Alexis Dahan, We Serve Selected Texts, Installation view, 2013
Photograph by Katy Hamer

On a chilly afternoon in Chelsea, a man who had been working installing at a nearby gallery, took a break to get something to eat. He approached what he thought was a food cart on 22nd Street between10th and 11th avenues and asked what they were serving. The man behind the cart, dark haired and slight in build, wearing a dark grey Moncler puffy coat, replied “We only have food for your mind.” To which the gentleman seeking gastronomic sustenance replied, “No really, what to you have to eat?” The man in the puffy coat, artist Alexis Dahan once again said only text. The artist, based in New York and originally from Paris, France, has joined forces with Anonymous Star Project Space to install a temporary, public art piece titled “We Serve Selected Texts” and indeed they do. Upon closer inspection of the menu, one will see the names of both well-known and lesser known philosophers with titles the artist gave to texts he found might be of particular interest to those who are passing through this part of Chelsea. Excerpts from the likes of Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud and Martin Heidegger are for sale for $1.00, specifically the cost of the hand-made Japanese paper they are printed on.


Alexis Dahan, We Serve Selected Texts, detail, 2013
Photograph by Katy Hamer

The text I chose to purchase is by Henri Michaux, 1972 and was delightfully titled by Dahan, “Text is not enough”.

Why not have tried writing instead?


Words? I want nothing of them. Down with words. At this point no alliance with them is conceivable. I am out of it. I need to let myself go, let everything go, to plunge into full scale despondency, without fighting it off, without wanting to figure it out, like a man gone numb with shock and who only wants to go number…I need to throw off my chains – the chain of lies, of the falsity of my calm demeanor, of my various assertions of hope or confidence in the future, I who have lost all hope. Once again, everything has collapsed. 

Once again, the inanity of a life that hangs on trifles, the absurdity and falsity of all harmony, the idiocy of all endeavors are driven home to me – and the immense, dreadful world of suffering that is never very far removed and that shuts the mouth of everything else. 

On view Wednesday through Saturday from 1-5pm, the cart will be installed  and texts can be purchased. Why not take a stroll and instead of a hot dog, acquire a printed text. Your brain, if not your stomach, will thank you.


Alexis Dahan, We Serve Selected Texts, -stamping the text before making a scroll-
Photograph by Katy Hamer, 2013

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