Artists' books have emerged over the last 25 years as the quintessential contemporary art form, addressing subjects as diverse as poetry and politics, incorporating a full spectrum of artistic media and bookmaking methods, and taking every conceivable form. Female painters, sculptors, calligraphers, and printmakers, as well a growing community of hobbyists, have played a primary role in developing this new mode of artistic expression. The Book as Art presents more than 100 of the most engaging women's artist books created by major fine artists such as Meret Oppenheim, May Stevens, Kara Walker, and Renee Stout and distinguished book artists such as Susan King, Ruth Laxson, Claire Van Vliet, and Julie Chen.
Culled from over 800 unique or limited-edition volumes held by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, these books explore the form as a container for ideas. Descriptions of the works are accompanied by colorful illustrations and reflections by their makers, along with essays by leading scholars and a lively introduction by the most famous book artist in our culture, best-selling author Audrey Niffenegger. The exquisitely crafted objects in the The Book as Art are sure to provoke unexpected and surprising conclusions about what constitutes a book.
The Book as Art accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., beginning in October 2006.