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Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists

Marcia Reed and Glenn Phillips

This stunning volume illuminates the current moment of artists’ engagement with books, revealing them as an essential medium in contemporary art. Ever innovative and predictably diverse in their physical formats, artists’ books occupy a creative space between the familiar four-cornered object and challenging works of art that effectively question every preconception of what a book can be. Many artists specialize in producing self-contained art projects in the form of books, like Ken Campbell and Susan King, or they establish small presses, like Simon Cutts and Erica Van Horn’s Coracle Press or Harry and Sandra Reese’s Turkey Press. Countless others who are primarily known as sculptors, painters, or performance artists carry on a parallel practice in artists’ books, including Anselm Kiefer, Annette Messager, Ed Ruscha, and Richard Tuttle. Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artistsincludes over one hundred important examples selected from the Getty Research Institute’s Special Collections of more than six thousand editions and unique artists’ books. 

This volume also presents precursors to the artist’s book, such as Joris Hoefnagel’s sixteenth-century calligraphy masterpiece; single-sheet episodes from Albrecht Dürer’s Life of Mary, designed to be either broadsides or a book; early illustrated scientific works; and avant-garde publications. Twentieth-century works reveal the impact of artists’ books on Pop Art, Fluxus, Conceptualism, feminist art, and postmodernism. The selection of books by an international range of artists who have chosen to work with texts and images on paper provokes new inquiry into the nature of art and books in contemporary culture. 

This volume accompanied an exhibition on view at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center June 26 to October 28, 2018.

Marcia Reed is the former chief curator and associate director for special collections and exhibitions at the Getty Research Institute, where Glenn Phillips is curator and head of modern and contemporary collections. 

2019 Honorable Mention for Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Catalogue Awards

Winner, Excellence in the 2019 University and College Design Association (UCDA) Design Competition

“The selection of books by an international range of artists who have chosen to work with texts and images on paper provokes new inquiry into the long-term fertile relationship of art and books in contemporary culture.”
Fine Books and Collections

“Ideal for art history, the history of the book post–World War II, and interactive art buffs, with a wealth of creative inspiration for artists and students as well.”
Library Journal

“This new account [. . .] offers an excellent overview of a strange and stimulating medium.”
Times Higher Education

“Fans of books-as-art will be enthralled . . . This is a thought-provoking, imaginative and thrilling art book.”
Shelf Awareness

220 pages
10 x 10 inches
184 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-573-0

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute