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Off the Shelf

  • Exhibition

  • May 2000 - October 2000
  • MASS MoCA

A selection of contemporary artists’ books from the Clark Art Institute Library, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Chapin Rare Book Library were brought together for the first time at MASS MoCA. All of the books in Off the Shelf were created between 1985 and 2000, and exemplify some of the most interesting trends in bookmaking today.

Off the Shelf presented three themes: the first was science, which related to Unnatural Science, the exhibition that was concurrently on view at MASS MoCA. Another was travel, which spoke to the book’s ability to transport the reader, to relate an artist’s personal voyage, or to provide fictional journeys through geography and time. Finally, the installation considered the book as a metaphorical museum or theater.

Among the well-known book artists featured are Angela Lorenz, Richard Tuttle, Gunnar Kaldewey, Johanna Drucker, and Philip Zimmermann. Many of the books in the exhibition were created by contemporary artists who work in a variety of media in addition to bookmaking, including Amalia Mesa-Bains, Kiki Smith, and Sophie Calle.

Work by Angela Lorenz

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