For more than a decade, Special Collections/University Archives has been working with the Booklyn Artists Alliance to purchase artists’ books representing collaborative work among artists, designers, and book binders, who often work independently from mainstream book publishers. As an art form, artists’ books are defined by the Smithsonian Libraries as “…a medium of artistic expression that uses the form or function of “book” as an inspiration… What truly makes an artist’s book is the artist’s intent, and artists have used the book as inspiration in a myriad of ways and techniques, from traditional to the experimental.” The Booklyn Artists Alliance, established in 1999 as an artist-run, non-profit in Brooklyn, New York, publishes, promotes, and distributes artists’ books to libraries, museums, and collectors. The Alliance fills a gap for artists working in the book arts who need to promote their art by making it visible and accessible to potential buyers.
The exhibit Straight Out of Booklyn, presents only a small portion of Special Collections/University Archives’ artists books that have been collected during its relationship with the Booklyn Artists Alliance. The works displayed should give viewers a sense of the number of artists, designers, and other individuals involved in making an artist’s book as well as the variety of mediums used in the creation of the work to communicate each artist’s vision. For more information about the Booklyn Artists Alliance, visit their website at https://booklyn.org/.