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Exhibitions in the Arts Library: Past Exhibitions

Photobooks at the Arts & Beinecke Libraries

Image copyright Peter Malutzki

Collections in Conversation: Photobooks at the Arts & Beinecke Libraries

April 10 - May 26, 2017

Photographs have had a home in the book format since the earliest days of photography. However, the interest in and study of the ‘photobook’ as a form is a more recent phenomenon. The definition of a photobook is still fluid in critical discussions, and perhaps it is this lack of rigid characteristics that makes the art form so interesting to collect and study. This exhibition highlights the work of the Arts and Beinecke Libraries to collect photobooks in a wide variety of formats and explores how the collecting practices of these two libraries intersect and complement each other. Together, these two collections offer a broad historical context in which to examine and critically engage with this emergent form.

The Arts Library has been collecting books by photographers for decades as part of its mission to document trends in the art world to support teaching and research at Yale. Furthermore, the Arts of the Book Collection actively collects the book arts in all formats, including books that use photography. The Beinecke Library has a long history of collecting original photography, particularly related to the American West. More recent acquisitions expand the scope of Beinecke’s photography collections to focus on women photographers in the Peter Palmquist Collection and contemporary photobooks in the Indie Photobook Library/Larissa Leclair Collection.

Image copyright Peter Malutzki. Used with permission. From Lucy in the Sky: Big Brother is Watching You...

“The Play’s the Thing”: 50 Years of Yale Repertory Theatre

“The Play’s the Thing”: 50 Years of Yale Repertory Theatre
January 12-March 31, 2017

In 1966, Robert Brustein, Dean of Yale School of Drama, founded Yale Repertory Theatre, a resident professional company that would serve as the equivalent of a “teaching hospital” for theater artists in training. From the beginning, the company has focused on championing new plays alongside productions of classic works. Fifty years later, after winning a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater and launching numerous world premieres that have gone on to Broadway and theaters around the world, Yale Rep continues to nurture and challenge daring artists, bold choices, and adventurous audiences.

This exhibition features production photographs from Manuscripts and Archives and archival materials from Arts Library Special Collections. It accompanies Yale Rep at 50: Daring Artists, Bold Choices, a selection of more than 70 production photographs spanning the company’s five-decade history, on view January 10-April 8 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, as well as a smaller exhibition of the same name at the Study at Yale.

Image: Jarlath Conroy and Paul Giamatti in Hamlet, 2013. Photograph by Joan Marcus for Yale Repertory Theatre.

The Book As Stage: Performance and Theater in the Book Arts

Tora Bora by Art Hazelwood.
The Book As Stage: Performance and Theater in the Book Arts

September 26 – December 18, 2016

The book format has long been used as a vehicle for artistic expression. This exhibition focuses on the presentation of theatrical texts and documentation of performance in the book arts. The objects on display showcase the space of the page in fine printing and modern typographical renditions of dramatic works. Additionally, examples of puppetry, portable stage sets, and tunnel books reveal the space of the book itself as a place for performance.

Image: Tora Bora by Art Hazelwood. Image used with permission.

An American in Paris: The Beaux-Arts Education of Shepherd Stevens

Twelve Hour Admission Sketch Problem (July 1905). Shepherd Stevens Papers (MS 865), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library

March 1 - September 18, 2016

An American in Paris features drawings and other documents bequeathed to Yale University Library by Shepherd Stevens, a professor of architecture at Yale (1920-1947) who studied at the renowned Ėcole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the early twentieth century (1905-1908). An institution of art and architectural design attended by many Americans, the Ėcole offered a curriculum grounded in the study of historical precedents, with emphasis on architecture as art.  This selection of items from the Shepherd Stevens Papers, housed in the architectural archives at Sterling Memorial Library, provides a glimpse of student life and pedagogy at the Ėcole, as well as the early Beaux-Arts curriculum at Yale.  Other exhibits on the history of the Ėcole, and its influence at Yale, can be seen in Pedagogy and Place: Celebrating 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale at the School of Architecture Gallery (December 3, 2015—May 7, 2016).  

Curated by Suzanne Noruschate, Architecture Records Archivist, Manuscripts & Archives

Image: Detail of Twelve Hour Admission Sketch Problem (July 1905). Shepherd Stevens Papers (MS 865), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. Series IV, Box 26A.


The Song of Songs

Illustration from The Song of Songs (Book Club of California, 1922)

“How right they are to adore you!”: The Song of Songs interpreted through fine printing

Exhibition on view September 28, 2015 – February 19, 2016

The Song of Songs, also known as the Song of Solomon or Canticles, is a book of the Bible that is more lyrical than other parts of the Bible, containing poems about love.  For over a century, modern fine printers have been inspired by these expressions of joy and pain, producing beautiful editions that celebrate this classical text through a high level of craft, deluxe materials, illustration, and typography.  This exhibition shows examples from Arts Library Special Collections and the Divinity Library that demonstrate a range of approaches in design, printing, and illustration.

Artist, printer, and publisher Robin Price is currently in production on her interpretation of The Song of Songs.  She is working in collaboration with artist Barbara Benish, type designer Liron Lavi Turkenich, and vocal artist Victoria Hanna.  Process materials from this new work are included in the exhibition. Robin Price and Barbara Benish will speak about their collaboration on this project on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 3pm in the Sterling Memorial Library lecture hall. After their presentation, join us to print keepsakes in The Bibliographical Press, also in Sterling Memorial Library, 130 Wall Street. This event is free and open to the public.

William Blake and the Book Arts

Illuminated Printing: William Blake and the Book Arts

Monday, March 2, 2015 - Friday, August 21, 2015

William Blake (1757-1827) was a British poet, painter, engraver, and printer. Blake developed an unorthodox method of printmaking called relief etching, which he referred to as “illuminated printing.” Using this process, Blake created such powerful works as The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Blake’s practices of crafting a dialog between text and image and controlling all aspects of book production are reflected in the individualist spirit of today’s book arts. This exhibit includes examples from the Special Collections of the Haas Family Arts Library of work by contemporary artists who have been influenced by William Blake’s legacy.

This exhibition is a companion to the first major collaborative exhibition between the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art: The Critique of Reason: Romantic Art, 1760–1860, on view at the Yale University Art Gallery from March 6 - July 26, 2015. The Haas Family Arts Library actively supports arts-area research by members of the Yale, national, and international communities.

This exhibition was curated by Patricia Guardiola as part of her project for the 2014-2015 Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship.

Beyond the Codex


November 7, 2014-February 1, 2015

The Arts of the Book Collection, part of the Special Collections at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, strives to document the many trends in the wide-ranging field of book arts. One such trend comprises artists who challenge the traditional codex format with unexpected sculptural renderings. Yet, these works often preserve other conventions of the book, such as narrative and reader interaction. Sculptural book objects allow readers to appreciate the book for its physical format as well as its content. Such an experience informs future interactions with codex and non-codex formats alike.

This exhibition is a companion to the student-curated exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery: Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection, on view from November 7, 2014 - February 1, 2015. Additionally, Beyond the Codex is a companion to Connecticut (un)Bound at the local non-profit gallery Artspace, on view starting November 7, 2014 and running through January 2015. The Haas Family Arts Library actively supports the research of the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) in addition to arts-area research by member of the Yale, national, and international communities. Beyond the Codex features works in the Arts Library's collections by artists selected for inclusion in Odd Volumes and Connecticut (un)Bound as well as artists not represented at YUAG, thus highlighting the complementary nature of the Arts of the Book Collection and the YUAG's Allan Chasanoff Collection.

Beyond the Codex is free and open to the public in the William H. Wright Exhibit Area in the lower level of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library.  Enter through the Loria Center at 190 York Street.  Public access hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm.  The Yale community can see the exhibit any time the library is open, seven days a week.

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of AIGA: A Legacy of Contributions from Yale (2014)

Curated by Holly Hatheway, Assistant Director for Collections, Research & Access Services

June 30 - September 16, 2014, William H. Wright Exhibit Area, lower level Haas Arts Library

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) was established "to stimulate and encourage those engaged in the graphic arts." Throughout the organization's 100 year history, the membership has included the most outstanding exponents of the arts of printing, bookmaking, typography and design, illustration, printmaking, ink and paper making, and photography, as well as representing artists, publishers, booksellers, and collectors.

Yale University faculty, alumni, and University Printers have a long history of membership and contributions to AIGA including a legacy of leadership, award winning design, publications, scholarship, and mentorship of the next generation.  This exhibition showcases Yale's contributions to AIGA and the discipline of graphic design through a wide variety of activities including design education, participation in AIGA competitions, and as recipients of the prestigious AIGA Medal, which celebrates life-long contributions to the profession.

Jazz and the Book Arts (2014)

February 24-June 16, 2014 | Curator: Jae Jennifer Rossman, Yale Library

Improvisation is the word that first comes to mind for many when they think of jazz. Imagine musicians playing together, being inspired by each other’s performance, and collaborating to make something new. Many visual artists take a similar approach, especially those working in the highly collaborative field of the book arts. This exhibition showcases artists who have been inspired by jazz music and musicians to create bookworks. Additionally, it presents examples of bookworks that have been inspired by other types of music and sound.

This exhibition is a companion to the student-curated exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery: Jazz Lives: The Photographs of Lee Friedlander and Milt Hinton, on view at 1111 Chapel Street from April 4- September 7. The Haas Family Arts Library actively supports the research of the Yale University Art Gallery in addition to research by members of the Yale, national, and international arts communities.


Withal the Craft: The Life and Work of Carl Purington Rollins

April 22 - December 6, 2013 | Guest curator: Chika Ota, Rollins Fellow in Design Communications, Office of the Yale University Printer

Carl Purington Rollins was Yale's first University Printer. In the course of four decades, he designed more than two thousand books for Yale University Press as well as most of the University's ephemeral materials, and he introduced the craft letterpress tradition to students with his Bibliographical Press (now -- as originally -- housed in Sterling Memorial Library). Upon his death in 1960 at age 80, Rollins left a rich intellectual legacy of printing and design scholarship and an enormous archive of printed works that feature his distinctive typographic style.

Despite having received the highest distinction in his field -- the American Institute of Graphic Arts medal -- and the accolades of his peers, Rollins is virtually unknown today. This exhibition explores his life and works from his early days as printer for a utopian community in Massachusetts to his later work for Yale and numerous academic and graphic societies. It also traces the influence of William Morris on Rollins's early work and explores how Rollins's approach to design continues to influence both the University's visual "brand" and the teaching of design at Yale today.

Color Bound: Book Artists Seek Inspiration From Color Theory

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013 to Friday, Apr 12, 2013 | Curator: Jae Jennifer Rossman, Yale Library

Drawn from the Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color this exhibition explores how the discipline of color theory has influenced the makers of contemporary artists' books and livre d'artiste. Book artists have engaged color theory in a rigorous, yet not specifically scientific, manner. How has the work of important color theorists been employed by book artists? How have more ephemeral, but equally important, color resources, such as paint chip catalogs, inspired works of art in the book form? How has research into color preference and visual phenomena been interpreted by artists?

The extensive examples in the exhibition will explore three major trends in this surprisingly fertile sub-category of book art. The first section looks at bookworks that embrace systems of color, particularly by well-known figures in the history of color theory. Many of these works are an homage to the theorist's original work. The second section emphasizes conceptual bookworks. The artists' books in the third section reference color nomenclature or identification. As works of art, all of the bookworks on display defy easy categorization; many of the works have characteristics of more than one category.

For more information on the collection:


Staging History, Making History : The Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre

August 27, 2012 to December 18, 2012 | Curator: Lindsay King, Yale Library

Staging History, Making History, an exhibit of materials from Arts Library Special Collections, traces how events in world history have shaped the history of the School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theatre. The exhibit begins with historical pageant programs collected by George Pierce Baker, the first head of the Department of Drama at Yale. It continues with productions at Yale during World War II on through the turbulence of the later twentieth century, and leads up to American Night: The Ballad of Juan José, the opening production of the current Yale Repertory Theatre season.

Archival materials in Arts Library Special Collections document activities onstage and behind the scenes at Yale in collections of ephemera, scripts, production materials, and MFA theses. These materials complement the circulating Drama collection within the Arts Library that supports current and future productions.

The exhibit represents only a small sample of the Drama-related materials held in Arts Library Special Collections and other library locations on campus. Programs, scripts, sketches, memos, posters, and other materials are included, along with production photographs reproduced from the Yale School of Drama Photographs and Posters collection in Manuscripts and Archives.

[Your Name Here]: The Ex-Libris and Image Making

Monday, Apr 30, 2012 to Friday, Aug 17, 2012 | Curator: Molly Dotson, Yale Library

Also known as ex-libris, bookplates are labels pasted inside the front covers of books to indicate ownership. This exhibition explores the ex-libris through the theme of image making. Despite its small format, the bookplate is an inventive art form that inspires artists working in an encyclopedic array of graphic media. The bookplate functions as a mark of possession; however, this simple purpose belies how fervently book owners and artists consider the bookplate a vehicle for self-expression. [Your Name Here] examines both historic and modern examples of bookplates with a variety of motifs. It also uncovers how questions of authorship arise in the collaboration between artist and patron as well as in the act of collecting itself.

With an estimated one million individual bookplate specimens, dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, the Yale Bookplate Collection is one of the largest such collections in the world. However, this collection is not a singular entity; rather, its holdings comprise many different collections and an assortment of documentary materials. It is a unique visual archive that forms a timeline of the history and the art of the ex-libris. Moreover, the collection serves as a significant resource for the study of bookplates as well as that of biography and histories of the book, art and design, and collecting. In addition to bookplates, the selections on view include process materials, original sketches, correspondence, publications, and other related printed ephemera.

Threads of Influence: The Visual History of a Life in Graphic Design

January 13, 2012 to April 13, 2012

The Book as Memorial: Book Artists Respond to and Remember 9/11

Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011 to Friday, Dec 16, 2011

Ten years have passed since the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, in several locations on the East Coast of the United States.  People in all parts of the country were affected and many of them looked for ways to respond.  This exhibition shows art work created by artists in response to the events of that fateful day.  Specifically, this exhibition focuses on works that memorialize the people lost and the indescribable sense that we, as a people, also lost something more intangible.  Some might call it a sense of innocence, others might call it a sense of safety, but few Americans would deny that the world felt changed after that day.  Using the book format, these artists have given form to these difficult thoughts and emotions to share with a wider audience and to help us remember.

The exhibition includes work by: Art of the Book program (Art School, Pratt Institute), Maureen Cummins, Mimi Gross & Charles Bernstein (Granary Books), Kate Ferrucci (People to People Press), Emily Martin (Naughty Dog Press), Mac McGill (Booklyn Artists Alliance), Sara Parkel (Filter Press), Werner Pfeiffer (Pear Whistle Press), Maria G. Pisano (Memory Press), Otis Rubottom, Sibyl Rubottom & Jim Machacek (Bay Park Press), Rocco Scary, Gaylord Schanilec & Richard Goodman (Midnight Paper Sales), Robbin Ami Silverberg (Dobbin Books), Patricia M. Smith (P.S. Press), Gail Watson (Zuni Press), Marshall Weber (Booklyn Artists Alliance), Pamela S. Wood (Rarehare Creations), J. Meejin Yoon (Printed Matter & Whitney Museum of American Art)

Collections in Conversation II, Structure Explored: Architectural Themes in the Book Arts

Thursday, May 5, 2011 to Friday, Aug 26, 2011

This exhibition featured the pictorial bookplate of Samuel W. French [The Book Destroyed Architecture], from the Pearson-Lowenhaupt Collection of American and English Bookplates, Call # BKP 30. Read more about this work in the guide to Book Arts and Archi

Material Meets Metaphor: A Half Century of Book Art by Richard Minsky

Monday, Aug 2, 2010 to Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010

Richard Minsky, pioneering contemporary book artist and founder of the Center for Book Arts in New York City, is known for his conceptual approach to hand bookbinding and commitment to changing the perception of the book arts from craft to fine art. He combines a background in Economics with an innovative use of traditional methods and new materials to create sculptural, often political bookworks.  His blending of an eclectic mix of interests, from musical and theatre performance to social issues and virtual worlds, remain a hallmark of Minsky's career.  This exhibition showcases his editioned (non-commissioned, made in multiple copies) bookworks alongside selections from the Richard Minsky Archive, which documents the history of his career and his working process.

A PDF catalog of the exhibition is free to view and download at

For more information on Richard Minsky's work, including his own commentary, visit his web site,

Curator Jae Jennifer Rossman, Assistant Director for Special Collections
With assistance from Mia D'Avanza, 2009 Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship & Molly Dotson, 2010 Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship

Capturing the Inaccessible

Thursday, Oct 1, 2009 to Thursday, Dec 31, 2009

The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library welcomes the installation of 34 works by noted aerial photographer and Yale alumnus, Robert B. Haas '69. Included in the installation are both published and unpublished photographs from three different National Geographic book projects by Haas: Through the Eyes of the Gods: An Aerial Vision of Africa (2005), Through the Eyes of the Condor: An Aerial Vision of Latin America (2007) and Through the Eyes of the Vikings: An Aerial Vision of Arctic Lands (forthcoming). The 18 images in the William H. Wright Exhibition Area will be on view through December. The 16 images installed in the atrium of the Haas Family Arts Library will remain on display. For more information see the press release.

Collections in Conversation: Drama

April 30, 2009 to June 30, 2009 | Curator: Colleen Reilly

Collections in Conversation is the first in a series of three exhibits featuring the major holdings of the Arts Library Special Collections through the lens of a single discipline. This exhibit highlights materials that depict, document, and draw on the history and practice of theatre across the Architecture, Art History, Arts of the Book, and Drama collections. The exhibit includes selections from the Yale Rockefeller Theatrical Print Collection, the Puppetry Collection, the Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color, the Bookplate Collection, and selected artists’ books. The placement of these items alongside one another points to the possibilities of interdisciplinary research across these rich collections.

Poison America: Sharon Gilbert Bookworks

June 4, 2007 to September 27 , 2007 | Curator: Courtney J. Martin, Ph.D., History of Art, '08

Born in 1944, Sharon Gilbert engaged with many of the most pressing social and cultural currents of her time. As a child of both the Cold War and the civic upheavals of the 1960s in America, she used the medium of artists’ books to tackle national anxieties ranging from nuclear waste to sexism to the American workday. Often executed with textual wit and visual puns, her production engaged a variety of aesthetic strategies, most notably, repetition and collage. Gilbert’s frequent use of the photo-copy machine was both innovative and effective, a demonstration of her interest in mechanization and her skill in moving between forms of graphic media. Poison America, a title taken from one her works, presents a selection of her books from the late 1970s to the present. Included with Gilbert’s artists’ books are other artists’ books that are in aesthetic, media, or contextual dialogue with hers. These include her contemporary Dona Ann McAdams, her colleague in the political art collective, Political Art Documentation & Distribution Archive (PAD/D), and other copy-art artists Mariona Barkus, Louise Neaderland, and John Wood. In addition to the bookworks on display, the exhibition features an essay by Martin.

The Belgian Illustrated Book: 1918-2004

February 4 - April 29, 2005 | Curators: Jae Jennifer Rossman, Yale Library & Jan Baetens, University of Leuven, Belgium

The international exhibition exploring the intersection of book arts and graphic art in Belgium is jointly sponsored by the Arts of the Book Collection, Yale University Library; the Departments of French and Comparative Literature; Le Commissariat Général des Relations Internationales (Belgium); and Les Archives et Musée de la Littérature (Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier). The exhibition explores the evolution and flourishing of illustrated books in the Flemish and French-speaking regions of Belgium and pays special attention to the astonishing development of the bande dessinée (comic strip or book) in Belgium during the twentieth-century. Situated between the major cultural centers Amsterdam and Paris and with a population divided into two major linguistic groups, Belgium has a strong tradition of book illustration, as well as the publication of illustrated books priced for popular sale. A tradition of images with or without words has emerged and contemporary artists, such as Olivier Deprez, continue the lineage, which boasts artists such as Frans Maseerel, Henri Michaux, and Marcel Broodthaers. An important part of this tradition, the bande dessinée, establishes its first great claim with the Tintin series by Hergé and continues via many other artists such as Jijé and Franquin, appealing to a wide adult as well as a younger audience. View the exhibit narrative and checklist online.

By Chance: Serendipity and Randomness in Contemporary Artists' Books

August 12 - November 6, 2002 | Curators: Robin Price, Printer & Publisher, Middletown, CT & Jae Jennifer Rossman, Yale Library

Chance is often a factor in the creation of artwork. Making books and other art works by hand allows serendipity and randomness to become part of the process. Over the years many artists have purposefully incorporated chance operations into their creative method. This exhibit shows examples of works that use chance in different ways: blind collaboration (working separately on the same project, without knowing what the other is doing), chance in the concept or content of the book, found materials as instigators for creation, randomness determined by reader interaction with the work, careful documentation of a chance moment in time, chance developments from purposeful spontaneity, and calculated chance operations. Using both historical and modern examples, the show illustrates different approaches by artists who have embraced unpredictability.
See the checklist.

Poetics, Politics, and Song: Contemporary Latin American/Latino(a) Artists' Books

September 14 - November 27, 2000 | Curator: D. Vanessa Kam, 2000 Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship

This exhibition documented the work of seventeen Latin American and Latino(a) book artists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. The display featured over 20 works drawn entirely from collections at Yale University. The earliest works, dating from the early 1970s, illustrate the evolution of Brazilian Concrete poetry; the most recent works date from the late 1990s. Although most of the works were produced by artists living and working in Latin America and the Caribbean, the exhibition also features objects created by artists who currently live in the U.S., or who undertook artists' residencies in the U.S. or Europe. See the online exhibition.