So I order a copy of Nan Goldin's I'll Be Your Mirror - a big exhibition catalog from 1996 - and what do I find when the copy turns up from NC State library? That someone has cut out all the penises with a sharp exacto knife. It's not that I needed to see them - whether in the sense of not needing to see pictures of penises on a wet Tuesday afternoon; or feeling that it wouldn't be worth it for research, since they haven't been spectacularly illuminated by flash, or taking into account that I have my own copy of this book back in LA. But how does one account for this mutilation? Censorship, or wanting to possesses some stray genitalia? Or is it part of an art project, like that carried out by Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, who back in London stole and cut up and collaged and re-made a whole lot of books from the local public library between 1959-62? I have a sense that it's probably not a reenactment of the latter, alas, but I appreciate the cut-out effect achieved on the page.
In case you're wondering, female parts are entirely left alone by the knife. But there isn't a penis left in the whole book.