A vintage photograph of a young woman, casually posed in front of a storefront window, which advertises the “friendly” Chesterfield cigarette, invites readers into X-Ray Magazine. This San Francisco Pneumatic Press publication can be found hiding, along with other artists’ books, in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library collection.
Tag: artists’ books
We often think of the book as a container of information. A book’s text conveys meaning through reading. However, meaning can be expressed in other ways. Typography, ink color, blank space, paper, artwork, and binding also provide information to the reader about the artist’s project. Featuring artists’ books from the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG), this exhibit investigates the way that book artists use material and visual features to make meaning.
“If there is any facet of my work that I feel was kissed by angels, I’d say it was my books. My other work is definitely tied to a tradition, but I’ve never followed tradition in my books.” Ed Ruscha, in an interview with David Bourdon in Art News, April 1972.
In this series on artists’ books at the AA/PG Library, we are starting off with Ed Ruscha, the American artist known primarily for his large canvas paintings that incorporate words or phrases.
~Francis Bacon, Essays (1625) Bacon’s Essays By Francis Bacon, Richard Whately.
We have talked about artists’ books on the Smithsonian Libraries blog before. And we’ll talk about them more, as a part of a short series to highlight interesting works of book art owned by the Smithsonian’s American Art & Portrait Gallery Library.
But what, exactly, is an artist’s book? You may not be able to tell just from looking at the object itself!