Requiem for the Bibliophile

Jorge Méndez Blake, Carlos Garaicoa, Nancy Gifford, David Horvitz, Emily Jacir, Xaviera Simmons, and Mickey Smith

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”  Jorge Luis Borges

Throughout the ages, humanity has created, destroyed, rescued, neglected, discovered, stolen, and cherished libraries. History offers the library as a praxis that illuminates the human condition—indexing knowledge formation in different societies. In the exhibition Requiem for the Bibliophile, seven artists consider the current state of this ancient establishment to provide a diverse set of perspectives on its next manifestation, acknowledging the library of the 21st century as anything but stable.

Because libraries stand in parallel to art museums as vessels of civilization’s reminiscences, visual art maintains an ineluctable connection to the written and spoken word secured in libraries. As the artists in Requiem for the Bibliophile examine the library’s role as a vital part of society, they interpret how this institution continues to influence the art of our time. Historical and current phenomena that affect the library system will be examined vis à vis artistic production of Jorge Méndez Blake, Carlos Garaicoa, Nancy Gifford, David Horvitz, Emily Jacir, Xaviera Simmons and Mickey Smith. In newly commissioned and recent works ranging from architectural proposals to large scale installations, they explore the library via concepts of diversity, strategic redundancy, innovation, and experimentation.

Special Thanks to:

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara’s exhibition and education programs are generously supported by grants from the Getty Foundation; Nordstrom; Towbes Foundation; Ann Jackson Family Foundation; High Tide Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from our Board of Trustees and many generous individuals. Additional support provided by the The James Irvine Foundation and organizational development grant program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.

Requiem for the Bibliophile is made possible with additional support by:
Virginia Castagnola-Hunter; Luci & Richard Janssen; Rosalind Amorteguy; Marcia & John Mike Cohen; Joanne Holderman, and Gretchen & Robert Lieff.

With special thanks to: CASA Magazine; Galleria Continua; Jerry Jacobs, Lost Horizon Book Store; Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center; Santa Barbara Independent; and Wayne McCall & Associates.

[Press Release]

  • September 7, 2014 - January 4, 2015


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