The collections housed in the Walker’s Archives & Library department include a variety of materials concentrating on the development of the Walker Art Center, as well as focusing on the contemporary arts in the United States and around the world.
The archives provides a rich resource for study on the Walker Art Center from materials dating back to the private collection of T.B. Walker in 1879 to Walker Art Center’s most recent exhibitions and events. Included in the holdings are thousands of photographs, documents, artist letters, publications, ephemera, audio, video and film that document the Walker’s long history with numerous artists, such as Chuck Close, Bruce Conner, Trisha Brown, and Merce Cunningham. In addition, the archives houses the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection of over 1,000 titles from the silent era to the contemporary.
The library contains a comprehensive collection of books and periodicals, including artists’ monographs and catalogues from exhibitions held worldwide from the 1940s to the present, as well as files of small format ephemera and clippings for over 5,000 contemporary artists.
A special feature of the department is the Rosemary Furtak Collection of contemporary artist books. This important collection includes books by artists represented in the Walker Art Center’s permanent collection, such as Sol LeWitt, Dieter Roth, Edward Ruscha, and Lawrence Weiner. It includes books by artists working primarily with the book form, as well as exemplary work by local book artists. It is named after Rosemary Furtak, the Walker’s librarian of 29 years, who is recognized as a visionary in her field for building this distinguished collection of artist books. Rosemary Furtak defined artist books as “books that refuse to behave like books.” In this spirit, the library continues to collect specimens that push the boundaries of what book art can be.