BYU Today

Art Beat: Heavy Reading

books, lots and lots of them.

Adam Bateman’s piece The Fourth Thousand Years layers books to a height taller than an elephant.

Made of more than 100,000 books and weighing more than 41 tons, J. Adam Bateman’s (BA ’01) The Fourth Thousand Years looks like a geological cross section, formed from colored covers and gold-leafed pages. Bateman titled the piece after one of the books he used to construct it, a book by former BYU religion professor W. Cleon Skousen. On display at the Museum of Art through Nov. 26, the structure was created on-site, one book at a time, with nothing but gravity to hold the books together. Donated by the Worldwide Book Drive, the books will be given back at the close of the exhibit. The titles are purposely turned inward; otherwise, says Bateman, “[the sculpture] would be about the specific content of the specific books and people’s nostalgic relationship to those, rather than on people’s relationships to books in general.”

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