Contemporary Artists’ Books: A Concise Introduction

Tony White

A live-only, 40-minute Zoom webinar followed by up to 30 minutes of Q&A scheduled for Wednesday, 21 October, 2020, 5–6:10 p.m. ET.

Due to Zoom’s restrictions, this event is limited to the first 300 people who register.

For this talk, Tony White will share a general introduction to the recent history of contemporary artists’ books, primarily focusing on developments in the United States. While the focus of the talk will be on publications produced after 1973, any talk on this topic cannot ignore the great influence of books published prior to this date. He will touch upon the economics and distribution challenges, among other influences on the genre, and will also take the time to discuss a number of titles in greater detail. This topic will be of interest to anyone curious about contemporary artists’ books, and to those who would like to learn more about this genre of contemporary art and publishing.

At Rare Book School, Tony White teaches H-155 “The History of Artists’ Books since 1950.” Participants who are interested in learning more in advance of the talk are encouraged to consult Tony’s reading list for this course.

Everyone is welcome to attend. To ensure the security of the event, advance registration is required; to register, click here. Registration closes at 8 a.m. ET the day of the event.

Your registration will be automatically accepted. You will receive an email reminder the day before the event. The day of the event, we will send you the Zoom URL and password. Please direct any questions to RBS Programs at

Please note that this talk will not be recorded for later viewing.

Follow the conversation on social media using hashtags #RBSOnline and #RBSArtistsBooks.

The first iteration of this virtual talk ran 24 June 2020.


Images used with permission from the following sources (left to right): 

Steele, Kevin. The Deep, 2012 [nautical compass].

Marsh, Cynthia. The Sporting Life, 1975 [address book, playing cards, matchbook].

Youdelman, Rachel. Water and Power, 1977; The Pursuit of Pleasure and Novelty, 1977; At the Theatre, 1976.

Voss, Jan. Detour, 1989 [fore-edge illustration].