The Artists' Books Showcase


The Artists' Books Showcase is a digital exhibition meant to highlight pieces in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library's extensive collection of artists' books. These books, often made in small, limited editions or as one-of-a-kind works of art, are works that purposefully make use of, question, or explore the format of the book as an artistic medium. Art historians trace the history of this form back to the limited editions of William Blake and William Morris, or to the livres d'artistes made by Surrealists and Dadaists, with the genre emerging as its own distinct art form in the 1960s. The works included here, dating from 1995 to the present, are meant to show what directions this unique art form is taking. MARBL also possesses copies of "classic" artists' books, such as Ed Ruscha's Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Gilbert and George's Pink Elephants and The Limericks. MARBL has a large number of artists' books produced by Nexus Press, Granary Books, and Coracle Press, and a number of artists' books are also part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library.

Users of this website can choose to look at individual artists' books by going to the "All Books" webpage. On individual item pages, users can click on the thumbnail photographs of the books to look at larger images. Website visitors may also choose to explore MARBL's artists' books collection by theme or how the book is constructed; these webpages offer images and curatorial essays. There are also sections of this website that showcase work on artists' books by Emory undergraduates.

Through this exhibition, MARBL wishes to bring attention to this substantial and growing collection and to encourage educators and researchers to use these exquisite books.


With minor exception, the images in The Artists' Books Showcase were provided with the help of the artists themselves or their representatives. Emory Libraries decided to ask the artists to provide images of their own work, rather than take photographs at the library, in order to give the artists more input into the presentation of their books. Emory Libraries has been generously granted written permission by these artists. In the few cases that artists were unable to provide images of their work, Emory Libraries' in-house photography team took high-quality photographs of the items in Emory's collection, also with permission from the book artists. We ask that visitors to the website do not download, modify, or sell any of the images displayed as part of the Showcase.

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Showcase currently developed and maintained by Christina M. Colvin, Robert W. Woodruff Library Fellow and Ph.D. in English; originally created and developed by Catherine E. Doubler, Ph.D.


All Books

Browse all of the books that have been selected as part of The Artists' Books Showcase.

Altered Books

An essay on how some individuals create artists' books from preexisting textual objects.

Animals and Artists' Books

An essay on the ways artists' books represent animals.

Artists' Books and the Natural World

An essay on how artists' books examine human relationships with nature.


A list of terms commonly used to describe particular kinds of artists' books, with examples from MARBL's collection.

Miniature Books

An overview of MARBL's collection of miniature books, with emphasis on four presses that specialize in miniature production.

Student Work - Writing About Literature

Emory instructors are using MARBL's artists' books compellingly in the classroom and in assignments. Amy E. Elkins, a doctoral student and teaching associate in Emory's English department, showed students a selection of artists' books for her Writing About Literature course, Literature, Space, and Gender. This section contains Elkins's reflections on using artists' books in her class, the guidelines for an essay assignment on artists' books she developed for her students, and three exemplary essays written by Elkins's students.

Trauma and Artists' Books

An essay exploring how book artists "translate" trauma into works of art.

Women and the Artist's Book

An essay on women book artists and how feminist issues have been discussed and represented in artists' books.