René Crevel. Mr. Knife, Miss Fork. Paris: Black Sun, 1931. Cover

This exhibition presents a selection of experiments with novels from throughout the past hundred years. Early in the 20th century, modern artists illustrated canonical novels, while others conceived works of their own. In subsequent decades, artists and writers continued to integrate texts and images. In the 1960s and 1970s, a period of bold experimentation with books as an art form, practitioners engaged with conceptual, formal, and political aspects of the novel. In the 1980s, the novel became a site of critical interrogation through appropriations, “altered books,” and parodies. New fusions of image and text appeared in the graphic novels and photobooks of the 1990s. Today, artists continue to reinvent the novel, exploring the implications of digital texts, reimagining the traditional book, and playing with literary conventions.

Organized by Jennifer Tobias, Reader Services Librarian, MoMA Library.

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