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Posted February 12, 2015 in Member News

Jonathan Gitelson's "Marginalia" on Display at MASS MoCA

From Jonathan Gitelson's website -- "For the past year, I have been collecting used books that have been marked in some way by previous owners, with everything from minimal underlining to extensive handwritten notes, and in some cases even ephemera left behind in the books. These books form the foundation of Marginalia, an interactive project comprised of works made from or inspired by the markings and items in them. The final installation consists of works on paper inspired by the markings and found objects left in the books as well as the books themselves, arranged in a reading nook where viewers can engage directly with them.

In my growing collection of books for this project, I have found a range of compelling, thought provoking, and often humorous notes. For example, on the title page of John Edgar Wideman's 1989 novel Fever, a reader added the subtitle "Or, Twelve short stories that I don't get"; In Restful Sleep: The Complete Mind And Body Program For Overcoming Insomnia, the former owner filled out the 60-question sleep survey; and in a copy of The Heat Is On by Ross Gelbspan, a frustrated reader crossed out an entire page with a pink highlighter and wrote simply, in all caps, "HELP." Even books that only have underlining have a certain poignancy-words important enough for someone to mark in an effort to remember have now been discarded.

Marginalia is currently on display at MASS MoCA as part of the exhibition Bibliothecaphilia and will remain installed until January, 2016. It will then be featured in a solo exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in the Spring of 2016. Marginalia has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Art New and the Berkshire Eagle."

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