Artists' Books

Coombs, Ann. Trash. [Portland, Oregon]:
[Fuzzy Raptor Book Arts], 2014.
CMU Artists Books Collection N7433.4 .C645 T73 2014


Artists' Books at Carnegie Mellon

Web Links



Artists' Books at Carnegie Mellon

The Arts Library and Special Collections department in Hunt Library collects, exhibits and teaches about artists' books as a component to the curriculums of The College of Fine Arts, the BXA Intercollege Programs, as well as for others on campus, locally, regionally and nationally who are drawn to the diversity of ideas, themes and formats characterized by the collection. Through three decades of development, the artists’ books collection now contains over 800 works- the largest of its kind in Pittsburgh- and has evolved into a viable tool for teaching and research across discplines.

Artists' books are sensorial works which transcend the notion of the book as an ordinary medium. The nature of the genre is to inspire a continual process of re-envisioning the sum of our minds, senses, emotions and spirits by encouraging a heightened awareness of how the physical and conceptual relate and the endless possibilities that result from that experience. As such, artists’ books are manifest in every imaginable (and unimaginable) form and delve into all aspects of life and the human condition.
The Carnegie Mellon collection includes works from the exquisitely crafted original to the cheap copy: book sculptures, flip-books, sound works, "virtual installations", matchbooks, books you can't "open", revealing diaries, activist manuals, interactive postcards, and poetic metamorphoses, to name a few. Most of the works date from 1980 to the present, with some prime examples from the 1960s and 1970s.

We collect artists' books from many sources, including individual international artists and established artist book distributors and publishers as well as works by students, faculty and alumni of Carnegie Mellon.

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How to Find Artists' Books in the Library Catalog

You can get a fairly comprehensive list of artists books in the collection by typing the phrase "artists books" (in quotations) in the Advanced Search. (Make sure All Fields is chosen in the drop down box)

HOWEVER....Some artists' books are not described as such in Cameo, so you may want to search the library catalog with keywords like book design; bookbinding; diary or diaries; mail art; copy art; illustrated books; narrative art; notebook or notebooks; postcard or postcards; sketchbook or sketchbooks; toy and movable books; book jackets. Or you can search by publishers of artists' books such as Art Metropole; Lapp Princess Press; Printed Matter; Visual Studies Workshop; Women's Studio Workshop...

More wide-ranging searches might include the following keywords or phrases: book illustration; conceptual art; computer art; fluxus; performance art; artistic photography; politics and art....


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Locations in Hunt Library

Most artists' books are non-circulating and located in the Fine and Rare Book room (SPEC location) on the 4th floor of Hunt Library.
To see the artists' books you can request an appointment.

There are some artists books and books about artists books in the open stacks of the 4th floor of Hunt Library at various locations and call numbers.

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Reference Resources in Hunt Library

Texts on How to Construct Artists' Books

Smith, Keith A. Non-Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue. New York: Sigma Foundation, 1991.
FA-REF-4 Z271 .S66 1990

Smith, Keith A. and Jordon, Fred. Sewn and Pasted Cloth or Leather Bookbinding for Book Artists Requiring No Special Tools or Equipment Rochester, N.Y.: Keith Smith Books, 1998.
SPEC-ABS-4 and STACKS-4 Z266 .S59 1998

Smith, Keith A. Structure of the Visual Book. Rochester, N.Y.: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1984; 1994.
SPEC-ABS-4 655.53 S65s
FA-REF-4 Z116 .A3 S58 1994

Smith, Keith, A. Text in the Book Format. New York: Sigma Foundation, 1989.
SPEC-ABS-4 741.6 S65t

Webberly, Marilyn and Forsyth, JoAn. Books, Boxes and Wraps: Binding & Building Step-by-Step. Kirkland, WA: Bifocal Publishing, 1995.
FA-REF-4 Z271 .W37 1995

Surveys and Catalogs

Tourtillott, Suzanne J. E., Sr. Editor. 500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form.
New York :Lark Books, 2008.
FA-REF-4 Z246 .A14 2008

Barton, Carol June and Barrow, Henry. Books & Bookends: Sculptural Approaches, 1989-1991. Bethesda, MD: Popular Kinetics Press, 1990.
SPEC-ABM-4 741.64 B724

Books as art: Boca Raton Museum of Art. Rev. 2nd edition. Boca Raton: The Museum, 1992.
FA-REF-4 N7433.35 .U6 B66 1992

Bury, Stephen. Artists' Books: The Book as a Work of Art, 1963-1995. Aldershot, Hants, England Brookfield, Vt., USA, 1995.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .B87 1995

Crane, Michael ; Stoflet, Mary, editors. Correspondence Art: Source Book for the Network of International Postal Art Activity. San Francisco: Contemporary Arts Press, 1984.
FA-REF-4 N6494 .M35 C67 1984

Cross <+> Currents: Bookworks from the Edge of the Pacific. Pasadena, CA: Umbrella Associates, 1991.
SPEC-ABQ-4 704.655 C951

Drucker, Johanna. The Century of Artists' Books. New York: Granary Books, 1995.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .D78 1995

Guest, Tim and Celant, Germano. Books by Artists. Toronto: Art Metropole, 1981.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .G8 1981

Hendricks, John. Fluxus Codex. Detroit, MI: Gilbert and Lisa Silverman Fluxus Collection in association with H.N. Abrams, NY. 1988.
FA-REF-4 N6494 .F55 H4 1988

Klima, Stefan. Artists Books: A Critical Survey of the Literature. New York: Granary Books, 1998.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .K59 1998

Lauf, Cornelia and Phillpot, Clive. Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists' Books. New York: Distributed Art Publishers: American Federation of Arts, 1998.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .L37 1998

Livres d'Artistes: Livres-Objets = Artists' Books: Book-Objects. NRA Shakespeare Paris: CERPM, 1985.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .L57 1985

Lyons, Joan ed. Artists' Books: A Critical Anthology and Source Book. Rochester, N.Y.: The Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1985.
FA-REF-4 N7433.3 .A75 1985

Printed Matter [distribution catalogs]. Printed Matter Inc., 1981-1986.
SPEC-ABQ-4 N7433.3 .P753

Stewart, Garrett. Bookwork: Medium to Object to Concept to Art. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.
HUNT OVRSZQ N7433.3 .S74 2011.

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How to Find Periodical Articles on Artists' Books


Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artists

Online quarterly of news, articles, reviews and links about artists’ books, art books and other multiple editions, including audio and video tapes.
1978-2005 free to the web.
2006-present: automatic availablility to CMU users logging in via campus or remotely via Web VPN

Journal of Artists' Books (JAB) Table of Contents
Print Issues are in the Carnegie Mellon collection. The website provides tables of contents for current and back issues, some events news and related artists books links.

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Web Links

Many of the links below contain images of artists books.
Also keep in mind that artist book organizations and centers can have multiple functions as publishers, exhibition and education programmers, centers for artist residencies and workshops, as well as holders of collections and archives.

Small Presses in Pittsburgh

  • Small Press Pittsburgh
    Gateway to small press activity in the city of Pittsburgh.

    [a journal and press]

  • Encyclopedia Destructica
    Art zine collaborative founded by Chris Kardambikis and Jasdeep Khaira with an emphasis on the creative process through community dialog.

  • Open Thread
    Organization supporting the arts and literary scene; founded in 2009 by Adam Atkinson and Scott Anderson with the launching of the first Small Press Festival.

  • The New Yinzer
    ..."literary organization dedicated to enriching the literary landscape of Western Pennsylvania and beyond by exposing its residents to new and experimental forms of writing." Established 2002.

Meta Sites and Guides

see also: Directory of Artists Books Collections


Book Arts Centers and Organizations

see also: Directory of Artists Books Collections


  • The Artist Book Foundation
    Non-profit organization recognizing "the critical importance of fine art book publishing." It "creates, shares, and preserves artist books that offer the richest visual presentations and most informed narratives of artists' lives and work." Focus is on modern and contemporary artists working in North America for catalogues raisonnes, surveys and criticism.

  • 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland Oregon

    Representing local and national artists working in contemporary book and paper arts since 2007.

  • Art Metropole (Ontario, Canada)
    Not-for-profit organization orginially founded in 1974 by the artists' group General Idea. Sells, produces and exhibits artists books, multiples, video, audio, and electronic media.

  • AGYU Multiples Multiples Archive and ABOTM (Artist's Book of the Moment) and Artist's Book Prize
    Art Gallery of York University, Canada

  • Boekie Wookie (Amsterdam)
    An artist-run bookstore and gallery. Web site contains annotated lists of new and in-stock artists books, audio visuals, prints and multiples. A few images of exhibitions and in the so-called "diary" section.

  • Booklyn Artists Alliance (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
    An artist-run, non-profit organization, and project of the New York Foundation for the Arts. Mission: "to promote artist books as an art form and an educational resource, to provide the general public and educational institutions with services and programming involving contemporary artist books, and to assist artists in exhibiting, distributing and publishing artist books."

  • Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild
    A well-developed site including an online gallery, publications, and essays on the book arts.

  • The Center for Book Arts (New York, N.Y.)
    "...dedicated to preserving the traditional crafts of book-making, as well as exploring and encouraging contemporary interpretations of the book as an art object." Includes, exhibition programs, online exhibitions, artist publications, services to artists, classes by book artists, and related links.

  • Centre for Fine Print Research: Book Arts (CFPR).
    University of West England, Bristol: School of Art, Media and Design)
    Specializing in contemporary artists books; extensively illustrated archived exhibitions; online newsletter, book arts links.

  • Book and Paper: Center for Book Arts and Paper
    a program of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department at Columbia College Chicago


  • Kalamazoo Book Arts Centre
    Founded by artists and writers with a vision for a "creative public space where artists and book enthusiasts of all kinds gather to collaborate and celebrate books and the many arts that inform them: papermaking, printmaking, letterpress, creative writing, and bookbinding."

  • Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation (Cleveland, Ohio)
    "...a non-profit art center dedicated to the preservation of handmade papermaking and the art of the book. Morgan Conservatory will pursue its educational and charitable purposes by serving the greater community locally, nationally, and internationally with sustainable practices in an innovative green environment."

  • Purgatory Pie Press
    Collaborates with artists and teaches courses in the making of artists' books and multiples.

  • San Francisco Center for the Book
    It's main focus is to teach and increase awareness about traditional and contemporary book arts; hold exhibitions, events and workshops for all ages in support of book art and artists.

  • Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY)
    Internationally recognized center for media studies, including photography, visual books, digital imaging, film and video. Produces and publishes artists' books and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism; education and exhibition programming, artists residencies, access programs, internships;
    archives and library.

  • women's studio workshop
    Not-for profit organization whose mission is to " operate and maintain an artists' workspace that encourages the voice and vision of women artists. We provide professional opportunities and employment for artists at various stages in their careers, and promote programs designed to stimulate public involvement, awareness and support for the visual arts.
    " Publishes and produces artists books; artist residencies.

Publishers and Distributors

  • Artist Book News
    A showcase and marketplace of contemporary "professional" artists' books published by book artist, Jill Timm.

  • Artists Books Johan Deumans
    Specializing in artists books and art editions with "a preference for the obstinate individualsist who doesn't care what is most fashionable...accent on artists who reflect on culture and nature in a scientific-artistic approach."

  • Bartkowiak's forum book art (Heinz Stefan Bartkowiak, Hamburg, Germany)
    A private intiative first launched in 1988 to promote contemporary books arts and printing throught publishing and exhibitions. International, but primarily European sources. Web site includes an illustrated publishers list, major international collections, events and links. Publishes the illustrated Bartkowiak's forum book art yearbook.

  • Vamp and Tramp, Booksellers, LLC (Birmingham, Alabama)
    Distributor of fine press, letterpress editions and artists' books from small and individually operated presses. Web site contains an extensive list of fine press and artists' books links.

  • Granary Books
    Publishes and documents artists' books, poetry; deals also in literary and art libraries and archives of the sixties and seventies.

  • Indulgence Press (Minneapolis)
    Headed by Chip Shilling. Publishes books, broadsides and prints. Mission is to "integrate form and content through the production of high quality work, while exploring and expanding on the history of the book as an art form." Web site includes images with detailed information about work produced.

  • Printed Matter, Inc. (New York, NY)
    Founded in 1976; renowned and largest U.S. non-profit artists' books facility in the U.S. ; dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of artists books in inexpensive editions of 100 or greater through education, consulting and sales.

  • Purgatory Pie Press
    Collaborates with artists and teaches courses in the making of artists' books and multiples.

  • Specific Object (New York, NY)
    Closed in April 2013. Run by David Platzker in 2004 until his acceptance of the position of Curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Platzker was also the former Executive Director of Printed Matter Inc. Specific Object promoted artists publications of all kinds..multiples, posters, ephemera, periodicals, audio works, and more. The Specific Object Publication of the Year Award provided winners with a cash prize. Platzker's goodbye message is archived at

  • Visual Studies Workshop
    Internationally recognized center for media studies, including photography, visual books, digital imaging, film and video. Produces and publishes artists' books and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism; education and exhibition programming, artists residencies, access programs, and internships; archives and library.

  • women's studio workshop
    Mission is to " operate and maintain an artists' workspace that encourages the voice and vision of women artists. We provide professional opportunities and employment for artists at various stages in their careers, and promote programs designed to stimulate public involvement, awareness and support for the visual arts.

Exhibitions, Projects, Blogs
Note that artists' books exhibitions and other projects occur contiuously on a global scale. Try also Meta-Sites and Book Centers/Organizations from this page for additional information and viewing. Here are a very few exhibitions and projects highlighted.

DIRT? An interdisciplinary exhibition
featuring natural history specimens, artist books and poems
selected from an international call for entries.
August 6, 2015 to December 4, 2015
Collins Memorial Library
University of Puget Sound


  • 10th Annual Edible Book Festival, 2015

    University Libraries, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champagne

  • Arcadia Id Est Touring Exhibition 2005-2007
    Artists’ books, nature and the landscape.


  • Book as Witness: The Artists' Response

    Curated by Maria Pisano (Memory Press)
    at the Center for Book Arts July 11, 2012 - September 22, 2012.
    Works by "artists who create pieces dealing with death and destruction as a result of global conflicts, prejudice, terrorism, natural disasters, and individual losses."

  • Book Patrol: A Haven for Book Culture Blog (Michael Lieberman)
    by the co-owner of Wessel & Liberman Booksellers celebrating "...the book in all its forms. From the book as an object and cultural artifact to the current issues affecting the book world..."

  • Conceptually Bound
    California State University, Chico November 13 - December 16, 2007
    Based on the idea that the content of the book is in part based on the form it takes.

  • Fictitious Texts 1992-1996: Book Sculptures by David Laufer.
    Exhibition held at Carnegie Mellon's Hunt Library

  • Free For All
    An exhibition of artists' books you can download for free and assemble.

  • Mobilelivre Bookmobile Project
    A fluctuating group of community artists and activists dedicated to promoting "the distribution of information." The library of bookworks has travelled over the U.S. and Canada in a vintage airstream trailer.
  • Publishers' Bindings Online, 1815-1930: The Art of Books (PBO)
    A groundbreaking educational partnership which makes available over 5,000 digital images and information on American decorative bindings in the collections of the University of Alabama University Libraries and the University of Wisconsin Madison Libraries, reflecting the artistic, social, cultural, industrial, and bibliographic history of of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Additional resources include a comprehensive glossary, historic, literary, and artistic galleries/essays, teaching tools/lesson plans, research tools/resources.

  • Science and the Artist's Book
    An exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the Washington Project for the Arts, 1995-1996.

  • The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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Mo Dawley, Art and Drama Librarian
September 2015

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