Artist Books 3.0

Where artists' books and the book arts meet online...



21st Century Book

A group to discuss and contextualise traditional publishing formats for artists’ books and also quantify how artists are using new technologies as publishing tools.

Members: 130
Latest Activity: on Friday

Background to this Discussion

We believe that content is paramount for any artist’s book, yet format is also part of its context. We are currently working on a 2-year AHRC funded project ( at the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England, UK, where our aim is to create a manifesto for a canon of the 21st Century artist’s book.

This discussion will form part of the related publications, which as a whole, we hope will illustrate and contextualise all formats of artists’ publishing. The study will consider the traditional publishing formats for artists’ books and assess their potential for future expansion within the field. We also aim to quantify how artists are using new technologies and screen-based media as publishing tools.

In the UK we are hosting seminars and a conference, organising an exhibition and running free publishing day surgeries for artists as part of the project. We are also interviewing artists, librarians, collectors, publishers, curators, educators and students around the world. These will all be added to our website, which we are regularly updating ( and where we are also conducting an online survey that we invite you to join.

Johanna Drucker stated in 2005 that "…we don't have a good, specific, descriptive vocabulary on which to form our assessment of book works.” (see the whole article online at Critical issues/Exemplary works, Johanna Drucker, The Bonefolder, Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 2005).

We would like to address some of these problems with input from the international community, and will publish all our results as freely and accessibly as possible. The questions for the discussion start with What will this terminology be? We think that perhaps “book arts” or “artists’ books” have become too small an umbrella; perhaps “artists’ publications” would give us a better heading to start classifying and contextualising the field.

Wouldn’t it be great if a book artist could go anywhere and say what kind of book they made, and everyone they met would understand exactly what they meant? So, perhaps to put it simply, this is what we are trying to do, to make a proposal for an international language; a contextual descriptor for any type of artist’s book.

We are really keen to hear your views. The most efficient way of doing this is to start the discussion online and we will do our best to monitor and keep the threads going regularly.

Please note: Before you do join in the discussion, please be aware that this is part of a research study, and the comments made in this public domain could be used as part of our research findings free online publication (accredited to you) available from in 2010. For further details on the project please visit:

Discussion Forum

Defining the book.

Started by Tom Sowden. Last reply by Charles Brownson Mar 3, 2012. 12 Replies

Artists' Books or Artists' Publications?

Started by Tom Sowden. Last reply by Pickaxe Publishing Jun 22, 2011. 40 Replies

Theorizing the artists book

Started by Charles Brownson. Last reply by Dawn Redwood Jun 23, 2010. 7 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by TIZIANA BARACCHI on December 26, 2017 at 18:23

Do you want to participate in CHECKPOINT
Send to my address 3 equal original works in A4, signed, paper or light cardboard. The theme means your work.
1st deadline: The Birthday of Art 2018, January 17th. But it goes on.
Leave 2 cm free on the left side for binding.
Technique: handmade.
via Cavallotti 83B

Comment by Charles Brownson on October 23, 2011 at 2:02
Comment by Charles Brownson on October 23, 2011 at 2:00
Reply to Dawn Redwood's comment of a year ago "I've recorded all sorts of things in many scruffy little notebooks over the decades." A friend of mine, Quinn McDonald (QuinnCreative) has published a book "Raw Art Journaling" which uses this sort of material. I think that the question is not what it is but how to make use of it. A map to the grocery store and a shopping list could be intensely interesting. This is something only possible, I think, for an artists book.
Comment by puck bramlage on May 20, 2011 at 7:17

The Book is Art, everybody understand what I mean.


It's not a book ABOUT art or artists.        What is a Book?

Comment by Bethan Hopkins on May 1, 2010 at 1:00
Not wishing to spam, but a gentle invitation to those who may wish to combine books and interactive art next Tuesday.

Inspired by the boundless imagination of author David Mitchell comes a day of interactive, innovative art. Join Sceptre and Subject to Change in the top gallery at Candid Arts Trust and participate in the construction of your own miniature community. Each audience member will have the opportunity to build, decorate and personalise a house and become part of a perfectly formed, eclectic cardboard world, or simply relax and enjoy the installation.

Installation conceived by Subject to Change and Home Sweet Home. The installation is open to the public from 12-5pm next Tuesday (4th May) and will be held in the Upper Gallery of the Candid Art Trust in Angel, Islington, London.

Come and celebrate the launch of David Mitchell’s new novel “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet”.
This event is suitable for all ages.
To reserve your own ‘plot’ (and there are only 50 up for grabs), please contact
Comment by Dawn Redwood on April 8, 2010 at 21:41
I've recorded all sorts of things in many scruffy little notebooks over the decades. They have phone numbers, shopping lists, drawings, very brief thoughts on daily feelings and events. Some notebooks I made; some were given, some I lost.
Where do these ephemeral items fit in the Definition(s) of The Artist's Book??
Dawn Redwood, Aard Press
Comment by Abigail Thomas on April 6, 2010 at 19:22
Ive been reading the manifesto thats come out of this project; all the interviews with artists, librarians etc.. that are included are just so interesting! Definately worth a read and you can download it for free.
Comment by Robert Heather on July 31, 2009 at 10:44
This article was in The Age newspaper last weekend and this fellow is coming to Melbourne tyo speak at our Writers Festival...
Comment by Natalie d'Arbeloff on February 21, 2009 at 11:15
Hello. As a painter/printmaker, I started making books, mainly in the 'livre d'artiste' genre, in the mid-1970s and a retrospective show of my bookworks was held in the Hague at the Museum of the Book (Rijksmuseum Meermanno Westreenianum) in 1992. I've been more involved in the digital world for the past 8 years and have published a book via Print on Demand but it's hard to classify this as an artist's book. I'd be interested in the research you're doing and am available for interview if you're interested. More about my press and work is on my website:
Comment by Tom Sowden on October 8, 2008 at 21:24
Hello everyone.
It's really good to see so many of you have joined this group. Sarah and I would really appreciate your comments on the discussions we have started, the more contributions the better, so please post a reply. If you know of anyone else who might be interested, then please also invite them to join the group and the discussions.
Tom and Sarah

Members (130)


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Printed Matter is pleased to announce Available to Everyone: Robert Jacks and Printed Matter, curated by Peter Anderson.

The exhibition presents two connected bodies of material: a survey of artists’ books by Australian painter, sculptor and bookmaker Robert Jacks (1942-2014), and an extensive selection of publications drawn from Jacks’ own collection, many of which were purchased from Printed Matter in the early years of the organization.




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