The 100 Novels Project is an ongoing performance art piece in which Youd retypes novels from beginning to end in locations that play a central role in the novels. From April through July 2018, Youd will undertake the Hudson Valley Cycle, which features novels set in and around the Hudson Valley. From July 23 – 26 at Art Omi, Youd will type the second half of Ironweed by William Kennedy. The Hudson Valley Cycle culminates with an exhibition featuring a diptych of each novel typed over the summer at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Focus Gallery, which will be on view August 30 through October 14.
Employing the same make and model typewriter used by the author, Youd types each novel on a single sheet of paper, which is backed by an additional support sheet. According to the artist, “The genesis of the project came from my recognition that on a formal level, when you are looking at two pages of a book, you are looking at two rectangles of black text inside two larger rectangles of the white pages. I had the palpable desire to crush the words of the entire book into this formal language.” It also becomes an investigation of memory, attention, and the act of reading. Youd explains, “We don’t remember every word no matter how prodigious our memory—rather, we are left with some kind of layered impression.”
Tim Youd is a performance and visual artist based in Los Angeles. To date, Youd has retyped 48 novels at various locations in the United States and Europe. He has been in residence at various historic writer’s homes, including William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak with the University of Mississippi Art Museum (Oxford, MS), Flannery O’Connor’s Andalusia with SCAD (Milledgeville and Savannah, GA), and Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House (Rodmell, Sussex). His work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including The New Orleans Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art, Hemingway-Pfeffer Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, University of Mississippi Art Museum at Rowan Oak, and the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. He has presented and performed his 100 Novels project at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and LAXART, and just finished retyping Joe Orton’s Collected Plays at The Queen’s Theatre with MOCA London.