Requiem for the Bibliophile at MCA Santa Barbara

Posted on Aug 28 by SEASONS Magazine

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Exhibition: Requiem for the Bibliophile: Jorge Méndez Blake, Carlos Garaicoa, Nancy Gifford, David Horvitz, Xaviera Simmons and Mickey Smith

Opening reception: Saturday, September 6, 6 – 8 pm

Exhibitions on view: September 7 – December 14, 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara FREE ADMISSION

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) presents Requiem for the Bibliophile, a group exhibition that features six distinguished artists whose works consider the library of the 21st century, acknowledging this ancient establishment’s cultural transformation and offering a diverse vision of its next manifestation.

“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. Libraries have been thought of as a kind of “temple of books,” places for peace and quiet, to read and think. They are intricate parts of the fabric that pulls a community together, illuminating the human condition and indexing knowledge in different societies. Today, the Internet, digital technology, and electronic data preservation have overtaken the literary world, changing the present and future of recorded knowledge, documentation, and memory. In the exhibition Requiem for the Bibliophile, six artists present works in response to the current condition of this time-honored institution and introduce multiple perspectives on the modern library’s imminent evolution.

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. The artists in Requiem for the Bibliophile examine the library’s role as a vital part of society, interpreting 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 (b. 1974, Guadalajara, Mexico), Carlos Garaicoa (b. 1967, Havana, Cuba), Nancy Gifford (Montecito, CA), David Horvitz (b. 1982, Brooklyn, NY), Xaviera Simmons (b. 1974, New York, NY), and Mickey Smith (b. 1972, Auckland, New Zealand). 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.

Requiem for the Bibliophile posits the notion of resilience and adaptation in a constantly shifting world, while making room for meaningful recognition of our intellectual and communal values. “The visual arts and the literary arts are reinventing their relationship to one another and libraries are redefining their future,” explains Decemvirale. “This exhibition articulates these symbiotic connections and contributes to the cultural field for generations to come.”

This exhibition is co-organized by MCASB Executive Director and Chief Curator Miki Garcia and Organizing Curator J.V. Decemvirale. Decemvirale is a Ph.D. student in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Exhibition Research Assistant for the Center of Nanotechnology in Society at UC Santa Barbara. He received his BA in Art History from New York University and his MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London. Prior to his work at MCASB, he worked in the J.Paul Getty Museum’s Exhibitions and Public Programs Department.

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, 653 Paseo Nuevo, 805/966-.5373,



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