Cabinet National Library

library.jpg
the front of the Cabinet National Library, by Matt Passmore, Jud Holt, Jed Olson and John Bela, Deming, New Mexico

My husband is creative. My husband is a little eccentric. My husband builds libraries in the desert in New Mexico. For fun. Really.

This story began when Matt’s favorite art magazine, Cabinet came out with its Spring 2003 issue on the theme of “Property”. As a ridiculous conceptual art piece (and I use the word ridiculous with full reverence) Cabinet purchased an acre of uninhabitable scrubland in the middle of New Mexico. They purchased it on Ebay for 100 bucks and began to parcel off magazine-size plots of the land to their readers for a mere penny.

They also mentioned, a bit tongue in cheek, that there was still room for art installations. Matt took this comment as a call for proposals and thought of the silliest thing he could- a library out on the land, just for their magazine, complete with a card catalog and back issues of their publication. It would be housed in a vintage file cabinet (of course) that looked like it sprang from the loins of the earth itself. The Cabinet National Library.

The editors were so amused by the idea that they featured Matt’s original email and drawing in the magazine and website. They were incredulous however when, several months later, Matt called them up and said, “I think I’m going to go out there and build it.”

With the help of Matt’s dear friends {Jud Holt (pictured in previous post), Jed Olson and John Bela} they completed the project last summer. The library is featured in this month’s issue of Cabinet. It is a beautiful magazine and beautiful article. You will love it. Congratulations Matt, Jed, Jud, and John!

matt_library.jpg
Matt Passmore, Deming, New Mexico

What do they say? “Build it and they shall come.”

or “If you have a crazy idea, dream it, begin it.”

or maybe,

“We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
– John F. Kennedy

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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39 Comments

  1. Jason

    Love it…
    I’m actually headed to NM in a few weeks: where is the library?

  2. emdot

    I LOVE this! Coolest project and it looks beautiful. I want to go there. Meanwhile — it would make a great print, too. Thanks for sharing this story, Andrea. 😉

  3. JC

    That is brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  4. brooke

    John Bela as in the John Bela who, while living in Amherst, MA used to paint his body in beet juice? The one who knows my old housemate Gregory Kellet?

  5. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  6. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  7. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  8. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  9. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  10. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  11. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  12. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  13. Anonymous

    Oh, tell your husband he completely just made my week. It’s that kind of whimsy that keeps me going.

  14. Husband

    Jason – the library is located just off Interstate 10 near Deming, NM (SE corner of the state). Please email me if you’d like directions.
    Brooke – it is the very same John Bela! He still uses beet juice, mainly at Burning Man, and Andrea and I know Gregory as well.

  15. lena

    deming new mexico! where nothing ever happens (except for the annual duck races) and the (formerly) best thift shop in the world just closed! deming! i am so confused. but delighted. i went to college in las cruces and i never thought anything interesting happened in new mexico. i will have to see said library the next time i am home. ok, also, if that picture of matt in my lovely new mexico desert with the sierra madres in the background (right!?) wearing SHORTS was taken recently, i am so jealous as i sit here in chicago while it is snowing, again.

  16. lena

    no, duh, it was last summer. nevermind. i should read closer.

  17. Husband

    Correction (for Jason) – Deming is in the South-WEST corner of New Mexico. Oops!

  18. stef

    Love it! Love it ! Love it!
    totally inspiring!

  19. kristal

    Deming? That is so funny. I live next door in Las Cruces. We were just talking about where to go on a day trip this weekend. My husband voted for Deming, as his father is buried there. Email me directions so we can check it out!

  20. tiffany

    That is just fantastic. It cheered me up no end.

  21. tine

    Andrea,
    love it, reeeeaally cool!!
    What are the directions again…??!!
    ~tine.

  22. Jen

    I absolutely love it too!!!
    What a great piece of land your husband has. A great view too!!
    I love the quirky idea your husband had.

  23. brian orme

    props to your husband. I love seeing people with crazy ideas – actually do them…we need much more of that.
    peace

  24. lucia

    W – O – W! brilliant! i love your husband. i mean in a admiring-he’s cool-i would hang out with him but that’s it kinda way… you know what i mean. heh heh. but he’s really cool. not many people i know actually do what they dream up and he did it! i admire that! he just gave me the courage do something. i don’t know what yet, but hopefully it will manifest. gooooo MATT!! you two are sooo perfect for each other *muah* and thank you for inspiring me always!

  25. Julia

    Way to go Matt!! I love the originality, and “rugged individualism” of this project!!! I think the mere fact that Matt felt called to do this, speaks volumes about his creativity humor,and zest for life. How great it is that 2 super, creative, delightful beings such as you and Matt are together. What an unstoppable team you 2 must make. Great post!! 🙂

  26. Leonie

    this has kept me giggling all day!
    i LOVE this project ~ and all the joy, ambition, insight, obsurdity and vision that comes with it!
    thank you so much for sharing it andrea!
    love,
    leonie

  27. m

    I love libraries! Hope that there will be an outcrop to be a nice quiet reference section to sit in!

  28. andrea

    cool.

  29. jenn

    andrea,
    tell matt i find him inspiring and i love his project so much.
    we are going camping in nm next month so send me directions and we’ll all go check it out.
    jenn

  30. Laura

    That is so cool. We all need to do something like this.

  31. ali

    That guy is such a CATCH Andrea 🙂

  32. kel

    I can hear the silence in this library.
    What a great project. Thanx for sharing with those of us who simply dream of such adventures.

  33. Anja

    what an amazing idea! If I ever have the opportunity (I live in Europe), I’ll come and see it, too.

  34. iliana

    That’s just awesome!

  35. azura

    what a fantastic story. i love it.

  36. shelly

    Andrea,Matt,What a wild and kick ass story!Love It!

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