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shelf documents. art library as practice

shelf documents. art library as practice
Book presentation / artist talk
by Heide Hinrichs, Laura Larson, Jo-ey Tang

This evening will activate the book ‘shelf documents. art library as practice’ by taking us through the book’s scales of practice: the institution, the library, the book, listening, and the body.

‘shelf documents’ emerges out of the research project ‘second shelf’ (, a collaborative book acquisition project initiated by artist Heide Hinrichs in 2018 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, with a group of advisors. They integrated 223 new titles by nonbinary, women and queer artists as well as artists of colour in art libraries as a way to fill gaps, to amplify voices, to seek out the self-initiated and the overlooked. In thinking about diversity in collections, the publication proposes art libraries as sites of intersubjective communion, spanning practices that range from personal bookshelves and the libraries of art schools and universities, to those of spontaneous collectives and the ones associated with major museums.

Heide Hinrichs (in person) and Jo-ey Tang (digitally) will together with Laura Larson (digitally) discuss their perspectives on the project. Columbus (Ohio, USA) based artist Laura Larson, one of the contributing artists to the publication, will address a.o. her photographic series ‘All the Women I Know’ and the publication ‘Hidden Mother’ in the light of ‘second shelf’. 

Mining the intersection between politics and poetics, Laura Larson’s work looks to photography’s history as a documentary practice to tell personal and sociocultural narratives. She's exhibited her work extensively including Bronx Museum of the Arts, Centre Pompidou, Columbus Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Wexner Center for the Arts. Her image-text book, Hidden Mother (Saint Lucy Books, 2017), presents a lyrical account of becoming a mother through adoption mapped through nineteenth-century hidden mother photographs. The book was shortlisted for the Aperture-Paris Photo First Photobook Prize. Larson also organized a companion exhibition—the first to be devoted to this vernacular practice to be presented in the U.S.—which traveled from 2014-16 to Blue Sky Gallery, Palmer Museum of Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, and Kennedy Museum of Art. She is the recipient of grants from Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, and the New York Foundation of the Arts, and of residency fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Ucross Foundation. Her new book, City of Incurable Women, will be published by Saint Lucy Books in 2021 and she is currently working on a collaborative book with writer Christine Hume, All the Women I Know


Jo-ey Tang is a Hong Kong-born, American artist, curator, writer, in non-hierarchical order. In thinking with and alongside artists, he calibrates and reimagines the encounters of divergent

and resonant artistic practices in multiple, overlapping temporalities. He is currently director of KADIST San Francisco, and was director of exhibitions at Beeler Gallery at Columbus College of Art & Design, curator at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, and arts editor of Brooklyn-based literary journal n+1. Tang is curator of the exhibition and book project arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody / Joy Episalla / Zoe Leonard / Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified, with “chapters” at Beeler Gallery at Columbus College of Art & Design (2018-2019), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2019), and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2023); and exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris and FUTURA Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague. 

Tang’s writing has appeared in publications such as, The Brooklyn Rail, Flash Art, Kaleidoscope, LEAP, and ArtAsiaPacific, and for institutions such as Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; and S.M.A.K, Ghent. His art considers the photographic and sculptural form and boundaries of documentation, and has been exhibited at the Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart, France; IAC – Institut d'art contemporain, Villeurbanne / Rhône-Alpes, France; Walker Art Center Library, Minneapolis, USA; and Treignac Projet, Treignac, France. Tang received his MFA from New York University Steinhardt School, BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, USA and studied at Carleton College, Minnesota, USA.


Heide Hinrichs is an artist based in Brussels, who works with found and existing materials. She responds to situations and continues to draw lines. For the first Kathmandu Triennale (2017) she developed the project On Some of the Birds of Nepal (Parting the Animal Kingdom of the East). In 2018 Hinrichs published Silent Sisters / Stille Schwestern, an unauthorized German translation of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s text Dictee (Tanam Press, New York, 1982). Her drawing series Inscriptions was shown in 2020 as part of Season Two: Follow the Mud, Beeler Gallery at Columbus College of Art & Design, OhioRisquons-Tout, WIELS, Brussels; and ringing critical forests, KIOSK, Ghent.Currently she is also researching and teaching at Royal Aacademy of Fine Arts Antwerp.

(images: Cover shelf documents + Laura Larson, Christine, 2019, Alex, 2019 and Gadisse, 2019 from All the Women I Know, ongoing since 2018