In recent years much of the creative energy devoted to the production of thoughtfully produced books has been flowing into a rapidly evolving category of diverse material grouped under the mantle of “artists’ books.” It is difficult and somewhat arbitrary to date when the first artist’s book appeared since it is obvious that many artists of note have been involved with the production of aesthetically powerful books for centuries.
The recent surge of artists’ books runs the gamut from fine letterpress printing, skilled hand book-binding, and traditional illustration techniques to the far reaches of cutting-edge electronic imaging, innovative structures, and unusual materials. Any combination of new and traditional book-production techniques is acceptable in this burgeoning field and often leads to surprising works of art in book form. The Athenæum has embraced this field of new work and is building a collection representative of the most inventive and successful artists’ books being produced today.
Stanley Ellis Cushing
Anne C. and David J. Bromer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts