Artists' Books

Collection Information

ARTISTS' BOOKS are books in the form of art objects or art objects in the form of books. They may look more like a codices (bound books) that employ elements from the visual arts, or they may appear more like visual works of art that borrow the vocabulary of books, such as text or pages. Artists make use of many different techniques and forms in creating these books, and most artists' books are produced in limited editions.

The Art, Architecture & Engineering Library (AAEL) Special Collections has a growing collection of artists' books in its holdings. These books have been created via printing press, silk screening, painting, welding and numerous other processes. They are made from a wide range of media including aluminum, cloth, handmade paper and glass. The books vary greatly in size and structure. Some fit in the palm of a hand while others span the length of a table. Some are bound while others must be constructed to be read, and still others provide their own illumination to be read in the dark.

These books are available to anyone. Although some of the AAEL's artists' books circulate, the ones featured in this database require more careful handling and are only available for viewing on-site in Special Collections. If you would like to see a book from this database in person, please contact artistsbooks@umich.edu to make an appointment or for more information.

In 2012, the University of Michigan Library became a repository for the ongoing collection of artists’ books created at the Women’s Studio Workshop. This repository is part of the AAEL Artists' Books collection. For further information, please visit the online exhibition Artist Books from the Women's Studio Workshop.

Unless indicated, the book artist holds the copyright for these objects. The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission or licenses for uses that exceed this license, unless fair use or other exceptions apply to your intended use.

Please contact artistsbooks@umich.edu for questions regarding the artists books and for inquiries regarding further reproduction which will be referred to the relevant artist or rights holder.