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University of Groningen Library

University of Groningen Library More heritage Tentoonstelling: Dear reader. Don't read

Exhibition on each floor

Exhibition layout Dear reader. Don't read. Books as works of art - University Library City Centre

Based on different themes for each floor of the University Library, the exhibition highlights different aspects of conceptual artists’ books in the years 1960–1980. The books were groundbreaking at that time and have remained important afterwards. The centre of the exhibition can be found on the third floor.

THIRD FLOOR: Different forms of conceptual artists' books

The different forms of conceptual artists’ books are the focus in the stairwell and in the third-floor coffee corner. The age-old concepts employed by artists appear here in a new guise. In the same way that the elements of colour, form, line, size and material are used to create a painting or sculpture, conceptual artists use visual elements to visually engage the viewer in the artwork. The large display case in front of the Special Collections department contains books by Mexican artist Ulises Carrión, one of the pioneers of the conceptual artist’s book. These works come from private collections and the Groninger Museum.

Ed Ruscha: Coloured People, 1972
Ed Ruscha: Coloured People, 1972

Special Collections wall display (stairwell):

Ulises Carrión (Books by the Mexican artist Ulises Carrión from private collections and the Groninger Museum)

  • Tell me what sort of wall paper your room has and I will tell you who you are, 1973
  • Arguments, 1973
  • The Muxlows, 1978

Table displays (stairwell): Ed Ruscha, Stanley Brouwn and Sol LeWitt

Table display 1: Ed Ruscha

  • Twentysix gasoline stations, 1962
  • Various small fires and milk, 1964
  • Some Los Angeles apartments, 1965
  • Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966
  • Thirty-four parking lots, 1967
  • Royal road test, 1967
  • Nine swimming poles and a broken glass, 1968
  • Business cards, 1968
  • Crackers, 1969
  • Real Estate Opportunities , 1970
  • A few palm trees, 1971
  • Records, 1971
  • Dutch Details, 1971
  • Colored People, 1972
  • More information

Table display 2: Stanley Brouwn en Soll Lewit

Stanley Brouwn

  • Steps, 1971
  • Stanley Brouwn (Van Abbemuseum), 1976
  • 100 mm - 878 mm, 1978
  • One distance, 1981
  • Stanley Brouwn (Van Abbemuseum), 1997
  • Stanley Brouwn (Van Abbemuseum), 2005
  • More information

Sol LeWitt

  • 49 three-part variations using three different kind of cubes (1967-68), 1969
  • The location of eight points, 1974
  • The location of lines, 1974
  • The location of straight, not-straight & broken lines and all their combinations, 1976
Michael Snow: Cover to Cover, 1975
Michael Snow: Cover to Cover, 1975

Displays above the table displays (stairwell): Gilbert & George and Michael Snow

Gilbert & George

  • The paintings (with us in nature), 1971
  • George and Gilbert : the living sculptors (Australian visit), 1973
  • Dark Shadow, 1976

Michael Snow

  • Cover to cover, 1975

Displays in the coffee corner: John Baldessari and Daniel Buren

John Baldessari

  • Ingres and other parables, 1972
  • Choosing: Green Beans, 1972

Daniel Buren

  • Halifax: 7 days - 6 placements - 7 colors, 1974
  • Essai hétéroclite , 1981


The displays in the coffee corner on the fourth floor centre on the use of language in the books. Conceptual artists’ books often contain texts that use instructions, notes and descriptions to evoke a situation or event in the mind of the reader. Words and sentences, handwritten or typed, express the artist’s thoughts in different ways.

Gilbert & George: Dark Shadow, 1976
Gilbert & George: Dark Shadow, 1976

Displays coffeecorner

Jospeh Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, Marcel Broodthaers, Robert Barry, Hanne Darboven and Hetty Huisman

Joseph Kosuth

  • Function, Funzione, Funcion, Fonction, Funktion,1970
  • Teksten/textes, 1976

Lawrence Weiner

  • Once upon a time, 1973
  • 8 Arbeiten von Lawrence Weiner, 1973
  • Auf ein vernunftiges Ende zu, 1975
  • Various manners with various things, 1976
  • More information

Marcel Broodthaers

  • Eine Reise auf der Nordsee, 1973
  • No photographs allowed, 1975
  • L'angelus de Daumier, 1975

Robert Barry

  • All the things I know but of which I am not at the moment thinking - 1.36 pm, june 15, 1969, 1974
  • Belmont 1967, 1977

Hanne Darboven

  • Hanne Darboven: Ausstellung mit 6 Filmprojektoren nach 6 Büchern über 1968, 1969
  • Das Sehen ist na╠łmlich auch eine Kunst, 1974

Hetty Huisman

  • In betrachtung, 1979
  • Ter bezinking, 1982
  • In verhouding, 1984

SECOND FLOOR: Land Art and photography

Land Art and photography are the focus in the display cases on the second floor. Land Art is an art form in which artists create works in nature, for example by rearranging or removing branches, stones and soil. Some Land Art works are conceptual in that they only exist in the form of documentation about actions and events taking place in nature. The books of Richard Long, for example, contain photos, maps, words and symbols that collectively constitute the visible remains of his walks – they have become artworks in themselves.

Displays in coffee corner

Artists & Photographs (Lawrence Alloway), Hamish Fulton, Richard Long, Mark Boyle, Jan Dibbets and Ger Dekkers

Lawrence Alloway

  • Artist & Photographs, 1970 (14 in totaal)

Hamish Fulton

Rchard Long

  • Inca Rock, Campfire Ash, 1974
  • The north woods, 1977

Mark Boyle

  • J.L. Locher, Mark Boyle's journey to the surface of the earth, 1978

Jan Dibbets

  • Roodborst territorium/sculptuur 1969, april-juni, Robin Redbreast's territory/sculpture 1969, april-june, 1970

Ger Dekkers

  • Plastic : 26 series of colourslides, 1978

FIRST FLOOR: Key figures

The displays on the first floor feature key figures such as gallery owner Seth Siegelaub and the Art & Project gallery in Amsterdam. Both played an important role in the rise of conceptual art.
Also there is a display devoted to exhibitions organized by Wim Beeren, art historian and former director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam) and the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam). He was not only a major figure in conceptual art, but as lector in Art History of the 19th and 20th Centuries at the University of Groningen he was also instrumental in creating the collection of conceptual artists’ books now owned by the University Library Groningen.

Seth Siegelaub: Xerox Book, 1968
Seth Siegelaub: Xerox Book, 1968

Displays in hall near the coffee corner

Art & Project Amsterdam and Seth Siegelaub

Art & Project (diverse bulletins)

Seth Siegelaub

  • The Xerox Book, 1968
  • January 5-31 1969, 1969
  • juli augustus september, 1969
  • More information

Display in coffee corner (view from both sides):

Wim Beeren and exhibitions

  • Op losse schroeven: situaties en cryptostructuren, 1969
  • Live in Your Head: When attitudes become form, 1969
  • Sonsbeek '71 (twee delen), 1971
  • Sonsbeek '72 (drie delen), 1972
  • Wim Beeren, Rini Dippel, Hein van Haaren, Wim Beeren om de kunst, 2005
  • More information
Last modified:21 May 2019 11.59 a.m.
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