The contemporary artist’s book is a cultural phenomenon that has changed the landscape of artistic production. It has now replaced the livre d’artiste - a luxury item combining images with poetry or fiction - with works that are inexpensive, formally innovative, modest in scale, and frequently self-made by artists.
Contemporary artists who explore the book format have challenged the form of the book as an information package, extended the idea of the book as object, and introduced a new medium of artistic expression. The tremendous explosion of titles of artist book works and zines has made the artist’s book-work an accessible and affordable work of art, introducing key contemporary artists to an alternate audience. The resulting dialog between the artist, the page, and the reader is consistently up for grabs, expanded and transformed through unexpected formats and novel, timely, and often controversial content.
Drawing upon SMU Libraries’ collections, publishers, and collectors of artist’s books, this exhibition surveys the recent history of one of the most important cultural trends in contemporary art.