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Artist's Book

Kara Walker
Freedom, A Fable: A Curious Interpretation of the Wit of a Negress in Troubled Times , 1997
Ink on paper, laser-cut black card stock, leather binding
21.1 x 24.1 cm (8.3 x 9.5 in.)
© Ellie Bronson
National Museum of the Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.

Books can serve as an alternative medium for artists to express themselves creatively, often taking the form of artist's books, which blur the lines between art and literature. Notable artists such as Sol Lewitt and Lawrence Weiner viewed their books as "alternative spaces" for displaying their art, akin to alternative exhibition spaces. These books may feature original artwork, poetry, or prose and are often produced in limited editions, making them unique and collectible objects. Artists may also publish books to showcase collaborative projects with other artists, writers, or other creative individuals. These books can combine visual art with written text, photography, or other elements, serving as a testament to the creative synergy between the collaborators.

Artist's books can range from sculptural pop-up books to artworks presented in more traditional book formats. Some are designed to be interactive, allowing the reader to engage with the content in unique ways. For example, Yoko Ono's book titled Infinite Universe at Dawn (2014) contains postcards, trace pages, and a removable jigsaw piece tipped into the book. If all the people who bought the book gathered and put their pieces together in one place, it would form a complete picture of the sky, allowing each reader to participate in a project with the artist.

Despite the rise of digital media, artist's books have continued to grow in popularity in recent years on account of their value as rare collectibles. Amidst the advent of technology and online consumerism, these tangible works are bound to charm more generations to come.

Related categories

Photography

Collaboration

Art and Technology

Word as Image

Originality

Freedom of Expression

(Inspired by) Literature/Lecture

Participatory Art

Blurring Boundaries

Digital Technology

Digital Print

Picture Books

Human and Technology

Editions