Where We´re At is a 10 x 10 wooden grid made in the style of an American crossword puzzle. However the black squares typical of a crossword puzzle are here replaced by actual physical books glued directly onto the wooden surface. The books span historical, contemporary, academic, pop, self-help, business and fiction genres. The artwork contains elements of both a sculpture and a bookshelf but more than that, it is also functional - it is an actual solvable crossword puzzle, created in collaboration with noted crossword puzzle constructor Ben Tausig. The clues, focusing on inequality, deindustrialization, recent history, and random political factoids, are written in black vinyl directly onto the wall nearby. A take away of the puzzle is available to visitors who wish to solve the puzzle. The answers are available upon request.
The inspiration for Where We´re At comes from a famous list of six books circulated by the New York Times shortly after the surprise results of the 2016 US Presidential elections that supposedly shed light on some of the historical and economic factors behind the result. Since New York Times, and just about every other media outlet, incorrectly predicted the results of the 2016 election, one wonders if the editors actually read their own list. The 16 books I´ve selected feature one or two of these books but also others that I think are relevant to understanding historical and economic roots of the present political moment. These books include seminal works by Friedrich Von Hayek (economist from the Austrian school of economics, the precursor to the Chicago school), novels by Margaret Atwood, Ayn Rand and Newt Gingrich, advice books by PT Barnum and Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Ibn Khaldun´s Muqqadimah, a 14th century book cited by many as the first work on supply side economics.
Wood, Books, Vinyl, Paper handout.