Kenyon College

West Wall Library


Stella Waitzkin
(American, 1920-2003)

West Wall Library, 1950-93.
Wax, resin and wood.
91 x 69 x 22 inches.
Kenyon College Collection; Gift of Mr. Fred Waitzkin ’65.

In storage during the construction of the new Chalmers Library

At first Stella Waitzkin’s West Wall Library appears to be an image of familiarity and comfort. The sculpture is a three-tiered shelf, stacked full with multi-colored books and a few small tchotchkes; something that one would likely see everyday in their home. However, on closer inspection, each of these individual books is cast out of wax and resin with varying levels of opacity. The artist, who was involved in the New York Abstract Expressionist Movement, offers us a vast supply of books that appear solid in terms of their physical aspects such as shape, size, and color. Yet she forces us to question our conceptions of information and narrative by removing all of the aspects that give the book meaning and substance. We have a binding and two covers, but no words or stories. We are left with the empty appearance of something thought provoking and significant, and are therefore asked to rethink the way we evaluate meaning and information.

Phoebe Pohl `18