Tim Youd: Black/Red/Ribbon

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Tim Youd: Black/Red/Ribbon


ISBN: 978-0-9861666-8-6


Tim Youd: Black/Red/Ribbon Spring 2020

CRISTIN TIERNEY GALLERY 219 BOWERY, FLOOR 2, NEW YORK, NY 10002



Tim Youd’s typewriter ribbon paintings draw from their namesake as both an object and an idea. Formally, the paintings are hard-edged abstractions of rectangles within rectangles. They are comprised of used ribbons laid across panel, over which Youd adds oil paint. Hues of red, black, and blue reference typewriter ribbons, and shades of peach, pink, and white suggest the unseen person typing on the machine. The nested rectangles echo the block of text inside the larger rectangle of the page of a book. The typewriter ribbon doubles symbolically as a sentence, albeit an illegible one. Conceptually, the paintings are linked to Youd’s decade-plus performance project 100 Novels, in which he retypes novels on the same make and model typewriter used by the author in a location related to the book. Youd considers these performances acts of devotional reading; in retyping the novels word for word, he is able to fully immerse himself in the world created by the author. His use of the ribbons—an essential piece of the typewriting experience—is a further exploration of the tools and identity of the novelist. Moreover, he creates his paintings like he retypes the books: one line at a time. The repetitive gestures required by both bodies of work result in a meditative practice for the artist, similar to the altered state achieved when lost in (or when writing!) a good book.





Typewriter Ribbon Painting 2 (Series 2), 2019. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 16 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 cm).





Typewriter Ribbon Painting 2 (Series 3), 2020. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 16 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 cm).



Typewriter Ribbon Painting 4 (Series 3), 2020. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 16 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 cm).







Typewriter Ribbon Painting 1 (Series 3), 2020. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 16 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 cm).




Tim Youd’s studio, Los Angeles, CA, February 2019.


Tim Youd: Between the Lines Allison Unruh Countless authors have developed passionate relationships with their typewriters ever since this modern technology became widely available in the late nineteenth century. These intimate machines, with their variety of sculptural pleasures designed to accommodate the human touch, have been embraced by writers who channel their thoughts through the metallic tap of keys. Their staccato clacking or gentle hum can chart the internal rhythms of writing, sonically declaring the progress of a text. They can be seen as disciplining tools, demanding a kind of clarity and commitment so unlike computers’ William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, 2014. typewriter ink endless allowance for edits. on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). Typewriters help make the immaterial material, bringing an author’s thoughts to life one letter authors themselves. Although he replicates the novels at a time. British poet and novelist Robert Graves is word for word, working slowly with an untrained twoquoted as saying, “A veteran typewriter of which you finger method, he does so in a way that renders the have grown fond seems to reciprocate your feelings, actual texts completely unrecognizable. While staying and even encouraged the flow of thought. Though at within the confines of the typical margins of a book’s first a lifeless assemblage of parts, it eventually comes page, he goes over the same page again and again, alive.”1 For multi-disciplinary artist Tim Youd, the typewriter conveys a vital force. Through a variety of tactics until the contents of the entire novel have been impressed upon the single rectangle of space on the over the past decade, Youd has made the typewriter paper. Yet even that notional shape of a rectangular text both a key subject and conceptual pivot in his work, as well as a mark-making instrument and aesthetic ally. on the page collapses under the weight of his actions. The sustained pressure of the typewriter’s keys eventually tears away at the paper, leaving it in ink-stained Youd’s ambitious 100 Novels project acts as a kind tatters. The composition’s final form is thus determined of fascia that binds together different aspects of his by the deliberate yet also chance-based process, based engagement with literature, performance, and visual on where the letters are struck most frequently. We art. In this series of works started in 2013, Youd reare left with only an abstraction of the text, one in which types a variety of English language novels—ranging the expansive narratives and imagined worlds of the from Ernest Hemingway and William Burroughs to novels are reduced to—or rather transmuted into— Patricia Highsmith and Virginia Woolf—using vintage an illegible form. Youd attaches a backing page so typewriters that are the same model used by the

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Robert Graves quoted in Arthur Krystal, The Half-life of an American Essayist (2007), p. 23.


that two different forms result, which he then frames side-by-side. One is the blackened and tattered top page, and the other is mostly blank with embossed marks of the keys and smudges of ink. They are uncanny records of his process, their doubled format suggesting an open book, a positive and negative, presence and absence, or the performed act of the doubling of the text itself. Perhaps seeming more like an apocalyptic remnant than a composed work of art, the act of framing them suggests the preservation of a historical or even religious relic. Although they result in a tangible visual product, Youd’s 100 Novels series is expansive and varied, embracing the ephemeral quality of performance as a time-based medium. Just as the idea of seriality evoked in the title and conception of the 100 Novels project nods to processes associated with conceptual or minimalist art-making, the performances’ incorporation of days

Tim Youd retyping William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. 326 pages typed on an Underwood Universal typewriter; Faulkner’s home “Rowan Oak,” Oxford, MS, June 2014. Photo credit: Robert Jordan, University of Mississippi.

and even weeks of sustained typing (an average novel demands about 70 to 80 hours of typing) also connect to traditions of durational performance art. Echoes of artists such as Chris Burden or Marina Abramovi ć might come to mind, even if their feats of bodily endurance are cast as a humorous foil for the prosaic task of typing. While Youd’s careful pecking at the typewriter keys involves concentration and sustained action, going back and forth between the original book and the typewritten page to ensure accurate transcription of each character and space, he generally performs in public and leaves the performance open to audience interaction and happenstance. Youd moves back and forth between immersion in the author’s imagined world and the immediate environment, onlookers, and circumstances of each performance. He records the sessions with a GoPro camera strapped to his chest, capturing the fluctuations of concentrated typing and diversions. Place is a key component of the 100 Novels project. Youd chooses the specific sites based on connections to the individual authors and novels. Sometimes he spreads a performance across multiple locations so that each has a different resonance. He stages them in locations where the authors have worked, places where they have socialized, homes where they grew up, graveyards where they are buried, or sites where the novels’ plots unfold. Each sets up a different foil for the action of re-typing the novel at hand, whether bucolic (William Faulkner’s Mississippi home for The Sound and the Fury), seedy (Hollywood Boulevard for John Rechy’s City of Night), or haunting (as in sites related to WWII carpet-bombing in Dresden for Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five). The process of attending to these disparate and often far-flung locations takes on the character of a literary pilgrimage, adding another ritual-like element to the performances. Sometimes Youd structures his selections of novels in cycles that bring together various authors and books connected to a specific region, as in the example of his Hudson Valley Cycle in the summer of 2018.2 Among the

See Mary-Kay Lombino, Tim Youd: The Hudson Valley Retyped, exhibition brochure, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, August 30 – October 14, 2018.

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novels he typed were John Cheever’s Falconer in an old guard tower at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Mary McCarthy’s The Group at Vassar College, and Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding at the Carson McCullers House in Nyack. As in the larger structure of the 100 Novels project, the Hudson Valley Cycle and others put emphasis on Youd himself as the reader tying together an eclectic range of books. The authors are linked by their status as 20thcentury luminaries and their shared use of typewriters, but the selection of works does not Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise, 2013. typewriter ink on Fujifilm Prescale approximate any particular canon pressure sensitive film. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 66 pages or curriculum. Instead it suggests typed on a Brother SX-14 electronic typewriter; single day performance in actor Richard Edson’s loft, Los Angeles, CA, November 2013. Collection Robert Debitetto. the somewhat idiosyncratic character of an individual’s library. Youd has also extended his typewriter-based performances to other types of writing, including toward the specific novel I’m retyping, it’s also this screenplays and poetry. He visually distinguishes each opportunity to not just be a good reader in the moment type of writing through the use of different materials, but to become a better reader over time, which makes using black ink for novels, red ink for poetry, and 3 pressure-sensitive film instead of paper for screenplays. the journey exciting for me.” Although the act of typing references the moment of creation, evoking the This visual coding metaphorically draws attention to the distinct forms of writing that are embedded in each timeworn mystique of the author at work, it of course does not replicate an actual event. Such works typically layered and disintegrated text. undergo various changes over time by the author or editors before finding published form. For a project so zealously centered on literary subject matter, it is ironic that language itself is obscured in Youd’s focus on the abstract rendering of his retyped 100 Novels. Youd’s work circles around the act of texts serves as a kind of conceptual and gestural index writing, yet it focuses more intently on the act of readof the process of reading itself. The battered relics that ing, which is demanded in the process of retyping the comprise his 100 Novels diptychs bear the force of the books. It evokes reading as a ritual, a devotional act. repetitive action of their creation. They metaphorically Youd states: “As I’ve gotten further into it, I’ve seen capture the sustained attention demanded in his even more clearly that not only is it an act of devotion 3

Tim Youd: St. Louis Retyped, exhibition brochure, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, January 19 – April 22, 2018.


granite benches that are inscribed with selected passages from a wide-ranging array of Bishop’s poetry. Whereas Holzer’s work invites passersby to contemplate and linger with Bishop’s words, experiencing them in different ways over time, Youd’s performance renders Bishop illegible, while symbolically enacting a kind of deep reading of her work that suggests the ineffable quality of how one absorbs such literature.

Big Arms with Royal Quiet Deluxe (grey), 2017. oil on panel. 48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm).

process of reading and transcribing their contents. In this way, his work is set apart from many other artists who have quoted or adapted literary sources in their art. His retyping of Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry on Vassar College’s campus incorporated an interesting dialogue with the work of Jenny Holzer, who has been celebrated since the 1970s for her text-based conceptual artworks. While retyping Bishop’s The Complete Poems, Youd positioned himself next to Holzer’s site-specific installation of twenty

Some of Youd’s earlier works focused directly on the typewriter’s physicality: cardboard sculptures that recreated the models used in the 100 Novels series (“portraits” of the machines employed by the authors), or colorful paintings representing his hands outstretched toward different models of vintage typewriters. He has largely shifted his emphasis to abstract and conceptual vocabularies over the past several years. Youd’s Tally Drawings, related to the 100 Novels project, use representation as a starting point, only to disintegrate its legibility through a process of repetition. He draws 100 outlines of one of the typewriters used in his performance over one another. He also includes a tabulation below listing the number of days and times he executed each drawing. The outlines of these mechanical instruments are subject to a similar process of abstraction through accumulation as the typed texts. The accrual of fine outlines creates the perception of a residual haze that almost seems to vibrate around the dense core, suggesting some kind of immaterial force field rather than an object. The centers of the Tally Drawings become dense while their peripheries reveal the outlined forms, and the tabulation typed below provides a different kind of abstracted, more conceptual accounting for the labor involved in their creation. Over the last few years, Youd has continued his exploration of abstract modes in his series of Ribbon Paintings. A type of gestural mark making (mediated by the mechanical device) is implied in the 100 Novels diptychs. In the Ribbon Paintings, Youd integrates aspects of expressive mark making with a hard-edge vocabulary. Youd repurposes discarded rolls of typewriter ribbon, layering them in horizontal bands across the canvas,


embalmed in oil paint and a layer of glue that builds up the surface to take on an encaustic-like appearance. Their palettes center on the interplay of red and black, the colors of the most frequently used typewriter inks. In the slight irregularities of their textures and forms, they evoke a sense of touch, not distant from the tactile handling of the typewriter itself. Some in the series also incorporate off-white and peach-toned pigments that abstractly suggest the presence of the artist’s hands at the keyboard or the use of whiteout to erase mistakenly typed text. Youd leaves the sides of the paintings exposed, revealing the edges of the ribbons and allowing the rough smudges and smears of ink and paint to accumulate in a casually gestural manner at the edges. The compositions of the Ribbon Paintings play with the rectangle within a rectangle format that evokes 100 Smith-Corona Silents with Tally, 2017. graphite on paper the printed page, echoing central aspects of the 100 and typed index cards. approx. 36 x 48 inches (91.4 x 121.9 cm). Novels project. Yet while that series’ diptychs convey the effects of pressure and collapse in their making, the paintings are rigorously composed. They suggest the form of the printed page but also a kind of threshold, foregrounding an in-between, enigmatic quality. Text is only implied in the horizontal bands, which might seem almost like repeatedly redacted sentences. This is not unrelated to the way that typewriter ribbons carry encrypted messages, as the keys striking upon them leave only traces of text. Likewise, even in the absence of actual text Youd’s paintings seem to convey an obsession with the twinned acts of typing and reading. Their formal focus on the interplay of equally spaced horizontal bands evokes the omnipresent structure of so much of our written language, and our habits of scanning left to right and top to bottom might be 100 Smith-Corona Silents with Tally (detail) activated even in the absence of text itself. Youd’s paintings, and his larger body of work, can be seen to leave us with open-ended questions about our own experiences with the act of reading and its relationship to our lives. His works are imbued with a love of books, and an appreciation of the deep immersion and indefinable experiences that can be possible when we sink into the worlds offered on a novel’s pages.



Typewriter Ribbon Painting 8 (Series 3), 2020. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm).







Typewriter Ribbon Painting 3 (Series 3), 2020. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm).



Typewriter Ribbon Painting 9 (Series 3), 2020. oil and typewriter ribbon on panel. 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm).







Tim Youd: American Identity The Armory Show March 5–8, 2020



In March 2020 Cristin Tierney presented Tim Youd typing The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath in a solo booth at The Armory Show. Each day he set up his typewriter at a table, and the sounds of him typing echoed through the fair’s hallways. Surrounding the artist in the booth were select performance relics. For seven years Tim Youd has been engaged in a performance project that has taken him across the globe. Called 100 Novels, the performances all follow the same formula: Youd retypes a selected novel on the same make and model typewriter used by the author, in a location related to the novel or author. When retyping, Youd types all the words of the novel onto one page (which is backed by a second sheet) by running it through the typewriter over and over again. The words become illegible, and the accumulated text becomes a rectangle of black ink inside the larger rectangle of the white page. Upon completion, Youd separates the two pages and mounts them side-by-side as a diptych. Youd’s project was sited in the Armory Perspectives section, which presented fresh perspectives on the 20th century. First published in 1963, The Bell Jar is considered a classic of American fiction and a roman à clef due to its similarities to people and events from the author’s life. It is notable for its frank portrayal of rarely discussed topics such as a woman’s pain, private thoughts, and mental health treatment. Further, Plath’s character’s descent into a pervasive and suffocating depression contrasts the extreme order, control, and decorum expected of women at the time of the book’s publication.

On the walls of the booth were several diptychs from previously completed performances: William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, Evan Connell’s Mrs. Bridge, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ernest Gaines’ The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, John Rechy’s City of Night, Elizabeth Bishop’s Complete Poems, 1927-1979, and Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. These works represented a variety of perspectives from post-war American life. Naked Lunch (1959) crystallizes the major threads of the growing Beat Generation in a series of vignettes that travel through the US, Mexico, Tangier, and beyond; the similarly peripatetic City of Night (1963) is a lightly fictionalized account of the author’s life as a hustler. Mrs. Bridge (1959) relates the story of an upper-middle-class family from the Midwest confronted by a changing sociopolitical landscape. Wise Blood (1952) is a classic example of Southern Gothic literature, relying on grotesque, irrational, and abject characters and plot points to illuminate the fallacy of an idyllic antebellum South. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955) is a narrative in part about the haves and have-nots, and the dark side of unchecked greed and American ambition. And The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) dives into the lives of black Americans between Emancipation and the emergence of the Civil Rights movement.



“The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman was typed in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana under the ‘Miss Jane Pittman Oak Tree’ as part of my show at NOMA. The tree marks the entrance to the former plantation that Gaines’s parents worked on as share-croppers. Gaines would sit under it when he was working on the book, and he wrote the tree into the novel. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is the story of the Jim Crow south, from the end of slavery up to the birth of the Civil Rights movement. Gaines gives us this brutal and painful history through the eyes of Jane, who survives to tell her tale partially through circumstance, but more importantly through resilience.” – Tim Youd

Ernest Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 259 pages typed on a Royal Empress; Miss Jane Pittman Oak Tree, Pointe Coupee, LA.



Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, 2016. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 256 pages typed on a Royal P; Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation, Milledgeville, GA, February 2016.



Typewriter Ribbon I, 2020. oil pastel on paper. framed dimensions: 55 x 78 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches (139.7 x 199.4 x 6.4 cm).





“This is Rechy’s lightly fictionalized account of his life as a hustler in the 1950s. I sat in the storefront window of the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) gallery, on the very same stretch of Hollywood Boulevard that Rechy had hustled some 70 years earlier. My performance took place in the nighttime hours only, from 10pm to 3am. I was flashed and mooned and witnessed a few fistfights, including one that left a guy unconscious for a solid ten minutes in the doorway in front of me. Each evening, as 1am gave way to 2am, the drunken rowdiness of the boulevard subsided into a lonely, fatigued silence.” – Tim Youd

John Rechy’s City of Night, 2016. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 460 pages typed on an Underwood Model S; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Hollywood, CA, June 2016.



William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 196 pages typed on a Hermes Rocket; Burroughs’s childhood home, Left Bank Books, and Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO, March 2018. Collection Gülsen Çalik.



Elizabeth Bishop’s The Complete Poems, 1927-1979, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 228 pages typed on a Royal Arrow; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, September 2018.





Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, 2017. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 271 pages typed on an Olympia SM3 and Hermes Rocket; Cristin Tierney Gallery and Marie’s Crisis, New York, NY, July 2017.



“I performed Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge back to back in Connell’s hometown of Kansas City, where the novels are set. They offer a parallax view of an upper-middle-class, mid-century couple and their offspring. The novels are remarkable for their subtle deconstruction of form, juxtaposed against the faltering sense of any meaning in the stolid and stable way of midwestern American life. Each is written as a string of obliquely related vignettes, often about subjects mundane or domestic, which are ultimately possessing of great existential force when assembled together. I retyped Mrs. Bridge at the H&R Block ArtSpace in the Country Club Plaza section of the city, where the fictional Bridges and the real-life Connell lived.” – Tim Youd

Evan Connell’s Mrs. Bridge, 2015. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). 256 pages typed on an Olympia SM3; H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO, February 2015.





Select 100 Novels Performances


Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, 2017. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).

Tim Youd retyping Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. 287 pages typed on an Olympia SM3; Marie’s Crisis, Greenwich Village, NY, July 2017. Photo by John Muggenborg.


Tim Youd: Movable Type Paul Bright Director of Art Galleries and Programming, Wake Forest University In her 1964 essay Against Interpretation Susan Sontag famously suggested that, “in place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art”. An erotics of art; this might be just the thing to allow an entry into Tim Youd’s process of intense re-reading and re-typing of selected 20th-century novels. Such an approach, based on the sensuous, even sensual experiences of creating, encountering—experiencing—a work of art, offers a pivotal insight into Youd’s state of mind and his process for performing what he calls “ecstatic readings.”

pages are then mounted side by side and presented— as “diptychs”—the evidentiary objects of his action and works of process-determined art.

This condensation of experience and “information” nods perhaps to our age of information overload and short attention spans, where we find ourselves as “data points,” but less capable than the machines we’ve invented for processing the increasingly vast amounts of information we obsessively collect. In this context, Youd’s paired pages (complete with his glitches; Contrary to an eyes-rolled-back-in-the-head cliché his mis-typings) present us with something akin to of “ecstasy,” Youd’s performances are tamped-down corrupted ZIP files, where the density of the encoded and direct, focused and of duration, more tantric than information cannot be unpacked and re-read in its histrionic. (They are also events in which no one is original form. However, Youd offers ample compensashot, brushes up against you nakedly, or maintains tion for the loss of a literal “read” with works embodying eye contact for an interminable period.) The theatrical meta (morphosed) data; his work transforms the signs aspect is mostly of a vérité kind, with a twist of surreal- of letterforms and texts into the “worded” abstraction ism and a dash of the absurd. Often, before he is even of the over-typed pages, which, like most successful seen, the artist’s actions are announced by the staccato works, ultimately elude capture by words (or hermeneuphrases of a mechanical typewriter. He sits at a table in tics). In Tim Youd’s re-typed pages, words are freed of a publicly accessible place, reading and typing all day, their literary signification, only to be subsumed by the day after day, with no overt dramatics, until one day exigencies of the image they now compose. Implicitly, he doesn’t show up. Youd is open to interruption by while the artist demonstrates great esteem for authors onlookers during his performances, but the real engage- and their texts, his process of re-reading and overment is between the artist and the book. This interactyping questions Word and Text the ultimate containers tion is not entirely unlike many studio “performances” of meaning, replacing written language with aggregate between artists and their work, moving in and out of images and returning texts to something akin to the a time-suspended “zone” of concentrated but porous “pictures” from which writing originally emerged. focus, except that in Youd’s case the artist presents Youd does not select the venues for his re-typings this typically unwitnessed exchange to an audience; the studio is opened up to the observer/voyeur. The act arbitrarily. He performs in locations that were important to the author or to some aspect of the text. Likewise, of the work becomes the work, with the performance another performance feature the artist intentionally yielding an artifact at its conclusion. arranges is his use of typewriters of same model Youd has acknowledged that his action of re-typing employed by the author to create the original text, another writer’s work is an homage, but it is a paralending Youd’s actions a greater connection to the doxical one, resulting in an emulation of a written work subjected work and its author. It’s interesting, in our which is no longer legible in a conventional, literary, posthumanism age of accelerating de-materialization, sense; instead the text is remade as a visual work. to encounter the typewriter again, self-consciously, as His process is not open-ended or circular; it takes the a machine whose use is outside the living memory of time it takes—days, weeks—for Youd to re-read and most people. Dictated by his parameters to re-type re-type the book in question. But the whole duration 20th century works that were created with typewriters, of the experience as well as the entire content of each Youd intentionally employs this very mechanical re-typed book is compressed—embodied—in just two method, one not much advanced from Gutenberg’s layered and simultaneously re-typed sheets. These press, to realize his illegible text-objects.


Contemporary printing typically involves the laying down of ink on paper, sprayed from nozzles or applied from plates and rollers. Conversely, typing emulates the mid-15th century letterpress technologies of the printed book, as a form of relief printing. For relief typesetting, type is carved or cut from metal to create letterforms in mirror-image, composed into words and paragraphs and cast as pages in matrixes, inked, and pressed— or in the case of the typewriter, each letter sequentially hammered—into the fibers of the paper. In both cases a single example is created each time. In printing, because the type is “set,” further copies are possible. A typewritten page, however, is unique unless a carbon copy—an interleaving sheet with transferable carbon powder—is used between front and back pages, providing an original and a copy. Youd’s interest is not in the possibilities of the true facsimile or copy; his overlaid pages are iterations of the same text and actions, but his whole enterprise demonstrates the futility of chasing the false verisimilitude of the copy, either as an object or as a recreated experience of a work’s realization. In the delayed or displaced appearance on the backing page of the repeatedly stamped letterforms from the front sheet, the same impressions are made, but they are very different. His process of re-typing these works is from the position of an interested reader, no matter how ecstatic. Occupying this distinct role, with the application of his own modus, allows Youd to create visual works in homage to, but also autonomous from, the literary works that are their basis. A page created in either of these relief methods—letterpress or typing—is a haptic thing; the letters’ embossing is visible in raking light, and a fingered page reveals the texture of the type. In typography, the general sense of darkness of type on a page is referred to as its “color”. Typeface, type size, leading—the vertical space between lines—and letterspacing, all affect the density, rhythm, and apparent texture of the page. Sections of Youd’s pages are at the furthest extremity of color for a typed page, to the point of the paper’s structural failure. For Youd, black is the deepest color. On the Road, Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel, was famously typed as one continuous “page,” a segmented scroll comprising the entire manuscript (less the final section,

eaten by a friend’s dog). Youd’s work does the opposite, compressing the narrative embodied in the accumulation of overtyped text to its terminal limit, as if subjected to the inescapable gravity of an event horizon. The aural component of Youd’s performances, the sound of keystrikes as he types, and the very mechanical emanations from his vintage typewriters, form an important element of his work, providing a sort of incantation of whatever text he’s ecstatically reading. A musical parallel to Youd’s diptychs can be found in composer Steve Reich’s Piano Phase (1967; originally for piano and audio tape). As Youd feeds two layered pages into his typewriter simultaneously, Reich’s performance employs a piano along with a pre-recorded iteration of his score. In both cases, the works given life by the “scores” are initially aligned, then gradually fall out of and back into phase periodically. The works’ respective patterns are layered but imperfectly laminated; by Reich’s two “instruments” and on the two sheets in Youd’s typewriter. This superimposition creates new patterns and effects that neither text/sound, apprehended alone, anticipates. Youd’s top sheet eventually disintegrates in places, and the second backing page receives all of the impacted ink through the openings. In these sections the “voices” diverge, analogously to Reich’s temporally layered, phased “pulses” (as in the composer’s Music for 18 Musicians from 1974-76). Youd’s and Reich’s “keyboard” works share the same sense of deep concentration, a slow-burn intensity of duration and, more obviously, repetitive, mostly staccato rhythms. Though they arise from different points of origin, these works remind us that musical performance and audition is a concentrated and temporally delimited experience, as is reading; and that typing is an aural and precisely tactile one, like playing an instrument. In their embodiment of compression; of time—of the days it takes to read and “perform” the entire book before him—as well as of the information carried by its text, Youd’s diptychs are reminiscent of the radical condensation of Idris Khan’s re-photographed and superimposed pages of books, such as the Qur’an, or Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida (or Sontag’s On Photography, for that matter), which are presented—like each of


Youd’s completed re-typings - as a single open codex composed of additive text—a diptych of superimposed words. Youd’s diptychs also function chronometrically, registering duration much as do Hiroshi Sugimoto’s series of photographs of old movie theaters taken in the 1970s. For these photographs, the camera’s shutter was left open for the entire length of a projected film, echoing Youd’s process of reading/re-typing books of various lengths, from beginning to end. Both Youd’s diptychs and Sugimoto’s photographs are a record of durational performances. While Sugimoto’s theatre images are photographic evidence of an additive processes—with projected light, equal amounts of spectral light yield white light (registering as black on a photographic negative) —Youd’s accumulated blacks start with a premise of whiteness—the blank page—which undergoes a “subtraction” of light as the inked letters are gradually and repeatedly embossed on the layered pages, towards density and a frayed obscurity. While these works reflect some shared conceptual concerns among the three artists and are the visible result of their respective processes, they illuminate a major distinction between Youd’s diptychs and the two others’ photographic works. Youd’s works alone have the dimensional, tactile qualities of objects, rather than the unified but more remote surfaces of photographic images. As works of compelling physicality, Youd’s pages have a direct, tangible correspondence to the artist/typist’s keystrokes and returns on his “machine.” These overtyped, embossed diptychs are not depictions or representations. They are objects, tattered and shredded, nearly obliterated in their ecstatic making.



The Italy Cycle with Hanes Art Gallery, WFU

Tim Youd’s typed postcard announcing the Casa Artom performance, April 2017.



Patricia Highsmith’s Those Who Walk Away Venice, Italy May 2017

Patricia Highsmith’s Those Who Walk Away, 2017. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). Private Collection.







Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees Stresa, Italy June-July 2017

Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, 2017. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).





John Williams’s Augustus Museo dell’Ara Pacis Rome, Italy May-June 2017

John Williams’s Augustus, 2017. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).





The St. Louis Cycle with CAMSTL

Tim Youd’s typed postcard announcing Retyping St. Louis, 2017.



William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch Burroughs’s childhood home, Left Bank Books, and Bellefontaine Cemetery St. Louis, MO March 2018

William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). Collection Gülsen Çalik.





Stanley Elkin’s The Franchiser Washington University St. Louis, MO January-February 2018

Stanley Elkin’s The Franchiser, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).





Marianne Moore’s Complete Poems First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood Kirkwood, MO February-March 2018

Marianne Moore’s Complete Poems, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).





The Hudson Valley Cycle with The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College

Tim Youd’s typed postcard announcing The Hudson Valley Retyped, June 2018



Mary McCarthy’s The Group Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY April - May 2018

Mary McCarthy’s The Group, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm). Collection of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; purchase, Milton Bellin Fund, 2018.26.1.





John Cheever’s Falconer Sing Sing Prison Ossining, NY, June 2018

John Cheever’s Falconer, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).







William Kennedy’s Ironweed Art Omi Ghent, NY June 2018

William Kennedy’s Ironweed, 2018. typewriter ink on paper. framed: 17 x 25 inches (43.2 x 63.5 cm).





100 Novels Completed Performances 1. Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 204 pages typed on an IBM Selectric II. Los Angeles, CA, February 2013. 2. Charles Bukowski’s Women. 304 pages typed on an Olympia SG-1. Los Angeles, CA, March 2013. 3. Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. 289 pages typed on an Olivetti Lettera 32. Los Angeles, CA, March 2013. 4. Henry Miller’s Black Spring. 204 pages typed on an Underwood Standard. Los Angeles, CA, April 2013. 5. Henry Miller’s Quiet Days in Clichy. 154 pages typed on an Underwood Standard. Los Angeles, CA, April 2013. 6. Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn. 298 of 332 pages typed on an Underwood Standard. Brooklyn, NY, May 2013. 7. Charles Bukowski’s Post Office. 208 pages typed on an Underwood Champion. Terminal Annex Post Office, Los Angeles, CA, July 2013. 8. Charles Bukowski’s Factotum. 205 pages typed on a Royal Quiet Deluxe. Terminal Annex Post Office, Los Angeles, CA, July 2013. 9. Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. 352 pages typed on an Underwood 21. Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA, August – October 2013. 10. Kurt Vonnegut’s Jailbird. 320 pages typed on a Smith Corona Coronamatic 2200. Los Angeles, CA, August 2013. 11. Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. 303 pages typed on a Smith Corona Coronamatic 2200. Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis, IN, September 2013.

12. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick. 288 pages typed on a Smith Corona Coronamatic 2200. Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis, IN, September 2013. 13. Elmore Leonard’s Maximum Bob. 326 pages typed on an IBM Wheelwriter. Los Angeles, CA, October 2013. 14. Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch. 344 pages typed on an IBM Wheelwriter. Los Angeles, CA, October 2013. 15. Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. 304 pages typed on an Olympia SG-3. CSUF – Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA, November 2013. 16. Elmore Leonard’s Get Shorty. 304 pages typed on an Olympia SG-3. Aqua Art Fair, Miami Beach, FL, December 2013. 17. Philip K. Dick’s Flow My Tears the Policeman Said. 249 pages typed on an Olympia SG-3. CSUF – Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA, December 2013. 18. Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. 246 pages typed on an Underwood Noiseless. LA Art Fair, Los Angeles, CA, January 2014. 19. Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely. 292 pages typed on an Underwood Noiseless. Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, January 2014. 20. Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. 332 pages typed on a Corona No. 3. Hemingway-Pfeffer Museum, Piggott, AR, February 2014. Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, Stressa, Italy, June – July 2017. 21. Raymond Chandler’s The High Window. 272 pages typed on an Underwood Noiseless. Pasadena, CA, February 2014. 22. Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake. 272 pages typed on an Underwood Noiseless. Big Bear, CA, March 2014.


23. Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister. 250 pages typed on a Smith Corona Sterline. Hollywood, CA, April 2014. 24. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. 326 pages typed on an Underwood Universal. Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS, June 2014. 25. Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. 379 pages typed on an Olivetti Studio 44. Chandler’s former residence, La Jolla, CA, July 2014.

35. Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. 333 pages on an Underwood Portable. Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex, England, April 2015. 36. John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. 277 pages typed on a Hermes Rocket. National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, CA, June 2015. 37. Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur. 241 pages typed on an Underwood Portable. Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, CA, July 2015.

26. Raymond Chandler’s Playback. 176 pages typed on an Olivetti Studio 44. Chandler’s former residence, La Jolla, CA, July 2014.

38. Richard Farina’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. 352 pages typed on an Olivetti Lettera 32. The Barnyard, Carmel, CA, July 2015.

27. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. 158 pages typed on a Royal KMM. Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis, IN, September 2014.

39. Richard Brautigan’s A Confederate General from Big Sur. 159 pages typed on an IBM Selectric. Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur, CA, August 2015.

28. Upton Sinclair’s Oil!. 548 pages typed on an Underwood No. 5. With LAXART at the Doheny Mansion, Beverly Hills, CA, October 2014.

40. John Kennedy’s Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. 394 pages typed on an Olivetti Studio 44. With the New Orleans Museum of Art at Pirate’s Alley and Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, LA, October 2015.

29. Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy. 365 pages typed on a Remington Portable No. 2. Dublin Writers’ Museum, Dublin, Ireland, December 2014. 30. Evan Connell’s Mrs. Bridge. 256 pages typed on an Olympia SM-3. Kansas City Art Institute’s Art Space, Kansas City, MO, February 2015. 31. Evan Connell’s Mr. Bridge. 367 pages typed on an Olympia SM-3. Kansas City Public Library – Central Branch, Kansas City, MO, February 2015. 32. Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim. 296 pages typed on an Adler Standard. University of Leicester – David Wilson Library, Leicester, England, March 2015. 33. Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. 212 pages on an Olympia SM-5. With the International Anthony Burgess Foundation at the Manchester Central Library, Manchester, England, March 2015. 34. Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. 209 pages on an Underwood Portable. Godrevy Lighthouse and Penwith Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, April 2015.

41. Ernest Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. 259 pages typed on a Royal Empress. With the New Orleans Museum of Art at Louisiana Highway 416 and Miss Jane Pittman Oak Tree, New Roads, LA, November 2015. 42. Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. 242 pages typed on a Smith Corona Sterling. With the New Orleans Museum of Art at Prytania Theatre, New Orleans, LA, December 2015. 43. James Wilcox’s Modern Baptists. 239 pages typed on a Brother Portable. New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA, December 2015. 44. Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. 661 pages typed on a Remington Portable #5. With the New Orleans Museum of Art at the State Capitol building, Baton Rouge, LA, January 2016. 45. Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. 256 pages typed on a Royal P. Flannery O’Connor – Andalusia Foundation, Milledgeville, GA, February 2016.


46. Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away. 57. John Cheever’s Falconer. 256 pages typed on a Royal P. 211 pages typed on an Olivetti Lettera 32. SCAD and the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, With The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at a Savannah, GA, February 2016. decommissioned guard tower at Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, NY, June 2018. 47. John Rechy’s City of Night. 460 pages typed on an Underwood Model S. 58. A. M. Homes’s Jack. Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), 200 pages typed on an IBM Selectric III. Hollywood, CA, June 2016. With The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers, NY, June 2018. 48. John Rechy’s Numbers. 256 pages typed on an Underwood Model S. 59. Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding. Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA, July 2016. 162 pages typed on a Remington Noiseless Portable. With The Frances Lehman Loeb 49. Patricia Highsmith’s Those Who Walk Away. Art Center at Carson McCullers House and 250 pages typed on an Olympia SM-3. Pickwick Book Shop, Nyack, NY, June 2018. With Hanes Art Gallery at Casa Artom on the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy, May 2017. 60. William Kennedy’s Ironweed. 227 pages typed on an L.C. 50. John Williams’s Augustus. Smith & Corona Model 11. 305 pages typed on a Royal 10. With The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at With Hanes Art Gallery at Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY Rome, Italy, May – June 2017. and Art Omi, Ghent, NY, June 2018. 51. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. 271 pages typed on an Olympia SM-3 and on a Hermes Rocket. Cristin Tierney Gallery and Marie’s Crisis Café, New York, NY, July 2017. 52. John Ehle’s The Land Breakers. 345 pages typed on a Royal KMM. ZSR Library and Hanes Gallery at Wake Forest and the Reynolda House grounds, Winston-Salem, NC, November 2017. 53. Daphne Athas’ Entering Ephesus. Partially completed at the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC. 54. Stanley Elkin’s The Franchiser. 342 pages typed on an Adler Satellite. With CAMSTL at Washington University and CAMSTL, St. Louis, MO, January – February 2018. 55. William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. 196 pages typed on a Hermes Rocket. With CAMSTL at Burroughs’s childhood home, Left Bank Books, and Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO, March 2018. 56. Mary McCarthy’s The Group. 487 pages typed on an Remington No. 3. With The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, April – May 2018.

61. James Salter’s Light Years. 308 pages typed on an IBM Selectric III. With The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Thomas Cole House, Catskill, NY, July 2018. 62. Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. 351 pages typed on an Olivetti Lettera 32. With MOCA Tucson at the Yuma Crossing, Yuma, AZ, May – June 2019. 63. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. 275 pages typed on an Underwood-Olivetti Studio 44. The Albertinum, Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden City Museum, and the Japanisches Palais, Dresden, Germany, October 2019. 64. Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa. 372 pages typed on a Corona No. 3. Karen Blixen Museum, Denmark, October – November 2019. 65. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. 311 pages retyped on an Olympia SG-3. Sprechsaal and “Speech is Not Free” Festival, Berlin, Germany, November 2019. 66. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. 244 pages typed on a Hermes 3000. The Armory Show and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York, NY, March 2020.


A performance and visual artist, Tim Youd is presently engaged in the retyping of 100 novels over a fifteenyear period. To date, he has retyped 66 novels at various locations in the United States and Europe. Residencies at historic writer’s homes have included William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak with the University of Mississippi Art Museum (Oxford, MS), Flannery O’Connor’s Andalusia with SCAD (Milledgeville and Savannah, GA), and Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House (Rodmell, Sussex). His work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions at CAMSTL, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Hanes Art Gallery at Wake Forest University, The New Orleans Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art, Hemingway-Pfeffer Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, University of Mississippi Art Museum at Rowan Oak, and the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. He has presented and performed his 100 Novels project at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and LAXART, and retyped Joe Orton’s Collected Plays at The Queen’s Theatre with MOCA London. He lives and works in Los Angeles.


Photography credits: Paul Bright: 80-83 Robert Jordan, University of MIssissippi: 26 John Muggenborg: 6-7, 32-33, 35, 42-43, 46, 54-55, 62-63, 68-69, 72, 114-115, 117 Cristin Tierney: 1, 4, 24 Allison Unruh: 100-101 Mariana Vincenti for The New York Times: 110-111 Joshua White/JWPictures.com: 10-11, 16-17, 19, 23, 29, 41


Cristin Tierney Gallery 219 Bowery, Floor 2 New York, NY 10002 212.594.0550 www.cristintierney.com