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East Wall Library

Not on view

East Wall Library

Artist: Stella Waitzkin (American, 1920-2003)

Date: 1987
Medium: Polyester resin, found and cast objects, and wood
Overall: 17 1/2 x 43 x 11 1/2in. (44.5 x 109.2 x 29.2cm)
Markings: #22 Bird, commercial label, marked (black ink): '1'
Credit Line: Gift of Waitzkin Memorial Trust
Object number: 2007.11.1-23
Label Text
Stella Waitzkin’s living spaces became installations of her art works, in particular the extended libraries she formed of actual books and books cast in resin. She called her studio in the Chelsea Hotel “Details of a Lost Library.”

Libraries can be considered repositories of accumulated knowledge and imagination, but Waitzkin’s books cannot be opened and their contents remain mysterious. The artist is quoted as saying to poet Allen Ginsberg, “Words are lies.” Why create a library, then? Perhaps it gave her some control over treacherous words.

And what of the birds that pose atop the bookshelf? Birds are a symbol of freedom because of their potential to fly, although here they seem to be charming spirits at rest. This work invites reflection on different modes of encasement and liberation.

Mary E. Murray
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

© Waitzkin Memorial Trust