This guide will help you navigate our Book Arts Collection and provides tools to assist you in your research on artists’ books, including links to educational resources for those interested in learning how to make artists' books.
Book art, also referred to as artists’ books, often defies precise definition. The short answer: artists’ books are works of art that use the book as a medium to convey meaning or reference the book form in their artistic delivery. They have also been referred to as bookworks, artists’ bookworks, book objects, and artists books (no apostrophe). Book art often encompasses many of the following methods and materials:
One perspective on the history and development of artists’ books can be found in Johanna Drucker’s “The Artist’s Book as Idea and Form” from the first chapter of The Century of Artists’ Books.
University of Richmond’s Book Arts Collection is housed in the Galvin Rare Book Room within Boatwright Memorial Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections. The Book Arts Collection is a teaching collection, which means the collection contains a broad range of subject areas and book forms to support undergraduate instruction across disciplines. The collection includes artists’ books representing a wide range of binding styles and printing techniques, in addition to sculptural books, artist multiples, serials, and experimental book formats. Some examples of pieces in the collection include hand letterpress-printed editions, hand bound books, digital and offset produced books, silkscreened editions, a music box, a vinyl record, dimensional structures such as tunnel books, and several examples of visual poetry and erasure poetry.
Because our Book Arts Collection is a teaching collection, the library welcomes class visits and individual appointments to engage in hands-on research utilizing our artists’ books, in addition to gaining creative inspiration for their own class or personal projects. We also offer book arts workshops and project-based instruction for students, faculty, and community partners in our Book Arts Studio located on the fourth floor of Boatwright Memorial Library. To schedule a visit to the Book Arts Collection or inquire about instruction in the Book Arts Studio, email firstname.lastname@example.org.