A. Nina Katchadourian
In progress from 1993 to the present, the Sorted Books series involves Nina Katchadourian as both author and artist. For these pieces, she scours a library’s holdings and selects those spines which visually and semantically tell a joke or minor tale. On ninakatchadourian.com she writes, “Taken as a whole, the clusters from each sorting aim to examine that particular library’s focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies — a cross-section of that library’s holdings.” Occasionally the works are presented as the book-stacks themselves, as in the Akron Stacks series.
Libraries culled by Nina Katchadourian include the Strindberg Museum collection, which required a more delicate process, photographing and recording all potential texts and reworking them at home rather than by hand. Discussed here.
Mickey Smith works on similar terms in photography with her Collocations series. Smith photographs bound book spines, often finding the juxtapositions of single words in journal catalogs. The acrylic-coated buckram of her photographs will be familiar to patrons of the Rockefeller Library or other library-bound collections. These works appear alphabetically on her website, echoing library methodology.
Full disclosure: Nina Katchadourian has studied and taught at Brown University where I am an undergraduate.