Other Articles/Artist Links about Reversing Vandalism

SF Public Library

Jennifer Walker

Michael Wertz

Altered Worlds - Kate aka Glossy

SF Progressives mention

"Books Like Angels" (CA Library Association


Uffish - Blogger participant

Frontiers Newsmagazine article

Judy Watt - blogger, book artist

Chronology of Book Censorship

SFSU Golden Gate Express article

SF Gate article

My strange stuff

Early web page I made 6 years ago that seems to apply to this exhibit's vandal

Cute pic that has nothing to do with this exhibit


Reversing Vandalism at SF Public Library

In the early months of 2001, San Francisco Public Library staff began making grim discoveries in the book stacks at the Main Library. Shoved under shelves and hidden from public eye were vandalized books, ranging from gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender topics to women’s issues and books on HIV/AIDS. Staff collected over 600 badly damaged books. The torn and slashed books were deemed beyond repair and withdrawn from the Library’s collection. The offender was eventually caught and charged with a hate crime.

Rather than have this end as a total loss, the Library decided to release the damaged books to artists and interested community members in the hope of creating art out of this destructive act.

A public call for participation went out to Bay Area residents, but the story was so compelling that word of the project spread around the country. As a result, requests to take part in the project were received from Bay Area residents and concerned individuals across the nation and as far away as Japan and France.

The result is Reversing Vandalism - An exhibition of over 200 original works of art created from the damaged books. The wide variety of responses to this hate crime vividly demonstrates the transformative power of art.

[Here's a bit about my contribution, and some links and pics of a few others. I was absolutely thrilled ot be a part of it. I'd received a small paperback book from friends Keith Hennessy and Seth Eisen; not a visually impressive book, but a small paperback humor/dictionary of gay terms.

I'd hoped for a thick hardback book to carve into, and use as a strong frame for my own form of collage book art. But when I brought the slightly shredded book home, I realized I'd long had a very large, nearly 80-year-old dictionary. Employing the fun of found art, and spending $2 at the local Goodwill, I went looking for a little wheeled cart from a kid's toy, and also found a fabulous little purple high heel. The cashier made sure I wanted "just the one." I assured her it would be perfect.

On Your (Book) Marks is nothing like what I like think are my more sophisticated collage/book art, but it just seemed like the right assemblage of materials. Most of the art at this exhibit is much more developed and professional. You really need to stop by the San Francisco Public Library and see the three areas of exhibits; in the foyer of the Grove Street entrance, on the third floor in the James Hormel Center, and in the basement larger gallery. It's an amazing exhibit! - J.P.]

On Your (Book) Marks" (2003)

Mixed Media work by Jim Provenzano
2’ x 2.3’ x 2’

Paper, Dictionary, Plastic Toys.

Having written books, articles and plays, words are important to me. The act of attempting to censor or deny the growth of new terms is a losing battle.

Despite the title of the source book, "When Drag is Not a Car Race," there remains a cultural race to document the free flow of slang and colloquialisms which eventually make their way into our sometimes antiquated vocabulary.

A sampling of defined terms from Fessler and Rauch’s "Irreverent dictionary of ...gay and lesbian words and phrases" from GLBT culture have been inserted for addition into a crusty Webster’s Dictionary. The lumbering tome is being tugged into the future by a stolid drag queen’s shoe, leading the way toward loosening the lexicon of queer terminology.

Originally intended to be placed in a dazzling geometric arrangement of decorative tabs and bookmarks, the terms rejected authoritarian artist’s rule, reached no consensus, and decided to splinter off in their own communities. The lesbians formed their own discussion group. The married gays had a ceremony, while the cruising singles stayed in the urban center and at a local bar. Yet they remain united in dialectic diversity.