Off the Shelf: Modern & Contemporary Artists' Books

Exhibition Website

Mar 12 2017 - Jun 25 2017

The BMA presents more than 100 rarely shown artists’ books and related prints by more than 50 renowned artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Grace Hartigan, David Hockney, and Ed Ruscha.

An artist’s book—an artwork conceived of and produced in book form—often reflects the collaborative work of visual artists, writers, printers, and publishers and can vary as widely as artworks in other media. The BMA’s rarely shown collection of artists’ books is presented in 12 thematic groupings of works, such as animals, typography, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky. Among the exhibition highlights are Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower (1902), Henri Rivière’s Japanese woodcut-inspired images of the French landmark; Bestiary, or The Parade of Orpheus (1911), a book of elaborate animal woodcuts by Raoul Dufy with poems by Guillaume Apollinaire; and Ready for Anything (1958), Joan Miró’s whimsical color woodcuts with text by Paul Éluard. Two other remarkable books are 1¢ Life (1964), 61 vibrant color lithographs by Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and others that accompany poems by Walasse Ting, and The Departure of the Argonaut (1986), a gigantic bound volume with 48 color lithographs by Francesco Clemente and letterpress text by Albert Salvinio. More than half of the works have never been exhibited before at the BMA.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

Whether or not you go, 1,000 Artists' Books: Exploring the Book as Art offers a look at a timeless art form, one that is as alive today as ever before, and artists continue to explore and explode the boundaries of what a book is and can be. In this beautiful collection, you will experience close-up various aspects of hand-crafted books: covers, bindings, scrolls, folded and origami structures and books made from found objects. You will find richly illustrated and calligraphed pages as well as books created from a variety of printed processes. Ingenuity and creativity abounds in this carefully curated collection of both historically important and modern works.

1,000 Artists' Books: Exploring the Book as Art

  • Books / Manuscripts
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Joan Miró
  • Grace Hartigan
  • David Hockney
  • Ed Ruscha
  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates