The Feverish Library

Organized in cooperation with Matthew Higgs

September 6 - October 20, 2012

537 W 22nd Street

Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce “The Feverish Library,” a group exhibition organized in cooperation with Matthew Higgs, opening on Thursday, September 6th, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The exhibition will remain on view until October 20, 2012.

It was the kind of library he had only read about in books.
- Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

The impious maintain that nonsense is normal in the Library and that the reasonable (and even humble and pure coherence) is an almost miraculous exception. They speak (I know) of the “feverish Library whose chance volumes are constantly in danger of changing into others and affirm, negate and confuse everything like a delirious divinity.” These words, which not only denounce the disorder but exemplify it as well, notoriously prove their authors’ abominable taste and desperate ignorance.
- Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

In 1966, John Latham checked out Clement Greenberg’s Art and Culture: Critical Essays from the library at the Saint Martin’s School of Art, where he was an instructor. One evening at a party he asked students to chew up the book’s pages after which he turned the pulp into a clear liquid. After repeated demands from the library for the book’s long overdue return, Latham presented the liquid in a vial. The book in its altered state was not accepted.

“The Feverish Library” brings together a number of artworks whose premises are predicated on the book as a conceptual, psychological, and cultural form. In some pieces, the actual physicality of the book is addressed. The works collectively constitute a meditation on the page, book jackets, design, and content. Some works are arguably a fond or surreal portrait of pulp, a disconcerting look at hoarding and a general nostalgia or malaise regarding the impending obsolescence of the printed medium. And like the expansive and confused Borgesian library, the works in the show will be densely layered.

Additionally, the gallery will present a special project “Thirty People Present Their Favorite Book [After Kosuth]” which co-opts Joseph Kosuth’s 1966 show wherein he asked fifteen artists to choose their favorite book and presented the books as an exhibition at Lannis Gallery. In this 2012 iteration, the thirty artists of Friedrich Petzel Gallery have been asked to present their favorite book, which will be on view in the exhibition, and there will be an accompanying brochure documenting the book covers published by Jeremy Sanders and 6 Decades.

Matthew Higgs is an artist, curator and writer based in New York. He is currently the Director of the alternative space White Columns.

Special announcement: Tim Griffin, writer, curator and critic, will read from his newly published book of poetry. Date and time to be announced. Tim Griffin is currently the Director of The Kitchen in New York.

PARTCIPATING ARTISTS (list in formation)
Richard Artschwager
Tauba Auerbach
John Baldessari
Steven Baldi
Erica Baum
Carol Bove
Matthew Brannon
Gavin Brown
Clegg and Guttman
Guy de Cointet
Anne Collier
Martin Creed
Moyra Davey
Jeremy Deller and Nicholas Abrahams
Mark Dion
Hans-Peter Feldmann
Liam Gillick
Wade Guyton
David Hammons
Matthew Higgs
Candida Höfer
Martin Kippenberger
Sean Landers
John Latham
Robert Longo
Jorge Pardo
Seth Price
Stephen Prina
Richard Prince
Allen Ruppersberg
Cindy Sherman
Josh Smith
John Stezaker
Wolfgang Tillmans
William Tyler
Rachel Whiteread
Steve Wolfe
Heimo Zobernig


Friedrich Petzel Gallery is located at 537 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10011. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. For further information, please call (212) 680 9467 or email info@petzel.com. For press queries, contact Marcella Heemsen at marcella@petzel.com.


Download Press Release (PDF 224 K)


  • 1 / 8
    "Time Enough at Last"
    The Twilight Zone
  • Installation View 1
From left to right: Josh Smith, Jorge Pardo, Matthew Brannon, John Latham, Heimo Zobernig
    2 / 8
    Installation View 1
    From left to right: Josh Smith, Jorge Pardo, Matthew Brannon, John Latham, Heimo Zobernig
  • Installation View 2
Front: Wade Guyton
From left to right: Steven Baldi, Matthew Higgs, Guy de Cointet, Moyra Davey, Matthew Brannon
    3 / 8
    Installation View 2
    Front: Wade Guyton
    From left to right: Steven Baldi, Matthew Higgs, Guy de Cointet, Moyra Davey, Matthew Brannon
  • Installation View 3
Front: Allen Ruppersberg
From left to right: Mark Dion, Steve Wolfe, Sean Landers
    4 / 8
    Installation View 3
    Front: Allen Ruppersberg
    From left to right: Mark Dion, Steve Wolfe, Sean Landers
  • Installation View 4
Front: Gavin Brown
From left to right: Martin Kippenberger, Jeremy Deller & Nicholas Abrahams, Anne Collier
    5 / 8
    Installation View 4
    Front: Gavin Brown
    From left to right: Martin Kippenberger, Jeremy Deller & Nicholas Abrahams, Anne Collier
  • Installation View 5
Front: Tauba Auerbach
From left to right: Rachel Whiteread, Candida Hoëfer
    6 / 8
    Installation View 5
    Front: Tauba Auerbach
    From left to right: Rachel Whiteread, Candida Hoëfer
  • Installatin View 6
Front: Stephen Prina
From left to right: Wolfgang Tillmans, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Carol Bove
    7 / 8
    Installatin View 6
    Front: Stephen Prina
    From left to right: Wolfgang Tillmans, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Carol Bove
  • Installation View 7:
Front: Richard Artschwager
From left to right: John Stezaker, Richard Prince, Stephen Prina
    8 / 8
    Installation View 7:
    Front: Richard Artschwager
    From left to right: John Stezaker, Richard Prince, Stephen Prina

Wade Guyton

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Sean Landers

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Jorge Pardo

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Seth Price

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Stephen Prina

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John Stezaker

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Heimo Zobernig

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