Damaged Books Reborn as Art

In 2001, the San Francisco Public Library began finding books that looked like they had gone through a Ronco Chop-O-Matic.
Almost 600 books were sliced, diced and nearly julienned by a vandal with a knife— then shoved back in the shelves.
All of the books destroyed had common threads: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, HIV, women’s health and multiracial families.
“He had an agenda,” said Mary Bennett, a former San Francisco resident who moved to Santa Fe three years ago. “I said ‘God, that’s awful. Let’s do something with that.’ ”
What she did has become Santa Fe’s Center for the Contemporary Arts’ latest show: “Insight Out.”
Bennett put in a request to the library for some of the damaged books. Her idea was to ask local artists to rework the books into art pieces.

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