Sexy Librarian: Critical Edition of the Original Novel

Julia Weist


Artist Novel, 15.1 x 22.7 cm. 171 p, language: English, publisher: Ellen Lupton/Slush Editions, ISBN: 978-0615176772.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2024/825).

Literary synopsis

Sexy Librarian introduces us to Audrey Reed, a New York artist who trades her hip urban life for a job at a small public library in Minnesota. Away from the frenetic art world, Audrey hopes to find herself, and with the help of some hard words and hot nights, she succeeds. With wry and unflinching candor, Audrey explores the Midwest, her past and, inconveniently, her boss's ex-husband. In a town of closed minds and open stacks, Audrey learns that there is more to a library than its holdings, and that she may still have the ability to fall in love.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Sexy Librarian began as an unsolicited manuscript written to collect rejection letters from publishing houses for an exhibition of sculpturally modified discarded library material. The larger project, entitled The Public Library of American Public Library Deaccession, was an exploration of books that libraries withdraw from their collections and the emotional implications of literary detritus. Sexy Librarian was released as a full-length novel in 2008 and in the years that followed it became the centerpiece of an art practice that was concerned with irrelevant intellectual material and unpopular love stories, and a life practice that involved attaining a Masters in Library and Information Science. In 2011 the Sexy Librarian project came to a close when two key goals were reached. "I became a librarian at New York’s oldest library and began, as part of my professional duties, to discard books. Soon after, New York Public Library deaccessioned one of three copies of Sexy Librarian from their collection. To mark the end of the piece, I exhibited a work that served as a sculptural timeline: Discarded Library Books I Collected (2006); Library Books I Wrote; Library Books I Discarded; Discarded Library Book I Wrote; Discarded Library Books I Collected (2011) plus diplomas."

- Julia Weist

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