Hansel and Gretel at the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library

Through the generosity of an artists’ book enthusiast (and a member of the Smithsonian Libraries staff), the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has recently acquired a copy of a new book depicting scenes from a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale: Hansel and Gretel: A Shadow Theatre Book.

Field of Vision: Artists Books in the Smithsonian Libraries

This summer, three of the Smithsonian Libraries art libraries, the Hirshhorn Library (HMSG), the African Art Library (AfA), and the American Art Library/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) have hosted an intern through the Katzenberger Foundation Art History Internship Program. Each library has a collection of artists’ books and has been working to provide better access and exploring ways that the collections may be used. This year, under the coordination of Anna Brooke more »

An Artist’s Book in a Trade Book’s Clothing

This post was written by Jaclyn Peterson. Jaclyn interned at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library this past spring, working to identify Artists’ Books in the collection and making them more accessible in the library catalog. Before I began working on a cataloging project with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library (HMSG) , I naively thought I was able to spot an artist’s book out of a regular collection a mile more »

Quilting the Book

Like books, quilts are symbolic items with patterns that can tell stories.  Quilts tell domestic narratives and have been recognized as important historical artifacts.  As a result, the Smithsonian’s National Quilt Collection at the National Museum of American History contains hundreds of quilts.  However, it might be surprising to hear that the Smithsonian Libraries also hold quilts – or rather, quilt-like books. 

Political messages in Artists’ books

This post was contributed by Anna Brooke, librarian at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library. One of the Hirshhorn Museum Library’s artists’ books with a political message is X by Sue Coe.  Coe is a British artist-journalist born Tamworth (Staffordshire), England in 1951. She attended the Royal College of Art, London. In 1972 she moved to New York City where she lives and works. Art and politics will be the theme for the Art Libraries Society (Arlis) conference which will be held in Washington, D. C. in the spring of 2014.

Recently added artists’ book at the AA/PG Library

The American Art  Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has close to two hundred artists’ books in its collection, many of which have been featured here in past blog posts. However, this collection continues to grow and new books are selectively added. Many come through donations, but others are purchased to support the collection’s theme of “American Lives, American Stories.” Most of the works in the artists’ book collection feature American book artists and have biographical elements or touch upon the American experience.

Lines and Lines and Points: Artists’ Books by Sol LeWitt

Though American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) worked in every media, he is known best for his wall drawings and series of investigations of lines, colors and shapes. If you have ever been to an exhibition of LeWitt’s wall drawings, you’ll agree there is a sense of awe (“How could someone draw so many tiny straight lines across that entire gallery?”) mixed with a sense of vertigo (“How could someone draw so many tiny straight lines across that entire gallery?”).

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