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Book and Media Art Collection

The Book and Media Art Collection is home to more than 25,000 illustrated books spanning from the dawn of the printing press to the present day. The 1906 acquisition of the private collection belonging to the Berlin architect Hans Grisebach of works on typography and book design from the 15th to late 18th century forms the historical backbone of the Collection.

The collection of new book art (NB) was decisively shaped by the German book art movement, a reform movement from around the turn of the 20th century that sought to improve the formal, technical, and artistic quality of book printing. English publications by the Kelmscott Press and Doves Press, as well as by the German Janus Presse, Ernst-Ludwig-Presse, and Bremer Presse bring the Collection into the 19th century, as do the numerous illustrated books from France, England, and Germany. The Collection also includes books produced by the avant-garde, which introduced new ideas on book design, such as works by Jean Arp, Max Ernst, El Lissitzky, and Kurt Schwitters.

Starting in the 1980s, there was a concerted effort to build up a collection of artist’s books, conceived and designed by contemporary artists as works of art. The Collection expanded with accessions of Jasia Reichardt’s impressive collection on concrete poetry, the Fluxus collection of Hanns Sohm, book objects from the collection of Rolf Dittmar, as well as the artist’s books of the Franklin Furnace Institute in New York. The acquisition of the Marzona Collection brough some 20,000 books, editions and catalogues, magazines, invitation cards and posters, vinyl records, films, letters, and exhibition photographs, the bulk of which date from the 1960s. The rigid definition of book art was eroded by developments in the 1960s. This trend is partly reflected in the acquisition of the KIOSK Collection belonging to the publisher Christoph Keller, an archive of independent publishing in contemporary art. It features over 6,000 publications by numerous artists, galleries, museums, and publishers.

The objects from the Collection can be ordered to be viewed in the Study Room.

Research

Books: OPAC of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Book Design and Book Objects: Online collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The digital database only provides access to sections of the Book and Media Art Collections. If you cannot find particular objects on there, get in touch with the Kunstbibliothek by telephone or email.

Contact for Requesting Items from the Collections

Phone: +49 30 266424101
E-Mail: kb[at]smb.spk-berlin.de