on 28 Apr 2014 12:56 PM
  • Press
Exhibition accompanied by performance by artist
April 1, 2014

San Diego, CA—On Saturday, May 17, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present Tim Youd: The Long Goodbye at its La Jolla location. The exhibition will remain on view through August 31, 2014.

Tim Youd has undertaken to retype one hundred classic novels over the course of five years. Employing the same make and model typewriter used by the author, Youd retypes each book in its entirety on a single page. He stages his durational performances at locations integral to the plot of the novel or pertinent to the author’s life—places they lived or held jobs. Through his pilgrimages to these charged sites, where he sits typing on an antiquated machine, Youd courts the mythologies that attend famed literary figures. At the same time, his performances stand as mechanical demonstrations of endurance—word after word, hour after hour.

In recent months, the artist has retyped each of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe crime novels, leading up to The Long Goodbye, the sixth in the seven-volume series. The acclaimed detective fiction writer moved to La Jolla in 1946 with his wife Cissy, settling down the street from  MCASD’s La Jolla location, on Camino de la Costa. There Chandler wrote The Long Goodbye as well as Playback, which is set in a fictionalized La Jolla that he called “Esmerelda.” This exhibition features new works by Youd related to these novels, as well as selected pieces from the first year of his larger 100 Novels series. During July, Youd will retype Chandler’s The Long Goodbye at MCASD, in the adjacent Krichman Gallery overlooking the ocean. 

Youd’s project is multifaceted, comprising distinct stages of artistic production. First is the performance, in which he types relentlessly on a single sheet of paper backed with an additional sheet. As he runs the doubled page through the carriage again and again, a dark monochrome emerges—that most modern of visual formats—and the novel is rendered illegible. Upon completion, the two sheets are mounted as a diptych, a positive and negative image suggesting two pages of an open book. In a final stage, Youd memorializes the typewriter on which each novel was written, creating a sculptural “portrait” of the machine. Made of layered cardboard that is carved away and painted, this handcrafted sculpture self-consciously fetishizes the tool of the writer, while also standing as a surrogate for the writer him or herself. Youd has made a typewriter portrait for each of the seven Philip Marlow novels, as well as an eighth for the unfinished novel Chandler was working on at the time of his death in 1959. Perhaps these commemorative sculptures, along with Youd’s performances, offer a kind of long goodbye to Chandler himself.

To learn more about the author and his process, visit mcasd.org/blog.

For interviews with Tim Youd and high resolution imagery, please contact Communications & Marketing Manager Leah Straub, or Communications Associate Patricia B. Dwyer.

Tim Youd: The Long Goodbye is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and is made possible by generous lead support from Mary and James Berglund and proceeds from the 2014 Art Auction. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.



Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,500 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.


Leah Straub, Communications & Marketing Manager, 858 454 3541 x119, lstraub@mcasd.org

Patricia B. Dwyer Communications Associate, 858 454 3541 x116, pdwyer@mcasd.org