11 Facts About Artists' books


Artists' books are works of art that utilize the form of the book.

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Artists' books have employed a wide range of forms, including the traditional Codex form as well as less common forms like scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas or loose items contained in a box.

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Artists' books are books or book-like objects over the final appearance of which an artist has had a high degree of control; where the book is intended as a work of art in itself.

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Artists' books can be made from a variety of materials, including found objects.

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Whilst some of the Artists' books created by this group would be relatively straightforward typeset editions of poetry, many others played with form, structure, materials and content that still seems contemporary.

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Max Ernst's Une Semaine de Bonte, collaging found images from Victorian Artists' books, is a famous example, as is Marcel Duchamp's cover for Le Surrealisme' featuring a tactile three-dimensional pink breast made of rubber.

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Two other examples of poet-artists whose work provided models for artists' books include Marcel Broodthaers and Ian Hamilton Finlay.

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Artists' books began to proliferate in the sixties and seventies in the prevailing climate of social and political activism.

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Artists' books became a popular form for feminist artists beginning in the 1970s.

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Bookstores specializing in artists' books were founded, usually by artists, including Ecart in 1968, Other Books and So in 1975, Art Metropole in 1974 and Printed Matter in New York .

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Many of the Artists' books exhibited in Art ex Libris at Artspace Gallery and Art ex Machina at 1708 Gallery are now in the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami, Florida.

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