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Exhibitions in the Arts Library: Past Exhibitions

Teaching with Slides: The History of the Visual Resources Collection at Yale

Teaching with Slides: The History of the Visual Resources Collection at Yale

On view from March 13, 2023 to March 3, 2024

Yale University’s Visual Resources Collection dates to the 1930s and comprises approximately 370,000 slides (both lantern and 35mm) and 187,000 mounted photographs related to global art, architecture, and material culture. The collection was formed in response to curricular needs to support teaching and research in the Arts and Humanities. Yale’s VRC slide library was an independent entity located on High Street until 2008 when it was folded into the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library operations and collections, and physically moved to the Haas Arts Library.

The history of this collection mirrors the development of many visual resource collections in the twentieth century: from small operations within art history departments to broad collections that supply images for diverse uses across campus and outside the university.

This exhibition is a celebration of the history of the Visual Resources Collection and the key partners who contributed to the impact and evolution of this collection at Yale Library.

Curated by Sarah Coe, Visual Resources Support Specialist at Yale University Library; Tess Colwell, Arts Librarian for Research Services at Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library; and Maria Zapata, Technical Assistant at Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library

A Few Words Worn Around the Edges, Pressed into Something Soft: Ten West Coast Women Printers

A Few Words Worn Around the Edges, Pressed into Something Soft: Ten West Coast Women Printers

A Few Words Worn Around the Edges, Pressed into Something Soft: Ten West Coast Women Printers

On view from September 5, 2022 to March 5, 2023

Women have been involved in the printing and production of books in what became the United States since Elizabeth Glover established a press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1638. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 forced her to flee the United States, Mary Ann Shadd, an African American woman, founded and published. The Provincial Freeman, an antislavery newspaper, in 1853 in Ontario, Canada. This exhibition celebrates the important history of women in printing and publishing by featuring ten women artists, illustrators, and printers currently working on the West Coast of the United States. Through individual efforts and collaborations, apprenticing and mentoring, they produce sometimes stunning objects that push our understanding of “the book” and the role it can play in questioning the world we live in and celebrating contemporary efforts to achieve a more just, inclusive, and diverse society.

The title of the exhibition, “A few words worn around the edges, pressed into something soft,” is a quote from Inge Bruggeman’s The Quickest Forever (2017), which is displayed in Case 3.

Curated by Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library staff members Jessica Becker, Public Services Assistant, and Bill Landis, Education Program Director.

The William H. Wright Special Collections Exhibition Area is located on the lower level of the Haas Family Arts Library (due to COVID 19 restrictions, exhibitions are currently open only to Yale affiliates authorized to be on campus).

there are the ones who do see me: Celebrating Yale Women Artists

there are the ones who do see me: Celebrating Yale Women Artists

there are the ones who do see me: Celebrating Yale Women Artists

On view from April 2 to August 26, 2022

As part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Women at Yale, this exhibition highlights works by women who have graduated from the School of Art, Yale’s first coeducational school. The education of women has been a fundamental part of the School’s mission since its foundation. The initial bequest that made the School possible was a donation of Augustus and Caroline Street specifically for “a school for practical instruction, open to both sexes, for such as propose to follow art as a profession.” Drawn from Arts Library Special Collections, these artists books, prints, and photo books span the last six decades and offer a glimpse into the exceptional careers of 27 women artists counted amongst Yale University alumni.

The title of the exhibition, “there are the ones who do see me” is a quote from Gertrude Stein’s How to Write (1931) as it appears in one of Eve Fowler’s (M.F.A. 1992) posters on display.


Curated by Allison Comrie, 2019-20 Kress Fellow in Art Librarianship, and Mar González Palacios, Associate Director, Arts Library Special Collections

The William H. Wright Special Collections Exhibition Area is located on the lower level of the Haas Family Arts Library (due to COVID 19 restrictions, exhibitions are currently open only to Yale affiliates authorized to be on campus).

Lux et Femina: Women in Graphic Design at Yale

Image: Loide Marwanga. Transplants (detail), 2015. THESIS GD 2015 MAR. Special Collections, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University.

Lux et Femina: Women in Graphic Design at Yale

September 10, 2021 to February 27, 2022 extended to March 25, 2022

Part of the 50WomenAtYale150, this exhibition highlights works by women who graduated from the Graphic Design program at Yale School of Art. Like all the school’s programs, Graphic Design—the first graduate program in graphic design in the United States—has been coeducational since its founding, which took place in 1951 under Alvin Eisenman (1921–2013). The program, with its focus on problem solving and communication, is known for its ethos of innovation and its feminist legacy—a legacy that has only increased since 1990, when Sheila Levrant de Bretteville (born 1940; MFA 1964) became the program’s second director and the first tenured female faculty member at the Yale School of Art.

Lux et Femina represents seventy years of Yale’s Graphic Design program and includes the work of twenty remarkable designers. It pairs their thesis books, a core requirement for the MFA degree, with samples of postgraduate projects for corporate, government, and cultural-sector clients as well as projects reflecting a strong involvement in art and activism. The professional projects often reveal interconnected themes and strategies whose origins are rooted in the designers’ innovative student work. The phrase “Lux et Femina,” a play on Yale’s motto, “Lux et Veritas,” was coined at the start of the 150th anniversary celebrations, which began in 2019 and continue with this exhibition and the Yale University Art Gallery’s concurrent On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale.

Curated by Miko McGinty (B.A. 1993, M.F.A. 1998) and Mar González Palacios, Associate Director, Arts Library Special Collections

The William H. Wright Special Collections Exhibition Area is located on the lower level of the Haas Family Arts Library (due to COVID 19 restrictions, exhibitions are currently open only to Yale affiliates authorized to be on campus).

The First University Art School: 150 Years of the Yale School of Art

Yale School of Fine Arts students in a painting classroom

Students in a painting classroom. School of Fine Arts, Yale University, photographs (RU 890), box 1, folder 1.
Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

The First University Art School: 150 Years of the Yale School of Art

September 20, 2019 to January 18, 2020

This exhibition celebrates the first 150 years of the Yale School of Art. When the School of the Fine Arts opened in 1869, Yale became the first university to create an art school.

Stand-alone art academies, such as the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (1563), Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, Paris (1648), and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (1768), existed since the late Renaissance. In America, the Yale School of the Fine Arts was preceded by the New York Academy of Fine Arts (1802–41), the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts (1805), and Cooper Union (1859).

Since the very beginning, the Yale School of Art has educated students in contemporary artistic practices including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Within the first couple of decades, the curriculum expanded to include classes in drama and architecture. Over the last century, as deans and directors adapted to changing times and new artistic directions, the courses in these two disciplines were developed, first into full programs and, eventually, into their own professional schools: the School of Drama and the School of Architecture. The School of Art currently offers graduate programs in graphic design, painting/ printmaking, sculpture, and photography as well as an undergraduate art major in Yale College.

Through items from Manuscripts and Archives and Arts Library Special Collections such as early photographs, departmental records, and student work, this exhibition illustrates moments in the evolution of the Yale School of Art, the faculty and students who have shaped the school, and the spaces they have inhabited.

Curated by Miko McGinty (’93 BA, ’98 MFA) and Mar González Palacios, Associate Director, Arts Library Special Collections

Text and Image in the Hebrew Bible

Detail from Illuminating Visions by Andi Arnovitz

Arnovitz, Andi, [one of 53 leafs], Illuminating Visions, 2012. Image copyright Andi Arnovitz. Used with permission.

Text and Image in the Hebrew Bible

May 17 - September 16, 2019

Artists have been drawn to the Hebrew Bible for inspiration from the Middle Ages to the present. The vivid stories recounted in the biblical text from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis, to Ruth gleaning in the field of Boaz in the Book of Ruth serve as fertile ground for the creation of graphic art. This is particularly true for book artists for whom image and text are integrally bound. Choosing from the rich holdings of biblical art books in the Arts Library Special Collections, this exhibit illustrates how several modern artists interpret and reinterpret books in the Hebrew Bible.  

We generally understand commentary to be with words. However, an image may also serve as a lens through which we view text. Beyond the image, magnificent calligraphy and design are other features that enhance the aesthetic pleasure of viewing the works on display. The books on view represent the work of artists who have a deep emotional attachment to the texts they illustrate and who bring this passion to their work. On display one can view the same biblical book illustrated by different artists. The Scroll of Esther, for example, is illuminated by Metavel, Tamar Messer and Avner Moriah. Ecclesiastes is illuminated by Tamar Messer and Shraga Weil. Also of note are superb calligraphy examples of modern-day scribes such as Metavel, David Moss, and Izzy Pludwinski. Each artist brings their individual artistic style and sensitivity to the books’ illustrations and calligraphy.

Curated by Nanette Stahl, Joseph and Ceil Mazer Librarian for Judaic Studies, Yale University Library

Science as Art in Artists' Books

Zopp, Dudley, ["Day Six" detail], Is there something we can do, 2017. Image copyright Dudley Zopp. Used with permission.

Zopp, Dudley, ["Day Six" detail], Is there something we can do, 2017. Image copyright Dudley Zopp. Used with permission.

Science as Art in Artists' Books

February 1-May 10, 2019

The adage “more art than science” presupposes an intellectual separation between these two fields. Yet artists and scientists alike ask questions, observe phenomena, experiment with materials, make discoveries, and present information. Since artists’ books often combine textual with visual communication and raise questions about variability alongside reproducibility, they are suitable sites for reconsidering some of the disciplinary debates and divides between art and science. 

These works from Arts Library Special Collections are scientific in subject, method, aesthetic, or some combination thereof. They range from atomic to planetary in scope and from data-driven to much more abstract meditations. Some items explore various histories of science (or pseudoscience), whereas others analyze empirical evidence. Still others draw analogies between the book as object and various natural features.

On Numbers and System and Symbol

Loculus of Archimedes (Cutler Solution 17, reflected version), from 13 divided by 14 by Harriet Bart (2004).

On Numbers as System and Symbol

September 17-December 14, 2018

Douglas R. Hofstadter writes in his 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braidthat “there is something clean and pure in the abstract notion of number, removed from counting beads, dialects, or clouds” (p. 56). And yet, numbers are necessarily bound up with questions of representation, as notions of singularity and plurality allow us to make distinctions and draw boundaries. Numbers can indicate quantity but also size, sequence, importance, and identity.

This exhibition presents a selection of works from Arts Library Special Collections that incorporate various aspects of numbers. The books on display include almanacs, maps, musical scores, poems, and puzzles. They employ both practical and theoretical approaches to numbers—from counting sheep (and even clouds) to exploring such concepts as time, distance, money, and magnitude. Other books examine the relationship between numbers and language or color. Whether system or symbol, concrete or abstract, numbers = meaning.

Text & Textile in Arts Library Special Collections

[Detail of slipcase textile], Negative Entropy (2015) by Mika Tajima. Image copyright Mika Tajima. Used with permission.

Mika Tajima, [Textile detail], Negative Entropy (2015). Image copyright Mika Tajima. Used with permission.

Text & Textile in Arts Library Special Collections

April 9-August 6, 2018

Text and textile are linked far beyond their shared linguistic origin in the Latin verb texere, meaning to weave. Both are situated at intersections of the material and the cultural. Craft, content, and context determine their use values and multiple meanings over time. A multitude of technologies and techniques of the hand and the machine give structure to words as well as fibers. Such verbal and visual transformations may appear on the surface of the thing itself or lie beneath the assembly of interlocking, overlapping, or contrasting elements.

This selection of materials held by the Haas Arts Library Special Collections ranges from a late 18th-century recipe for blue dye to a flipbook rendition of Scheherazade’s nightly storytelling routine. Some works incorporate various methods of textile practice. Others draw parallels through language, pattern, or material. This exhibition is a companion to the Beinecke Library’s Text and Textile exhibition on view from May 3 to August 12.


Pati Scobey, [Torso detail], A Printer's Exquisite Corpse (1992). Image copyright Pati Scobey. Used with permission.

Pati Scobey, [Torso detail], A Printer's Exquisite Corpse (1992). Image copyright Pati Scobey. Used with permission.


January 8–March 31, 2018

Though damaged and incomplete, the marble figure in Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Archaic Torso of Apollo” still commands a powerful presence “from all the borders of itself” (trans. Stephen Mitchell). With such anthropomorphic anatomy as spines, heads, fronts, and backs, books are conceptualized as bodies. Their covers are discrete surface boundaries, giving books the properties of interiority and exteriority. Both books and bodies become entities by which we structure and understand our world and ourselves.

This exhibition presents a small selection of the many books held in the Haas Arts Library Special Collections on the subject of bodies. On display are a series of books in which bodies are measured, dissected, abstracted, politicized, and aestheticized. By representing the body in book form, artists can question and reinterpret the nature and contrivances of such concepts as opening/closing, time/transformation, and materiality/immateriality.

Learning from Letterforms, Past & Present

Letter A detail from Desideratum… (1874) by F.W. Devoe & Co. Arts Library Special Collections call number AOB 55

[Letter A detail] from Desideratum… (1874) by F.W. Devoe & Co. Arts Library Special Collections call number AOB 55

Learning from Letterforms, Past & Present

September 25–December 15, 2017

A letter is the smallest unit in an alphabetic system of writing, though this is only one of many systems for recording and transmitting language. Letterforms also have meaning beyond the speech sounds they represent. Their formal and material qualities bear witness to a long tradition of abstract symbols enabling the exchange of ideas. The flourish of a pen stroke or particular angle of a serif reveals technological constraints and stylistic conventions. The lines of letterforms are marks of re-creation, refinement, and reinterpretation.

This exhibition features examples from the many resources available in Arts Library Special Collections for the exploration and study of letterforms. These include both historical and contemporary type specimens, penmanship copybooks, and graphic identity manuals as well as broadsides, bookplates, and artists’ books.

The Artist and the Garden

The Artist and the Garden

June 5 - September 15, 2017

The garden is often thought of as a place of tranquility and repose. With the cycle of growth and the seasons, it is also a place of creativity and renewal. A myriad of shapes, colors, textures, sounds, and smells offer inspiration to the artist. The book arts also offer myriad options for an artist to express their engagement with the garden. Along with the traditional codex, miniature, folio, and interactive non-codex formats, as well as colorful illustrations and typographic interpretations transport the reader to this place of beauty and wonder.

The works in this exhibition explore topics such as gardens through the seasons, the beauty and utility of common weeds, and garden dwellers such as bugs and birds. Also included are books that document the use of garden plants for papermaking and that identify flower colors for the serious horticulturalist.

This exhibition is a companion to two exhibitions at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 121 Wall Street. Happiness: The Writer in the Garden and Bird Watching are on display through August 12, 2017.

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

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

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

“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


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. 

Embodied at the Library: Special Collections Related to the Exhibition: Embodied: Black Identities in American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery

January 2-April 12, 2011

This exhibition included materials touching on a wide range of themes and issues related to the YUAG Embodied exhibition, including slavery, civil rights, societal tensions, and identity.

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.