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Library of Art

The Library of Art is an instructional artwork exploded into an atomic state. It begins with the simple proposition that works of art can be thought of as instructions for their own making. Could there be a system that expressed every possible artwork as its instruction? A vast library of possibilities? A tool and a toy, a game and a method of analysis, the Library of Art is also an experimental text, one that can be played with in any order and combination, meant to be used rather than read.

The Library of Art is in constant state of expansion. The current edition, produced specially for Raygun, consists of 16 volumes: Material, Process, Structure, Action, Situation, Duration, Social, Subject, Style, Color, Antagonism, Post, Rules, Participation, Anthology, and Biblio. And now for the first time there will be a single volume version of the collection: The Handy Condensed Library of Art, given away to visitors during the show.

The volumes in the Library each contain one category or aspect of a potential artwork. In the volume Material, there are 150 materials (plastic, beer, steel, stories…) in Process, 150 processes (loosen, pickle, cut, sweeten…) In Structure, 150 formal structures (triangle, network, melody, box…) and on. Material, Process, and Structure might be used in combination to create instructions for sculptural works or installations. Action, Situation, Duration and Social can be used to realize possible performances, interventions, and social architectures. Subject, Style, and Color can be applied towards paintings or other two- and three-dimensional works. Antagonism offers a repertoire of options for the critical stance that every contemporary work of art seems to need. Post lists postproduction activities and effects to extend the work. Rules suggests ways that the volumes can be played as an art game or a studio tool. All of these can be mixed or combined in any number or manner; misuse is encouraged. Participation is a blank volume, waiting to be filled by visitors or users with imagined works.

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The Library of Art was featured in a solo exhibition at Raygun Projects in Toowoomba, Australia, and Alaska Projects in Sydney.

Installation images.

It was also part of Interchange curated by Grizzly Grizzly and Practice at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia.

Download a free PDF of the Handy Condensed Library of Art

An earlier version of The Library of Art was shown at Good Children Gallery in New Orleans, and at P.P.O.W. in New York (invited by Hope Hilton).