Malcom X: An Introduction

J.D. SalingerDan Starling


Book, 14 x 19 cm, 112 p, language: English, publisher: Richmond Art Gallery and Galerie Werner Whitman, ISBN: N/A.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/871).

Literary synopsis

This artist book is a rewriting of J.D. Salinger's Seymour: An Introduction with Malcolm X taking the place of the main protagonist, Seymour. The text is kept as close to Salinger's original as possible however the details of the life of Seymour have been changed to refer instead to the life of Malcolm X.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

This project took the contrast between two seemingly unrelated historical individuals, J.D. Salinger and Malcolm X, as its starting point. Dan Starling was interested in them because they both became silent at the same historical moment in early 1965: Salinger chose not to publish and became a recluse and Malcolm X was assassinated. Because they had little else in common, Starling felt that he could bring them together by using a representational style that would literally make them “look” similar. He made a series of “folk” woodcarvings, photographs, a video, and an artist book. Starling is interested in the moment in which these two individuals lived since it presents a transition between a segregated society divided along colour lines and a postmodern multicultural society.

Authorship: Appropriation/Collage.

Creative Strategy: Rewriting Existing Novel.

Genre: Plain Fiction.

Publishing: Art Gallery.

Theme: American Culture.

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