Off the Shelve: Modern & Contemporary Artists´Books at BMA, March 12 - June 25, 2017
Joan Miró and Paul Éluard. À Toute Épreuve. 1958

March 12 - June 25, 2017

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA)
10 Art Museum Drive 
Baltimore, MD 21218-3898
Telephone: (443) 573-1700 


Carl Andre 

Pierre Bonnard 

Alexander Calder 

Francesco Clemente 

Jim Dine 

Raoul Dufy 

Michael Goldberg 

Grace Hartigan 

David Hockney 


Robert Indiana 

Ricky Jay 

Jasper Johns 

Wassily Kandinsky 

Ellsworth Kelly 

Barbara Kruger 

Fernand Léger 

Alfred Leslie 

El Lissitzky 

Richard Long 

Stéphane Mallarmé

Gordon Matta-Clark 

Joan Miró 

Joan Mitchell 

Barry Moser 

Sir William Nicholson 

Pablo Picasso 

Michalis Pichler 

R.H. Quaytman 

Larry Rivers 

Henri Rivière 

Dieter Roth 

Susan Rothenberg 

Ed Ruscha 

Kurt Schwitters 

Kiki Smith 

Michael Snow 

Nicolas de Staël 

Walasse Ting 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 

Günther Uecker 

Not Vital


BALTIMORE, MD (February 10, 2017)— announced today that the museum’s most anticipated exhibition of the spring, Off the Shelf: Modern & Contemporary Artists’ Books, will be on view March 12- June 25, 2017. The exhibition presents more than 130 artists’ books—artworks conceived of and produced in book form—and prints by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Kiki Smith, David Hockney, and Ed Ruscha. Stephen King, Frank O’Hara, and Robert Creeley are among the 30+ authors represented. More than half of the artists’ books and related prints in the exhibition have never before been on view at the BMA.

“This exhibition is an extraordinary opportunity to see how giants of the literary, publishing, and visual arts worlds often combined their talents to create artworks that unfold page by page as text and image harmonize,” said Rena Hoisington, Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs. “Artists’ books played a significant role in 20th-century art, and yet, the medium isn’t as widely known as it should be. This exhibition will hopefully increase visitors’ understanding of the unique art form.”

Off the Shelf explores a variety of subjects from animals and classic children’s tales such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, to works by specific artists, such as Pierre Bonnard, Wassily Kandinsky, and Dieter Roth. Among the many notable collaborations highlighted in the exhibition are My Pretty Pony (1988) by Stephen King and Barbara Kruger; The Departure of the Argonaut (1986), an enormous volume—more than 4 feet wide when opened—of color lithographs by Francesco Clemente and letterpress text by Albert Salvinio; 1¢ Life (1964), more than 60 vibrant color lithographs by Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and others that accompany poems by Walasse Ting; Ready for Anything (1958), Joan Miró’s whimsical color woodcuts with text by Paul Éluard; and Bestiary, or The Parade of Orpheus (1911), a book of elaborate animal woodcuts by Raoul Dufy with poems by Guillaume Apollinaire.

Digital images of several of the artist’s books and related videos, including a recording of a self-playing piano using Michalis Pichler’s A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance (2008) as sheet music, will be available for visitors on iPads in the exhibition. Facsimiles of some of the books, as well as English translations of some of the foreign language texts, will also be available.

Curated by Rena Hoisington


Off the Shelf: Modern & Contemporary Artists’ Books was organized in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins University’s Program in Museums and Society, and supported by The Johns Hopkins University through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Trust U/W of Helen M. Hughes.