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LSU Libraries Welcomes New Permanent Display, “Literary Layers”

This spring, LSU Libraries installed three stunning new book sculptures, born from the creative mind of Malcolm McClay, Pliner Professor in the LSU School of Art. “Literary Layers,” will be permanently exhibited in room 141, on the first floor of the main library. 

In his artist's statement, McClay eloquently captured the essence of his creation, expressing a deep reverence for the tangible beauty of books. "The weight in your hand, the smell of the paper, and the sound of pages from the light fluttering of old dictionaries to the heavy pages of hardback novels, books are present and tactile containers with distinct personalities,” he said. 

The display is comprised of three sculptures, “V-Stack.” “Endless Volume,” and “Palm Stack.”two stacks of books in the shape of a V


I wanted to create a work that was both a book stack and also a letter of the alphabet. V was an obvious choice as it was two simple book stacks that seemed to defy gravity. You stand back and see the piece as the letter V or come closer and experience the books as they expand out and up from a single book on the carpet. -Malcolm McClay


Endless Volumea tall, curving stack of books

Endless volume speaks to my experience reading the seemingly infinite number of words that any single book holds. Based on Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column, Endless Volume shares Brancusi’s attempt to describe infinity. He attempts it through height, while I want the audience to imagine each word, not in a sentence, but alone, stored in these containers sitting one on top of another. -Malcolm McClay

two stacks of books. One stack is straight and the other is curved.Palm Stack

Balancing creativity and creative output with the thousand obligations one has is a constant struggle for me. So, the forms rising have been given an unequal amount of time and attention. In a world filled with emails and endless bureaucratic paperwork, words become both a burden as well as a creative escape. -Malcolm McClay

“Literary Layers” is the second permanent sculpture exhibit to be installed in the main library. Last year, “Harmonious Compositions: Exploring the Intersection of Music and Art,” was installed in LSU Libraries Music Resources Department in room 202. “Harmonious Compositions” features intricate sculptures repurposed from musical instruments and other recycled materials created and curated by Dennis Parker, Haymon Professor of Cello, in the LSU School of Music.

These exhibitions exemplify the interdisciplinary nature of LSU Libraries and provide patrons with unique opportunities to engage with art and literature, fostering creativity, critical thinking, and cross-disciplinary collaboration. LSU Libraries warmly invites all patrons to come experience "Literary Layers" and delve into the wealth of knowledge found within the extensive collection housed throughout the library.

LSU Libraries includes the LSU Library and the adjacent Hill Memorial Library. Together, the libraries contain more than 4 million volumes and provide additional resources such as expert staff, technology, services, electronic resources, and facilities that advance research, teaching, and learning across every discipline.
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