Walker snapshot 01

Reginald Walker


Reginald Walker (b. 1946, d. 1988) was a book artist and book conservator. Walker studied fine binding and book conservation at the Newberry Library in Chicago before coming to New York to work and apprentice at the New York Public Library and Center for Book Arts. Residing in the East Village, Walker knew other writers and artists such as Vince Aletti, from whom he rented a room until his death; Brice Marden, for whom he made handbound sketchbooks; Peter Hujar, who made portraits of him and his beloved dog; and Tim Ely, with whom he collaborated. Over the years his artists’ books were exhibited at Center for Book Arts, Franklin Furnace, Grolier Club, New York Public Library, and in gallery shows. He was deeply invested in ancient languages and cultures, evidenced by his research into Ethiopian traditions of coptic binding, Greek, Roman, and Gallic lettering systems, and the presence of mystical symbols and references in his books. These handbound totems are mystical objects filled with anatomical collages, hand stamped skulls and bones, gold tooling, handmade paper and stitching, and prayers to ancient spirits. In his own words, “Mythological books reflect ancient, contemporary, occult, and supernatural qualities, as well as a bilevel interpretation of Western and Oriental book art systems.” Walker’s work is in the collection of the New York Public Library, which also holds his papers, and the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, University of Iowa.

More information can be found at the links below:

Biography written by Megan Liberty.

Profile photo: Reggie Walker at Center for Book Arts, c. 1977-78, Center for Book Arts (New York N.Y.) records, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

This tribute page was created by Visual AIDS.