Body. Listening. Book. Library. Institution. How can art libraries be generative resources and sites of action for all who identify as queer, as women, as Black, as Indigenous, as people of colour? What does it mean to consider the art library as a collective practice that spans multiple scales?
In shelf documents artists, writers, curators, teachers, and librarians reflect on their engagements with books, libraries and art-library-as-practice. Between a reader, an artist’s book, a project documentation and a catalogue, shelf documents might recall a pamphlet, a roadmap, or a recipe book that doesn’t tell you what to do. It is a book that gets mis-shelved. shelf documents emerges out of the project second shelf (second-shelf.org), a collaborative book acquisition project initiated by artist Heide Hinrichs in 2018 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, with a group of advisors: Elizabeth Haines, Marisa C. Sánchez, Jo-ey Tang, Susanne Weiß. Together they integrated 223 new titles by nonbinary, women and queer artists as well as artists of colour in art libraries as a way to fill gaps, to amplify voices, to seek out the self-initiated and the overlooked. In thinking about diversity in collections, the publication proposes art libraries as sites of intersubjective communion, spanning practices that range from personal bookshelves and the libraries of art schools and universities, to those of spontaneous collectives and the ones associated with major museums. shelf documents: art library as practice is edited by Heide Hinrichs, Jo-ey Tang and Elizabeth Haines, and designed by Sara De Bondt. It features contributions by Sara De Bondt, Rachel Dedman, Elizabeth Haines, Heide Hinrichs, Laura Larson, Samia Malik, Melanie Noel, Marisa C. Sánchez, David Senior, Jo-ey Tang, Ersi Varveri and Susanne Weiß. It is published by Track Report, Antwerp and b_books, Berlin and benefits from the support of Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp; KIOSK, Ghent; Beeler Gallery at Columbus College of Art & Design; and WIELS, Brussels.