Can a book be a work of art? Starting in the early 1960s, artists began to explore the possibilities of the form as an accessible and portable way to present visual information. Often created with unusual printing and binding methods or experimental narratives, these objects challenge more familiar publication techniques and communicate ideas in unconventional ways. This presentation showcases holdings from the Rosemary Furtak Artist Book Collection, named after the Walker’s former librarian, which today includes more than 2,000 artworks. Starting in the 1980s with $500 donated by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, Furtak established one of the earliest collections of its kind in the United States, celebrating, as she described, “books that refuse to behave like books.”
Here, miniatures, altered dictionaries, and handmade books by Twin Cities–based artists Harriet Bart, Vesna Kittelson, and Jody Williams resist traditional reading. Whether housed in a glass bottle or sealed with a waxy adhesive, each of these objects challenges the viewer to consider where the book ends and art begins.
Changing installations in the Best Buy Aperture highlight materials from the Walker Collections and Archives & Library.