Emory Libraries is pleased to announce the launching of The Artists’ Books Showcase, a digital exhibition highlighting key pieces in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library’s collection of artists’ books. Often made in small, limited editions or as one-of-a-kind works of art, artists’ books question and explore the format of the book as an artistic medium. Some artists’ books, such as Salem Lessons by Maureen Cummins and Nicole Cooley, adhere somewhat closely to the codex book format; others, such as Lise Melhorn-Boe’s What’s For Dinner?, take more liberties with the form of a book. The artists’ books collection at MARBL includes more than 500 volumes and contains a number of canonical pieces from artists such as Ed Ruscha and Ruth Laxson. However, the collection is particularly strong in books produced by women, books that address ecological and/or feminist issues, miniatures, and books made within the last two decades. In addition, MARBL has many artists’ books produced by Granary Books, Coracle Press, The Scripps College Press, and Nexus Press.
The Artists’ Books Showcase was built by Catherine E. Doubler, a Robert W. Woodruff Library Graduate Fellow for the 2012-2013 academic year and doctoral candidate in English. The website focuses on artists’ books produced within the last fifteen years and provides high-quality images of and metadata for nearly 40 books in MARBL’s collection. Catherine also wrote several curatorial essays and a book arts glossary for the website. At the moment, Catherine is working on making The Artists’ Books Showcase a teaching resource and a publishing platform for undergraduate student work. The exhibition features assignments on artists’ books from Emory College instructors and exemplary creative and analytical responses to artists’ books from Emory students. Future Woodruff Library fellows will maintain the exhibition and create additional content.
The Artists’ Books Showcase is one of the first Omeka-powered digital exhibitions to be hosted by MARBL. Subject Librarians Kim Collins and Sandra Still consulted on the project, and Research and Public Services Archivist Sara Logue and MARBL Newton Graduate Fellow Alyssa Stalsberg Canelli assisted with the use of Omeka.