Artists’ Books: Collection Development & Assessment

Current faculty: Brad Freeman

Description: The field of artists’ books includes work that spans the full spectrum of cultural objects, handmade originals, calligraphic and typographic experimentation, conceptual productions, and works produced in the traditions of fine printing and independent publishing. This course provides critical and historical perspectives from which to conceive of a collecting rationale for both individuals and institutions. This course is aimed at individuals and institutions interested in creating a collection of artists’ books. To this end, the course begins with discussions of the definition of artists’ books, critical approaches to the field, and principles of assessment and understanding based on conceptual, as well as production, values. The course continues with an historical discussion of the evolution of artists’ books in the c20, an examination of significant people and presses in the field, and finally a discussion of reference resources. Though the course attempts to be as inclusive as possible, it is focused on helping design a collection strategy, rather than on an exhaustive look at every individual or institution contributing to this burgeoning field. The course focuses on those works that are artist initiated and produced, rather than on works in the fine printing tradition, livres d’artistes, or publisher-driven works, but it does acknowledge the importance of these areas as part of the expanded field of artists’ books.

Requirements: In their personal statement, applicants should describe the purposes to which they plan to put the knowledge gained from this class.

Year taught: 2019 by Brad Freeman

Years taught: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 by Johanna Drucker