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Book Number 143, Untitled, December 1989, by Keith Smith, American, born 1938
Book Number 143, Untitled
December 1989
Keith Smith, American, born 1938
Artist’s book with blank pages; piano hinge binding with gold foil-stamped pencils as rods
Courtesy of Scott McCarney

Keith Smith: Word Play

February 15–July 6, 2018
Explore the ways in which contemporary artist Keith Smith uses word play, poetry, typography, and sequencing to create surprising relationships between image and text in his artist’s books. Since the mid-1960s, Smith has created over 300 books. While the bulk of his oeuvre consists of one-of-a-kind artist’s books, he has also published small-edition works and book-length poems along with short dictionaries made for his personal use while writing.

Smith is also known for his textbooks for aspiring book artists, including the influential Structure of the Visual Book and Text in the Book Format. Based on years of creative exploration, teaching, and collaboration, these self-published instructional texts are also available to view in the Museum’s Library.

The installation complements Keith Smith at Home, on view in the Julian Levy Gallery February 17–July 8, 2018.


Amanda Bock, the Lynne and Harold Honickman Assistant Curator of Photographs; with Susan Anderson Laquer, the Martha Hamilton Morris Archivist


Library Reading Room, second floor, Perelman Building

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Images of many of the works in the collection may be downloaded directly from PMA Collections Online. These images are supplied at no charge and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes.
  • Questions are answered in the order received. Staff consult reference books and other relevant sources to answer your question. Because of the number of inquiries received, a response may take four to six weeks.
  • As a matter of policy, the Philadelphia Museum of Art does not provide monetary evaluations of works of art or collectibles.

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