A47 (Alumnos47), Biblioteca Móvil, Mexico City, Mexico

Artists Space | Bookshop, New York City

Axle Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM

The Center for Land Use Interpretation

Donald Judd’s Library, Marfa, Texas

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima

The Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges

The Mushroom Collection

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki, Japan

Prelinger Library, San Francisco

Printed Matter, Inc., New York City

Reading Room Marfa, Marfa, Texas

Reanimation Library, Brooklyn

School No. 6 (Ilya Kabakov), Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas

Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum, Osaka, Japan

Shisetsu Library, Kyoto, Japan

YU (Yale Union) Library, Portland, Oregon


You are touching upon the most important dilemma facing any viewer of a work of art: whether to gain concrete knowledge and then leave, or to immerse yourself in what is offered. To receive information and then depart is the first temptation, and what aids in this departure are the explanations and inscriptions that accompany the work. The important thing is that when we read, we are probably doing it so that we don’t have to look anymore. As pertains to the tendency to immerse oneself, for this there cannot be explanatory texts. For this it is crucial that you are alone and that you are near the work of art in solitude. ILYA KABAKOV, in conversation with Robert Storr, Art in America, January 1995.

To simulate atrocity convincingly is to risk making the audience passive, reinforcing witless stereotypes, confirming distance and creating fascination. Convinced that there is a morally (and aesthetically) correct way for a filmmaker to confront Nazism, [filmmaker Hans-Jurgen] Syberberg can make no use of any of the stylistic conventions of fiction that pass for realism. Neither can he rely on documents to show how it “really” was. Like its simulation as fiction, the display of atrocity in the form of photographic evidence risks being tacitly pornographic. Further, the truths it conveys, unmediated, about the past are slight. Film clips of the Nazi period cannot speak for themselves; they require a voice—explaining, commenting, interpreting. But the relation of the voice-over to a film document, like that of the caption to a still photograph, is merely adhesive. SUSAN SONTAG, Syberberg’s Hitler

I regard museums as spaces where one steps even deeper into society, from where one can scrutinize society. OLAFUR ELIASSON, On the Relativity of Your Reality

Dickinson’s invention was multiplication, herself and the empirical reach: everything that could be felt, heard, seen or smelt, everything perceptible, everything discernible from ninety-eight Main Street, Amherst, MA. Perceptible includes the library; somehow Dickinson used the library as an empirical source, somehow she learned to consume its contents sensorily. Her library was not a source of acquired knowledge, not a tool of the intellect. Her library was simply another perceptible thing becoming another empirical entrance, confirmation of all she sensed in the world. Even her poems about God and death are empirical. RONI HORN, on Emily Dickinson