Libraries are not warehouses of information but sites animated by readers’ curiosity, imagination, and the sharing of knowledge. To this end, Activating the Catalog returns readers to the shelves with Reading Resources as a tool, and demonstrates several possible vantage points, or Lenses, through which they can be putimage to use.
With Reading Resources: Glenn Ligon, we highlight the Lenses of Identity and Power.
Identity and Power are two of the nine Lenses that organize the D.U.C. Catalog as a whole.20
Lenses are big ideas significant to reading D.U.C. books within their social, cultural, and historical landscape: they provide an index of key themes and points of intersection between books and the broader world.21 Reading or looking at the D.U.C. Catalog or using the tools of Reading Resources through the perspective of any given Lens leads to distinct inquiries, understandings, and new ideas.
To this end, if we began with the question of how a book can be accessed in use, we leave you, as reader, with the question of what many different possibilities can a reading produce.22
The D.U.C. Catalog is organized by a categorization system specific to the contemporary art books we distribute.
Each book is described with attributes from categories that include Artist, Publisher, Lens, Theme, Movement/Medium, Location, Format.
Classifications emphasize constellation and cross-referencing rather than containment: each book receives multiple attributes from every category that overlap, inform each other, and link to related books.
As the D.U.C. Catalog maps the conversations and cultural landscape within which its books operate, Lenses mark major points of reference. They are generative, enduring, and significant concepts that stand out among the catalog’s many Themes.
This mapping represents A.R.T.’s own reading of the books we distribute: like all readings, it is at once subjective, cultural, and historical; as well as subject to interpretation, revision, and rewriting.
For example, for Franz Kafka, “A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.” Marcel Proust urges, “Treat my book as a pair of glasses directed to the outside; if they don’t suit you, find another pair; I leave it to you to find your own instrument.” And for Bertolt Brecht, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”