To Whom It May Concern
October 8, 2012 Through Summer 2012 (Closed August 17, 2012)
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Reception: Saturday, October 22, 2012, 5-8pm
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives is pleased to present To Whom It May Concern, a site-specific installation by Catherine Lord. The installation borrows its title from the dedication of John Cage’s book Silence, published in 1961. To Whom It May Concern explores a network of generosity. Photographs of several hundred book dedications, considerably enlarged, will encircle the mezzanine, above the closed stacks of the library from which they were culled. Some are made to the famous, others to the unknown. Some are made to parents, others to hopes, to tricks and to initials.
Just as saying the words, “I do thee wed,” causes a marriage to come into being, putting into print, inside a book, the words, “I make you a gift of the words I have written,” causes that statement to be true. It tenders to another, in advance, the very object that the reader holds in her hands. It makes the gift upon the material that makes writing, and the gift itself, possible. Book dedications are gifts of labor and love. To dedicate a book is to hide the private in plain view, to splay intimacy upon a sheet of paper for any and all to see. This status, somewhere between public and private, is perfectly suited to the creation and transmission of “queer” culture. Coded, sly, witty, and polemical, these gifts turn queer into a verb. They queer “culture.”
No database indexes the dedications in the library of ONE Archive. The dedications used in To Whom It May Concern were found by a manual search. The books that contain the dedications have been returned to their shelves without recording bibliographic details. Information about authors, book titles and dates can be retrieved only by chance, or by another laborious search.
To Whom It May Concern is presented by the University of Southern California Libraries.
See installation photographs of To Whom It May Concern here.