Speaking of Book Art (Los Altos Hills, California: Anderson-Lovelace, 1999). This British critic and scholar's interviews with numerous individuals in the field of artists' books.

    Brad Freeman, Offset, exhibition catalogue (NY: 1992).

    Renée and Judd Hubert, Surrealism and the Book (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988); focused on the work of surrealist artists, the analysis is more literary than book-oriented and tends towards analysis of imagery and juxtaposition rather than form.

    Julie Melby, editor, Books as Art exhibition catalogue, (Boca Raton: Museum of Art, 1991), Wilson, as founder of the Franklin Furnace archive, provides a first-hand account of the years of book art from 1960 up through the early 1990s.