Dr. Stephen J. Bury is an art historian and librarian whose decades of accomplishments in the fields of librarianship and art history illuminate his commitment to positioning the book as an art form. He has been the Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian of the Frick Art Reference Library since 2010. Prior to that, he served as Head of European and American Collections (with Maps, Music and Philatelic Collections) at the British Library.
He is a well-known scholar on artists’ books and has authored several books on the subject, including Artists’ Books: The Book As a Work of Art (1995 and 2015). He has curated multiple exhibitions, including Breaking the Rules at the British Library in 2007–2008. He has been a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines; Art Monthly, Print Quarterly and many others. He wrote a manifesto for the artists’ book in 2007, and the Books Manifesto for the New York Art Book Fair in 2017. His definition of the artists’ book has remained unchanged on Wikipedia since 2001. He has given keynotes on the subject at Deutsche Bibliothek, Leipzig, Glasgow School of Art, IFA, New York, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Yale University etc. He has been an external examiner of PhDs on the subject at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Kingston University, the University of Leeds and Sheffield Hallam University. He served on the board at Center for Book Arts from 2011 to 2022, as chair from 2016 to 2022. During this time, he steered the organization through COVID, helped secure the acquisition of CBA’s archive by Columbia University Library, and contributed his exciting personal collection of artist’s books to enhance CBA’s Fine Arts Collection.
Photo credit: Michael Bodycomb