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Corcoran Students Visit Hirshhorn Museum to Study Library’s Artists’ Books

Corcoran Class looking at Artists' Books
Kerry McAleer-Keeler with her Art and the Book Program class from Corcoran examining some Artists’ Books

This post was written by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Head Librarian Anna Brooke.

Six students from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Art and the Book Program, visited the Hirshhorn Museum on Friday November 8. Accompanied by Assistant Professor and book maker, Kerry McAleer-Keeler, and Pat Reid, Technical Services Associate for the Corcoran Library, the students examined 23 artists’ books from the Hirshhorn Museum Library’s collection which were on display in the board room.

Jihae Kwon, Julie Sheah, Magdalena Cordero, Paola Bolanos, Krista Sharp and Jody Cabezas looked at the books and listened to an introduction to the library’s collection. There are nearly  250 artists’ books in the museum library, depending on the definition of the category. Many of our artists’ books were made by artists who have art work in the museum collection. Most were mass produced or in a small edition, but not extremely rare. Highlights were books by Ed Ruscha, Sol Lewitt, Tacita Dean, and Mungo Thomson.

Anna Brooke discussing Artists' Books with Corcoran students
Hirshhorn Head Librarian Anna Brooke discusses the items with the students

The most popular selections  were two issues of the New York fashion and photography magazine Visionaire, which were gifts from the publisher. Issue 36 is “Power,” housed in a curved iridescent purple plastic case. It includes natural elements with holographic papers and supernatural printing techniques. Artists Mariko Mori, Thomas Struth, Roni Horn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Demand and others contributed to the issue. Issue 33 Touch (discussed in an earlier SL blog post) contains loose leaves by designers in a fur and leather cover in a brass-colored 2-part box of metallic mesh. Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Dior, and Yamamoto created paper dolls who wear feathers, velvet and fur. After the library presentation, the Corcoran students and staff visited the current exhibition in the museum’s galleries, Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950, to see examples of Ed Ruscha’s artists’ book, Royal Road Test.

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