Earlier Physical Exhibits


Listen, Listen: Adadam Agofomma: a fine-press book by Take Time Press

The inaugural publication of Take Time Press, “Listen, Listen: Adadam Agofamma,” was designed and produced by Mary Hark, a textile artist and papermaker in the UW-Madison Design Studies Department (School of Human Ecology).

An ABC Miscellany

ABC books appeal to readers of all ages and are international in scope. While they are often intended for children and created as educational tools, some are aimed at adult audiences.

Camera at Work: Photographic Images of Labor

Throughout history, countless anonymous laborers and workers have contributed to the fabric and rhythm of life, often working under difficult and arduous conditions. On view is a selection of photography books that showcase remarkable images of farm laborers, miners, tradesmen, domestic help, factory workers, clerical staff, and other workers.

By Women, About Women: Stories in Fabric

The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and the Kohler Art Library present “By Women, About Women: Stories in Fabric,” an exhibition of textiles and textile-inspired artists’ books at the Kohler Art Library, UW-Madison.

Specimens from a Study Collection of Illuminated Manuscript Facsimiles

This exhibit showcases some of the many examples of illuminated manuscript facsimiles acquired by the Kohler Art Library over the past 40 years. The term facsimile derives from the Latin fac simile meaning “made alike.”


Unbound: African-American Artists’ Books & Illustrated Children’s Books

This exhibition is presented by the Department of Afro-American Studies in commemoration of its 40th anniversary and as a celebration of the 2010-11 Year of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Natasha Nicholson–materials: re-invented, re-viewed

On display are small works of sculpture by Madison artist, Natasha Nicholson. According to the artist: “Books feed art. I long for beauty in works of art and books, and it is order and beauty that is at the heart of that which I wish to create.

Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books (MIMB)

This traveling show of 141 miniature books by international artists showcases a wide range of printmaking techniques and book structures.

Artisans of Mexico from the Collection of John Tortorice

“I collected the items on display in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Michoacán over the course of three recent road trips in Mexico. They document the continued primacy of aesthetic considerations found in indigenous Mexican culture, and the commitment to a high level of artistic integrity on the part of the artisans.”

Artists of Haiti

The artistic heritage of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora is the focus of this exhibit. Artists as diverse as Eduoard Duval-Carrié, Hector Hyppolite, Georges Liautaud, Ernst Prophéte, Seresier Louisjuste, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Mario Benjamin are featured.

Shimmering Books of Silver and Gold

On display are 22 fine examples of illuminated manuscript facsimiles from the collection of the Kohler Art Library. These reproductions of pre-9th to 16th century books located in Europe are sumptuous publications in their own right.


All About Me: Book Arts

Vision, Strength, Access – VSA Arts of Wisconsin – proudly presents a variety of books created by students with disabilities who participated in an “All About Me” artist residency.

Cartoneras: Book Arts from Latin America

Showcasing the work of young writers and artists from various Latin American countries, this exhibit contains a sampling of “cartonera” books on loan from the Special Collections Department, Memorial Library.

Arthropods (insects) in Art

On view are selected art and artists’ books that explore the world of arthropods (insects): butterflies, beetles, bees, wasps, flies, ants, cicadas, mosquitoes and more!

The Vandercook Proof Press Celebrates Its 100th Birthday (1909-2009)

On view are diverse folios from “The Vandercook Book,” a limited edition artists’ book published by Barbara Henry and Roni Gross to celebrate the centennial of the Vandercook Proof Press.

Framework: Architectural Books

How is a staircase like a book or a wall like a page? Karen Wirth explores the relationships between books and architecture through artist’s books, sculpture and public art.

A Winter Walk through the Artists’ Book Collection

Words and images describing the frosty mountain air, crystalline formation of ice, sparkling snowflake, and winter wind celebrate the season that begins and ends each year.


Travel, Typology, Technology: Photography and the (Re)Production of Empire

This exhibition of historical photographic objects developed around a question central to our individual research: what was the role of photography in the creation and maintenance of empire?

Changelings: Artists’ Books That Transform & Inspire

The Bone Folders’ Guild presents a delightful exhibit of “changeling” books–books that fold, flip, move, slide, twist, and rotate–books that are part toy, part book, and pure magic for the viewer.

College Humor to Italian Tesserae: Celebrating the Centennial of James S. Watrous

Marking the centennial of James S. Watrous (1908-1999), the exhibit looks at the many contributions of this artist and art historian to the UW campus. The exhibit was inspired by John Dobbertin, a collector of college humor magazines, and Lynne Watrous Eich, daughter of James Watrous.

Blooming Books

The books in these cases all explore the beauty and wonder of nature found in flowers, trees, blossoms and leaves. The colors of summer, the burst of a bud, the growth of a vine, and the potential of a seed are all evident in these wonderfully inventive artists’ books.

Sketchbooks: Selections from the Kohler Art Library

One can almost see the hand of an artist by looking at a sketchbook. Artists use sketchbooks to quickly capture a fleeting moment depicted in a scene, face, impression, interior view, animal, rambling thought (doodle), or general idea.

The Scientist’s Eye: Dialogues between Art & Science an exhibition of artist and rare books from the Kohler Art Library and Special Collections (Memorial Library)

The disciplinary division between the visual arts and the natural sciences was not always as strictly demarcated as our contemporary academic conventions might suggest; rather, the line between art and science was blurry, by preference and necessity.


The Art of Ediciones Vigia: Handmade Books from Cuba

On display are over 50 books published by Ediciones Vigia, or Vigia Press, an “editorial collective” which began in the mid-1980s in Mantanzas, Cuba.

Chinese Art Books from the Simon and Rosemary Chen Collection

In 2006, the Kohler Art Library received over 200 books and serials on Chinese art from Simon and Rosemary Chen. The gift focuses on contemporary Chinese art from the late 19th century to the present day.

Book (fri)Ends: Friends of the UW-Madison Library support artists’ books

Proceeds from the UW-Madison Friends of the Library Booksale are awarded annually to campus libraries for the purposes of acquisition and preservation of library materials.

The Artists’ Book Collection Online!

Marking the debut of the online Artists’ Book Collection, the exhibit displays a selection of limited edition and one-of-a-kind works from the Kohler Art Library’s large collection of art books.

Student books

The books in this exhibit are representative examples of student works printed in typography and graphic design courses taught by Professor Philip M. Hamilton during his earliest years of teaching at the UW-Madison, 1964-1985.


Rooted in Wisconsin: Artists’ Books & the UW-Madison

This exhibit was a selection of the work of UW-Madison alumni and faculty that are represented in the Artists’ Book Collection at the Kohler Art Library.

Lewis Koch: About Time, 25 Years of New Year’s Cards

For nearly three decades, artist/photographer Lewis Koch has been creating New Year’s cards to delight and occasionally bewilder his friends. Koch’s annual tradition of card making uses collage, photography and wordplay as a contemplation of the transient nature of time, to mourn the passing of another year and celebrate the next.


Mary Nohl: Smaller Works

Mary Nohl (1914-2001) did not label herself artist or craftsman, but enjoyed the process of “arts activities.” She may be seen as sculptor, painter, jeweler, illustrator, writer–but especially, builder.

Dancing with Cows: In Celebration of Schomer Lichtner

On March 18, 2005, Milwaukee artist Schomer Lichtner will celebrate his 100th birthday! Known for his colorful depictions of ballerinas and cows, Lichtner is still actively engaged in creating art.


The Chamber Pot: Culture Contained

This exhibit of chamber pots from 1450 to 1940 looks at the field of material culture as an approach to studying objects, analyzing the shifting cultural values embodied in the use of and production of chamber pots.

A Progressive Conversation Party

In conjunction with the 3rd annual Wisconsin Book Festival, members of the Bone Folders’ Guild collaboratively created artists’ books addressing Ethel Cotton’s “Course in Conversation” (1959 edition).

The Book Artistry of Xu Bing

Chinese-born artist Xu Bing works in a variety of mediums, from the graphic art of woodblock printing, which he incorporates in his artists’ books, to large scale installations, such as the “net of words” based on a passage from Thoreau currently on display upstairs in the Elvehjem Museum of Art’s Paige Court.

The Book as Art

The Bone Folders’ Guild was founded in February 2001 as a network of regional book artists who learn from, support and encourage each other artistically. As a group, they frequently challenge each other to produce artist books based on themes. Examples of these artist books will be on display.

The Photograph as a Book: Artist Books by Carol Chase Bjerke

This exhibit focuses on the combination of books and photographs and the tradition and challenge to the readers and artists they provide.

An Artist with a Mission: Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

The Kohler Art Library features an exhibit of alumni book artist and fine printer, Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., from February 1-29, 2004.

Book Artists’ Holiday Greetings

As a complement to its Artists’ Book Collection, the Kohler Art Library has a growing body of ephemeral material designed by book artists.