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Artists' Books in Macalester College Library's Special Collections

This guide features a sampling of the artists' books available in the Macalester College Library Special Collections.

What is an "artists' book?"

Artists' books are works of art in which artists use the medium of books to create small print runs or one-of-a-kind objects. This medium can often stretch the imagination of what we consider a book.

How do I access the collection?

To view a more comprehensive list of our holdings in the Library Catalog, search for "artists' books."  

You can also contact us to schedule a visit.

Macalester College Library's Special Collections are open to all researchers. Affiliation with Macalester College is not required, but we do ask all researchers to provide their name, contact information, and general topic of research. Our Special Collections materials do not circulate, so materials must be used in our Reading Room on the 2nd floor of the DeWitt Wallace Library.


Selections from our collection

Lin Charleston's "Plants Can," 2009

"Plants can make their own food. Plants can live without people. As you turn the pages of this artist's book you may be reminded of unfurling petals or leaves. The book when wide open looks like a flower - or a sun. Is there a connection? Yes, plants have been using energy from the sun to make food from CO2 and H2O for millions of years. The structure of the book is based on a vegetable steamer, which completes the cycle - plants make the food, we eat the plants"--Artist's statement from Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America.

Wire frame puppet of a rabbit against blocks of color screen printed to tell the story of Anansi the Spider

Anansi Company : a collection of thirteen hand-made wire and card rod-puppets animated in colour and verse, by Ronald King & Roy Fisher, 1992.

"This is the seventh collaboration of King & Fisher. The content was derived from Walter Jekyll's 'Jamaican Song & Story 1907, ' a contemporary rendering of some familiar tales central to Caribbean culture, brought by [forcibly enslaved people] from Africa, concerning Anansi the [Spider] and his company of friends"--Vamp & Tramp website.

Emory Douglas's "Reparations," 2009

"The content of my Imprint publication deals with the subject of reparations and slavery with each abstract designed figure chained together making up the word, REPARATIONS." --Artist's statement from the San Fransisco Center for the Book website. 

Emory Douglas served as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party was disbanded in the 1980s, and is known for representing Black American oppression through his art and activism.