The artist’s book or how the book can change art (and not the inverse)

A certain confusion reigns today in the loose usage of the term “artist’s book”. Too liberally applied to any work where an artist has been involved, it fails to recognise the specificity of a radically new genre of books, born in the early 1960’s, in declared opposition to the traditional “illustrated book” and the “livre de peintre” for bibliophiles. In fact, much distinguishes them, from the physical aspects of these publications to their editorial and artistic strategies. To clarify the misunderstandings, the best way is to go back to the birth and development of the artist’s book in the 1960’s and 1970’s, demonstrating how it retains distinctive characteristics from its close relationship with the artistic avant-gardes who were, simultaneously, in the process of founding what has come to be known as “contemporary art”. The course will be divided into 4 chapters, one per day: The European and North American origins of the artist’s book; The book, medium for critic; The prominent role of the photographic image; A new bibliophilism.