Curious about artists' books? This guide will help you to locate and understand Mason Libraries' collection of these objects.
Artists’ books can be a little tricky to define, but we broadly describe them as artworks that use the form of the book as their medium. The content and form of artists’ books are intrinsically linked, and as a result they are able to communicate ideas on multiple levels, engaging tactile and visual elements like typography, binding, and paper.
Artists' books may be handmade or use commercial printing methods, in small or large editions. For the GMU collection, we are interested in works that present new or dynamic approaches to the book form, as well as the democratic multiple. The collection overlaps with our zines and minicomics collection and is heavily used in teaching and outreach to various departments and organizations across our campus, including the book arts program in the Mason School of Art.
Mason Libraries own over 300 artists' books, from handmade objects to more traditionally-printed photobooks. The collection is housed in the Special Collections Research Center at Fenwick Library on Mason's Fairfax Campus.
The artists' book collection at Mason has a number of historic collection strengths, including works by artists from the D.C./Northern Virginia/Maryland region, books by and about women and women-identifying artists, and topics of social justice and activism, including environmental justice. The collection continues to grow, with particular interest in:
Marika Koskimäki-Ketelä, Finding Myself, 2011.