Gray Matters: The Last Library was designed and created in 1989-90 to commemorate books as our primary receptacles for knowledge while directing our gaze to the acceleration of technological changes which alter the ways we package, preserve, and disseminate what we know.
Knowledge takes on a physical presence in The Last Library. Through a monumental entryway, visitors are ushered into a space where mind and matter coalesce. All surfaces are unified by shades of gray and invigorated by rich variations in texture. Over 600 books bear titles not to be found in any other library. Books in The Last Library are unique in that they are not existing books: they are potential books. Their titles have been donated by artists, educators, writers, students, seniors, children, critics and armchair philosophers.In The Last Library the “stacks” resemble the circular formation of standing stones at “Stonehenge.”Evoking this prehistoric monument gives archetypal resonance to the library. The monolithic masses suggest and emphasize the magnificence and timelessness of our storehouses of knowledge. The juxtaposition of stone and bound paper evokes reflections upon permanence and fragility; preservation and obsolescence. The stone circle creates solitude through an interior space that is sheltered, surrounded, immense, and perfectly silent.That silence is broken only by a burst of laughter as one of the many humorous titles is discovered by a visitor.