To create something to adorn the lobby of the then new library, the city of Walnut Creek, California enlisted the services of artist Christian Moeller.
Moeller went ahead and took what is probably the most stereotypical librarian behavior and he blew it up!
Like two-stories high!
“Shhh…Portrait in 12 Volumes of Gray” stands 26 feet tall and eight feet wide and contains 3,960 books. The covers are 12 shades of gray and arranged on a gigantic steel bookshelf,. The piece displays image of a woman’s face as she makes a “shhh” signal.
Each spine represents one pixel in the entire image and all of the pages in all of the books are blank. A limited number of library patrons can; however, purchase an exact same-shade replica of a specific volume in the sculpture and write in it. They then can then bring it back and put it on the shelf, replacing the corresponding blank book in the sculpture. By doing so the sculpture becomes a container of the notes and memories of the community.
Production of the books alone for the piece took two years to complete. It was unveiled in 2010.