About the Collection
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library is part of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. The Hirshhorn has a collection of artists’ books, mainly artists’ multiples. Works in the library support the museum’s collections. So if the museum holds works by an artist in its permanent collection, the library may collect bookworks by that artist. As a result, the Hirshhorn library has a large collection of artists’ books by artists like Sol LeWitt and Ed Ruscha.
Finding Artists’ Books
To find artists’ books at the Hirshhorn Library use SIRIS, the Smithsonian’s online public access catalog. Under the Search tab at the top, click “Combined.” When the “Search by” page comes up, enter “artists’ books” under “Subject Keyword.” Also, under “Limits” select “Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library” in the right-side menu. Click the arrow to perform the search. This will create a list of books located at the Hirshhorn that have been marked as artists’ books.
How to Get There
700 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560
The library is located in the Hirshhorn Museum, at the corner of 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Take the Green, Yellow, Orange, or Blue line to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. Take the 7th Street SW and Maryland Ave SW/Smithsonian exit, and walk one block north on 7th Street.
What to Expect
To view artists’ books from the collection, make an appointment by calling 202-633-2773 or emailing . The library is open Monday to Friday, 10 to 5, except for federal holidays. After you arrive at the museum, let the guard know you have an appointment to do research. You will need to be escorted up to the library on the fourth floor. Before you leave the museum, have a look at a sculptural bookwork on permanent display, though sometimes moved for exhibits: Lucas Samaras’ Book No. 6, a book stuck full of straight pins, can usually be found in a plexiglass case on the second floor.
Library Collection: Selected Artists’ Books
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library
Featuring Artists’ Books in a Museum’s Collection
Lucas Samaras, Book No. 6 (Treasures of the Metropolitan)
Political Messages in Artists’ Books
Reading Reading Red