Artists' Book Collection

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An artist’s book is a medium in which to convey artistic expression using the form and function of a book as the point of inspiration. The book is produced as a work of art in itself. Artists’ books are often created to be portable and interactive, and many call into question the formal role of a book, with these works acting more as sculptural objects. Artists’ books can defy description and categorization. They are more than just text; they become art through combinations of text and images, fine or unusual bindings, or unexpected formats that engage the viewer. Often, artists' books are unique items or are issued in limited editions. A good artists' book will truly be more than words on a page, and pages within covers.

UNT Special Collections has been collecting artists’ books since the 1990s, and the collection has steadily grown to represent some of the best-known book artists in the world. The Artists’ Book Collection continues to grow through strategic purchases from artists and publishers, as well as through the Biennial Artists’ Book Competition. The Friends of the University of North Texas Libraries began hosting the competition in 1999, which provides an opportunity for students, artists, and community members to develop and display their creative work. For each competition, a purchase-prize is awarded, at the discretion of the jurors, to acquire an outstanding student entry as an addition to the Artists’ Book Collection. Winning entries can be seen on the Artists’ Book Competition digital exhibit.