As part of his 100 Novels Project, performance artist Tim Youd will retype Nelson Algren’s The Man with the Golden Arm in the Newberry vestibule from July 26 to August 12. Published in 1949, The Man with the Golden Arm was made into a film starring Frank Sinatra in 1955. Algren did research for the novel at the Newberry.
Youd will retype The Man with the Golden Arm on the same make/model typewriter that Algren himself used, a Remington 17. When retyping, Youd types all the words of the novel onto one page (which is backed by a second sheet) by running it repeatedly through the typewriter. The words become illegible, and the accumulated text forms a rectangle of black ink inside the larger rectangle of the white page.
Upon completion, Youd separates the two highly distressed pages and mounts them side-by-side in diptych form. This performance relic becomes a formal drawing, a representation of two pages of a book. The novel is present in its entirety, yet the words are completely obscured.
Tim Youd (b. 1967, Worcester, MA) is a performance and visual artist working in painting, sculpture, and video. To date, he has retyped 74 novels at various locations in the United States and Europe.
Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.