The focus of the Emily Carr Artists’ Book collection corresponds closely to the definition of artists' books that was introduced with the formation of the New York based, non-profit organization, Printed Matter. Founded by Sol Lewitt and Lucy Lippard in 1976, Printed Matter developed a mandate to disseminate and produce artists' books that observed three basic tenets: “mass produced, relatively cheap, and accessible to a broad public.” The artist's and artistic methods that informed the first 20 years of Printed Matter are well represented in this unique West Coast artists' book collection.
The Artists' book collection includes an exceptionally strong representation of works originating from the post-war, avant-garde movements of Fluxus, Conceptual and Performance art. It is the early, conceptual works of Edward Ruscha, Sol Lewitt, Robert Barry, Lawrence Weiner, Marcel Broodthaers, Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland, along with works by Fluxus artists, Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Yoko Ono and Dieter Roth that provide a strong foundation for this growing international collection.
The collection also represents local and national artists' publishing practices, with a particular focus on limited edition books created in conjunction with exhibitions at artist-run centres and art galleries. Works include those published with the collaboration of Artspeak, Contemporary Art Gallery, Grunt, Richmond Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Kamloops Art Gallery. The local collection includes work by Iain Baxter, Ken Lum, Rodney Graham, Kathy Slade, Isabelle Pauwels, Lorna Brown, Baco Ohamo, Antonia Hirsch, Arni Haraldsson and Sidney Hermant, many of whom are faculty, staff or alumni from Emily Carr.
Significant to the artists' audio collection are works by Jack Goldstein, Rodney Graham, Christian Marclay, Kathy Slade and Brady Cranfield.