Speed Reading: Jennie Ottinger’s Hollowed-Out Books


Many people already love their books as they would pieces of art – why else would we so proudly display books we will never read again on our bookshelves in our tiny New York apartments instead of boxing them away? We tell ourselves it’s in case we ever want to lend them or reference a passage or reread them, but it’s really because we love them as objets d’art, and want to look at them all day long. To that end, Jennie Ottinger creates hollowed-out, redesigned and painted-over versions of classic novels, replacing their guts with pithy summaries she gleans from SparkNotes. Ottinger’s idea is that in our busy, harried world, we don’t really have time to take in all the cultural input we would like to/are supposed to. We’re tempted to be horrified by this brusque treatment of literature, but we kind of love these faux-books. Ottinger just closed a show at Johansson Projects in Oakland, but a few of her pieces are on display in NYC until February 26 in the book-themed exhibition “Ex Libris” at the Adam Baumgold Gallery. Click through for more images of her work.