Cabinet National Library

A semi-monumental repository for Cabinet magazine’s organizing documents

The very first Rebar project, the Cabinet National Library is the official library for Cabinet magazine, a non-profit art and culture quarterly. For its Spring 2003 issue on “Property” the editors of Cabinet purchased a half-acre of land sight/site unseen for $300 on eBay. The land, part of a failed 1960’s residential development called the “Sunshine Valley Ranchettes,” is a desolate tract of desert scrub land outside of Deming, New Mexico.

Cabinet dubbed its kingdom “Cabinetlandia” and divided into manageable sectors- Readerlandia, Editorlandia, Nepotismia, and so forth. Leases for magazine-sized parcels were offered to readers at comparatively favorable terms: a penny for a 99-year lease.

Upon discovering the Cabinetlandia article, something immediately obvious occurred to us: Cabinetlandia would require a Cabinet National Library  – a library containing every back issue of Cabinet magazine. What better way to establish a civilization than to create a repository for its organizing documents?

Since its creation in 2005,  dozens of intrepid visitors make their way to the remote site to relax and read in the sunshine, sign the guestbook and replenish themselves at the Library snack bar. The Cabinet National Library comprises a three-drawer file cabinet built into an earthen wall and is laid out thusly:

Top Drawer – The Card Catalog, Guestbook, and Guest Services.
Middle Drawer – The Collection: back issues of Cabinet Magazine.
Bottom Drawer – The Snack Bar: water, nuts and beer.

The Library has been built and rebuilt over the years, it has resisted a coup attempt and created flash-flood adventures for many a visitor. If you are planning a visit, be prepared for rapidly-changing weather, mud and wayward artists wandering aimlessly in the desert.

The full history of Cabinetlandia is detailed on the Cabinet website.

The Cabinet National Library was conceived by Matthew Passmore and is the project that led to the creation of Rebar!

  • Tags: ART, DESIGN
  • Date: July 2004
  • Client: Cabinet Magazine
  • Location: Cabinetlandia, near Deming, New Mexico

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