The Valley gets its first Spanish-language used-book store on March 21, but it will only be here as long as Pablo Helguera’s art installation, “Librería Donceles,” is. Interestingly, the exhibit is the book store: a traveling trove of some 12,000 books in Spanish covering poetry, art, literature, history, biology, anthropology, politics, medicine and children’s literature. The artist aquired this massive collection by trading some of his previous art for boxes of secondhand books in multiples places, including Mexico City, whose historic Donceles Street inspired the exhibit.
Along this byway in the ancient city are quaint bookshops, where people can wander in and out, looking for nothing specifically, but everything generally. Helguera’s “Librería” mirrors this welcoming, community atmosphere by inviting visitors, in exchange for a pay-what-you-wish donation, to select one book after chatting with the artist or an associate about what they’re looking for. Proceeds benefit the Phoenix Public Library Foundation.
The exhibit opens with a public reception 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Combine Studios Gallery, 821 N. Third St., Phoenix. The artist and the curator will be present. The exhibit will be open 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and by appointment through June 28. Admission is free.