About The Object Library

Welcome to The Object Library: An interactive space to encourage hands-on learning.

Find out more about the Object Library in 2019-2020, including the continuation of the Object Library’s artist-in-residence program and the creation of an interdisciplinary student research team to support the production of a docufiction film on the comedienne Mae West, on pages 20-23 of our Annual Report.

Here's a recent interim blogpost on the progress of the research team written by Carolyn McDonough.

Read about The Object Library at the Graduate Center, CUNY and collaboration with artist Richard Woods in Interior Design Magazine:

"What do we want from a library these days?" Sculptor Keith Wilson is exploring this question as director of a new initiative for the Center of the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Called the Object Library, it's a collection of wares and goods, as well as books, that Wilson says will “point to other ways we can learn about the world.” Read the full article here.

On the first floor of the Graduate Center, CUNY, our newly designed Object Libraryoffers both material objects and books as starting points for knowledge. Somewhere between a traditional library and a sculpture gallery, this new space will display selected objects alongside curated books on core research themes. The visitor will be able to sample scientific knowledge and the latest thinking in the humanities in a relaxed environment with a focus on material culture.

Visit the Object Library website to learn more about the project, the various objects on display at library and the stories behind them at theobjectlibrary.com.

365 Things

365 Things is the participatory launch project of the Object Library, inviting all-comers to contribute one thing to go on open display. Beginning empty, we ask the Graduate Center community and friends to make this first exhibit together in our inaugural Bring-a-Thing-a-Thon event.

You are invited to "show and tell" an object of interest or significance to you, perhaps related to your research, or your personal history, or social experience: one gifted object to share on our gridded walls, installed here in the form of calendar months.

Please bring your object (no bigger than your head!) to the Amie and Tony James Gallery on the ground floor of 365 Fifth Avenue on October 16th and 17th 2018 from 12 to 6pm, and join us for a celebratory launch event from 6 to 8pm on Tuesday, October 16th, across both gallery and library venues.

Stephon Lawerence reads from a Katrina Palmer text for the Object Library launch event.

This will be a transitional participatory project that invites students, faculty, staff and friends to show (and tell) something interesting, and that sets the stage for us to invite wider publics to take part. Starting with a call for objects, the project will involve the accumulation of things in an open display system, which takes a form reminiscent of days in a calendar.

Richard Woods Studio, Logo 161, 2018

This commissioned block-printed installation takes as its starting point the wood pattern of the original B. Altman & Co. department store floor, a section of which can be found in the common room running immediately behind the library reception area. In summer 2018 we made investigations to see if an original floor might lie beneath our ground floor library carpet. When we discovered that a renovation project was not possible, with the generous support of Amie and Tony James, we commissioned Richard Woods Studio to re-invent our original floor for the 21st century, producing the work on which our transformed library study space now sits.

Logo 161 is a work of renovation that also asks what we are looking for when we resurface our environment. What kind of library might be most conducive to public study?

Object Library Showcases

Alongside the installation of 365 Things, the Object Library also features two showcases that highlight the activities of the Graduate Center community outside of our building.

Chadia Chambers-Samadi, one of Édouard Glissant's former students, discusses Glissant with a seminar group at the Object Library showcase, November 2018.
The first iteration is dedicated to the legacy of poet, novelist, theorist, and thinker of difference Édouard Glissant, who taught at the Graduate Center, CUNY from 1995 to 2011. Accompanying the exhibition Lydia Cabrera and Édouard Glissant: Trembling Thinking at the Americas Society (680 Park Ave) and the events hosted by the Henri Peyre Institute at the Graduate Center, CUNY, the two showcases hold wide range of ephemera related to his activities at the GC, including event programs, books with dedications, and a handwritten poem. With materials from the Henri Peyre Institute; curated by Marguerite Van Cook and Cara Jordan.

Students and faculty are invited to submit proposals for one or more curated cases to cjordan [at] gc.cuny.edu.

Katrina Palmer, 365 Things, 2018

The Object Library commissioned artist Katrina Palmer to create 365 Things, a text based work in twelve parts, for the project launch in October 2018.