Artist Tim Youd makes a stop in Louisiana on his literary pilgrimage to retype 100 works of literature.
William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely. Elmore Leonard’s Get Shorty. Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Since 2013, Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd has retyped all of these novels and more as part of his “100 Novels Project.”
On what can best be described as an extended literary pilgrimage, Youd is traveling the world to retype 100 works of literature — on location and using the original make and model of typewriter employed by the book’s author. His Faulkner was typed at Rowan Oak in Oxford, Chandler on Santa Monica Pier, Leonard in Miami Beach and Thompson in Los Angeles.
Through January, Youd will be in Louisiana, performing live in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s galleries and locations throughout the state. On the agenda is John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces at Faulkner House Books, Ernest Gaines’ The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman in Oscar, Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer at The Prytania Theater, James Wilcox’s Modern Baptists in Independence and Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
During his multi-week performances, Youd will retype each novel onto a single sheet of paper, backed by a second sheet. He runs the doubled paper through the typewriter repeatedly, until every word of the novel has been retyped. Upon completion, the two pages — a positive and a negative image — are mounted as a diptych, representing two pages of a book. These resulting frayed and tattered pages reflect on our relationship to history, memory and creativity — and honor the art of language, which often gets lost in the larger-than-life legacies of some of these authors.
Youd’s performance schedule at NOMA and in Louisiana runs through January 30. His Ribbon Paintings, created using typewriter ribbon ink, are also on view at NOMA through February 21.
Photo credits, from top: Tim Youd retyping A Confederacy of Dunces in front of Faulkner House Books in Pirate Alley in New Orleans courtesy of Tim Youd; Youd retyping Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury at Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi, by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications; and 100 Novels installation photo by NOMA/Roman Alokhin.