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30 Prinsessegracht
Den Haag, ZH, 2514 AP
Netherlands

Museum Meermanno | Huis van het boek (vroeger Meermanno-Westreenianum) is het oudste boekenmuseum ter wereld. Het is gevestigd in het voormalige woonhuis van de stichter van het museum Willem Hendrik Jacob baron van Westreenen van Tiellandt (1783-1848) aan de Prinsessegracht in Den Haag en richt zich op het geschreven en gedrukte boek in al zijn vormen, in heden en verleden. De ontwikkeling van de vormgeving van zowel oude als moderne boeken staat daarbij centraal.

Artists' books

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From Picasso to Sol LeWitt
Artists' books since 1950

Exhibition from 15 march through 13 july 2014

Various authors have tried to put into words what is meant by a modern ‘artist’s book’, but no standard definition has emerged. The guest curators of this exhibition have arrived at the following simple definition: ‘An artist’s book is an independent original artwork in book form, produced in a single or multiple edition, in which a visual artist has had an essential or predominant influence on the book’s content and design.’   
 
The exhibition opens with a number of classical examples, including works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. This is followed by a selection of artists’ books from the international art world since 1950. As well as examples made by artists closely related to the most important movements or groups in the visual arts of the period, the selection also includes some by artists with a greater affinity to traditional book art. 
 
In the artists’ books on view in the first exhibition room, text and image both play a prominent role. The next room contains artists’ books by Dieter Roth and Ed Ruscha, who are seen as pioneers in the genre of artists’ books since 1950. Besides work by these two groundbreaking artists, this and the next room display artists’ books that make abundant use of the visual possibilities of line, shape and colour, while virtually abandoning the use of text – that is, letters. The exhibits on view in the following rooms include both artists’ books that focus largely on text, individual letters and words and those in which the emphasis is on the works as ‘book objects’. The final room features artists’ books about installations. To provide a broader context, the walls are hung with a number of works of art.

Guest curators: José and Hans Brokken (Brokken Zijp Foundation of Art)
Captions to visual works: Tim Donders
Graphic design: Jelle Hellinga
English translation: Beverley Jackson
 
Works supplied on loan by: Brokken Zijp Foundation of Art, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Van Abbemuseum, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Fransje Killaars