Self-made: zines & artist books
Plan your visit
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am–9pm; Fri–Sun 10am–6pm
- Friday, 11 August 2017–Sunday, 12 November 2017
- Blue Rotunda, Cowen Gallery
Visit our exhibition
This bold exhibition delves into the evolution of do-it-yourself culture, from limited-run artist books to cut-and-paste photocopy fanzines.
Discover science fiction fanzines from the 1940s, ground-breaking 1970s punk zines, Australian underground press publications, and artist books designed to defy tradition and buck the commercial gallery system.
Join a free, 45-minute guided tour of the exhibition to gain further insights into the world of underground publications and artist books.
Guided tours run three times a week and bookings aren't required. Choose from:
- Tuesday at 12.30pm
- Thursday at 6pm
- Sunday at 3pm
Note: there will be no tour on Melbourne Cup Day (Tue 7 Nov).
About the curator
Monica Syrette attended the Canberra Institute of the Arts in the late 1980s, when the city was a major centre for artists books in Australia. In the 1990s she worked at Sydney independent music retailer Waterfront Records, ordering zines from local and international makers and distributors.
Monica was archivist at Arts Project Australia and assistant curator at the Grainger Museum, founded by composer and pianist Percy Grainger. Most recently she curated the exhibition Wharfies support! Social justice activism from the Melbourne Docks at Library at the Dock.
Zine-making: words + art + identity
Book your secondary students into our hands-on zine-making workshop – learn tips and techniques, and take a guided tour of the Self-made exhibition.
Focus on artist books
Browse the exhibition with curator Monica Syrette, followed by a behind-the-scenes viewing of selected artist books from the Library's extensive collection.
Zine scene takes you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes viewing of rare zines from the Library's History of the Book Collection, led by exhibition curator Monica Syrette and State Library librarian and Sticky Institute Chair John Stevens.
Head to the La Trobe Reading Room to see Looped, a unique installation of artist books in the round by artists Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, from 4 August to 26 November 2017.
John Stevens on zines
Take an in-depth look at our collection of quirky and one-off magazines and fanzines with the Library's expert on all things zine, librarian John Stevens.
F*EMS are Freya Alexander, Anna MacNeill and Tegan Iversen: Females for Equality Making Stuff. They publish their zine three times a year, and include all submissions received from female-aligned or identifying people from all over the world. Watch the video to hear more about the simple but powerful messages their self-published zine gives a voice to.
The Library collects all forms of popular culture, including of course zines, comics and graphic novels. Find out more!
David Wadelton is an artist, painter, photographer and leader of the Northcote Hysterical Society, a Facebook group celebrating the vernacular, everyday and often-overlooked aspects of inner-Melbourne life and history. Watch the video to hear more about how David, an acclaimed exhibited artist, took up the camera after a hiatus of 40 years to become an accidental historian and alternative news source.
Kenny Pittock's playful artist books, sculptures and drawings respond to Australian culture, exploring the idiosyncrasies and dilemmas of modern-day life. There are plenty of examples of Kenny's artwork in this video, including his ceramic sculptures of books.
Jon Campbell is a Melbourne artist whose unique artworks combine his love of music, graphic design, lettering and slang. In this video, he discusses zines, self-publishing and his book of handwritten setlists from the early 1980s.
Read the media release about the exhibition in our news blog.
Be inspired by examples of artists books held in the Library's Rare Books Collection.
Des Cowley on artists books
Watch a video with Rare Printed Collections Manager Des Cowley and discover how artists books are rare works of art expressed in book form.
Sasha Grishin on printmaking & artists books
Hear from Professor Sasha Grishin in this video, discussing how Melbourne is a centre of printmaking and artists books in Australia.
For DIY tips, browse the Library's research guide to zines, graphic novels and more.