About the Collection

The MCAD Artists’ Books Collection was established in the late 1970′s with the acquisition of a group of photobooks and multiples by some of the leading conceptual artists of the time. Important books by Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman, Sol LeWitt and John Baldessari form the foundational core of the early collection. In the 1980′s works by Ida Applebroog, Lynda Barry, Barbara Kruger and other influential female book artists were actively acquired.

During the 1990′s with supplemental funding by donors to the college the collection grew steadily with additions by such well known bookmakers as Walter Hamady, Keith Smith, Susan King, Scott McCarney and the British partners John Crombie and Sheila Bourne. The letterpress and illustrative elements of these books signaled an interest in representing the hand crafted, finely printed, deluxe book in the collection.  Collecting of local and regional works also began, including the Minnesota Center for Books Arts’ Winter Book series, an annual publication produced since 1988.

The digital age has spurred renewed interest in the book as a vehicle for artistic expression.  This is reflected in the scope of the collection which today numbers over 550 books varying in format, materials and aesthetic.  Recent additions of contemporary photo books, zines and book objects – works that push the boundaries of the traditional codex format – are a few examples the new avenues being explored by book artists in the 21st century and are represented in our collection.  Key figures who work falls in this category are Julie Chen, Sarah Bryant, Karen Kunc, Ellen Gallagher, Mungo Thomson, and Tate Shaw to name only a few.

Past and present MCAD faculty and alumni work forms is a key component of the collection and will continue to be built on.  Faculty work represented in the collection includes that of Kinji Akagawa, Kevin Byrne, Karen Wirth, Jody Williams, and Paula McCarthy; alumni work includes books by James Casebere, David Rathman, Mike Perry, Jennifer Danos and others.

The collection is also being developed to support MCAD’s books arts curriculum as well as courses across the art and design disciplines by adding books that advance the creative process, address contemporary topics and represent the voices of diverse groups of artists.

The MCAD Artists Books Collection is non-circulating.  It is available for hands on use by the MCAD community and the general public during our regular business hours.  Ask at the Circulation Desk for help in getting started.  Photo-documentation of the collection is ongoing and at present well over half of it may be viewed online from the Library’s website.

Explore the collection in person during Library hours or on the Library Flickr site

Library Hours:

  • Monday–Thursday : 8:30 am–10:00 pm

  • Friday: 8:30 am–5:00 pm

  • Saturday: Noon–5:00 pm

  • Sunday: Noon–7:00 pm

Hours subject to change between semesters and during summer sessions.

Check the Library website for current hours.

Location: 2501 Stevens Avenue South, Mpls, MN 55404
Phone: 612.874.3791

MCAD Campus Map   &   MCAD Library Map


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