Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Books and Shelves

I have new bookshelves thanks to Matt Compton. For the first time since I was a kid, I am now able to alphabetically organize books both tall and short next to one another. I have so many shelves that can fit large books, I don't have to worry about saving them strictly for oversized editions. I've been thinking a lot about cataloging and organizing them lately and artists that deal with this as subject matter.

Buzz Spector's My Ruscha from 2001 first comes to mind (particularly because I love the "brick" which is now depicted as another shape altogether and I own two of the ones featured below):

Nina Katchadourian's series Sorted Books is also an inspiration. Shark Journal from 2001:

Organizing books by color has always been an option I like to imagine but would never do.

I felt like my old organization system was quickly approaching The Basement Stacks by Wary Meyers:

Thankfully it did not reach the point of "The World's Most Dangerous Bookstore:"

"You Never Know What You'll Find in a Book," a NY Times essay from 2008 outlines several collections found in book pages:
"Sherman Alexie figured out a way around botched safekeeping during his hard-drinking college days at Gonzaga and Washington State Universities in the 1980s. Fearful that he would spend all his money during a bender, he would “slide tens and twenties into random books in my apartment.” Months later, having forgotten about the money, he’d find it again. “It was like winning little jackpots,” he wrote in an e-mail message, adding, 'I’m sober now, have been sober for many years, and I keep my money in banks.'”

I am also completely enamored with Penelope Umbrico's Embarrassing Books. From her website:

"Embarrassing Books are re-photographed details of bookcases in home-improvement and décor websites and magazines that have their books turned spine in. Only someone who is deeply embarrassed by the content of his or her books would turn them around this way – or, perhaps, these books have turned themselves this way because they are embarrassed by their owners. In the never-ending variety of perfectly appointed, vapidly flawless rooms in these virtual spaces, this refusal of content actually makes sense. Subservient to the decorative, these books have become nutrition-less, emptied of purpose and content, and erased of meaning - a sedated empty exchange which produces a valueless object from the apparition of an object of value."

The New York Times "10 Best Books of 2011" is out too. Uh oh. I am looking forward to more end of the year art book lists. Extra room on the shelves = Hello Christmas!

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