VIVO Media Arts Centre Archive > Renegade Library
Exhibition: Renegade Library, VIVO Media Arts Centre. August 2016.

Renegade Library

About Renegade Library

During the years 1996 to 1998, the Renegade Library developed as both a social practice, and a collection of over 500 artist books. Originating with a mail art call for “collaborative mail art in book form,” this project of Lois Klassen in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, brought together over 700 artists from some 40 countries. Together, their correspondences produced a delightful collection of zines, assemblings, multiples, add & pass, miniatures, visual poetry, small presses, and much more. Renegade Library is an infectiously inspiring artifact of a 90s mail art and artist book experimentation. Today the Renegade Library occupies 20 boxes, which are individually being acquired by public artist book collections. Through this distribution, Renegade Library has taken up residence in collections including Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon), Also As Well Too (Winnipeg), Artexte (Montreal), Centro de Desarollo de las Artes Visuales (Havana), Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe), Bautista Kabistan Esquivel Collective (San Salvador), and Emily Carr University Library (Vancouver), and the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives at the VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver).


About Lois Klassen

Lois Klassen is a Vancouver-based artist, writer, and multidisciplinarian. Her long-term projects, which include Renegade Library, Comforter Art Action and Slofemists (in collaboration with Lori Weidenhammer), combine collective creations with public dialogue and exchange. Her texts have appeared in Word Hoard, Fillip Magazine, Public Journal, Border Crossings, LIVE! Performance Art Biennale blog, and more. Her work has been hosted by Santa Fe Art Institute’s Emigration/Immigration Artists’ Residency, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and Plug In Summer Institute in Winnipeg, Banff New Media Institute, SOMA Summer Institute in Mexico City, University of Salford in Greater Manchester, Glenbow Museum, the Western Front, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and more. Lois is as a Research Ethics Coordinator at Emily Carr University, and is currently a doctoral student of Cultural Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.


Custodial History

Crista Dahl received the Renegade Library edition from Lois Klassen in 2016.



1 box
25 items

This box is the residue of mail art activity undertaken by Lois Klassen, during the years 1996-1998. In keeping with the project theme, all of the items meet two criteria: the creators identified them as “books” ; and, their creation was enabled by some kind of “collaborative” process. Each book item is labeled with a catalogue number that corresponds to information about it in the box’s index, as well as in the original exhibition catalogue.


Finding Aid

PDF Renegade Library – Finding Aid

Also available at MemoryBC



Available in-house at the CDMLA. Please contact us to arrange to view.


Site Factory: Renegade Library Exhibit

November 16-19, 2016. VIVO parking lot, 2625 Kaslo Street.

Photos: Eliza Ferrari

Art Talking Women Episode 8 – Lois Klassen

August 5, 2016. VIVO Media Arts Centre Studio.

Photos: Eliza Ferrari