Artists’ Books

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“An art book is a museum without walls.” —André Malraux

Artists' books span the range from sculptures in the form of pop-up books to artworks realized in a more traditional book format. The much-debated term, attributed to curator Diane Vanderlip in her 1973 exhibition “Artists’ Books” at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, emerged in a climate of social and political activism in the late 1960s and '70s, wherein artists viewed books as a democratizing medium in line with thinking about the dematerialization of the art object. Artists including Sol Lewitt, Ed Ruscha, and Lawrence Weiner viewed their books as “alternative spaces” to display their artworks, much in the same vein as alternative exhibition spaces.

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