Writer's Block

To create "Writer's Block", Sheryl Oring collected hundreds of typewriters from the 1920s and 30s and then "caged" them in sculptural boxes made of rusty construction steel. By imprisoning the typewriters, Oring takes away the writer's tool. The result is a symbolic statement about censorship that leads viewers to examine their ideas about free expression. "Writer's Block" premiered on Berlin's Bebelplatz, site of that city's Nazi book-burning, on May 10, 1999. This was the 66th anniversary of the 1933 event that destroyed the works of authors ranging from Nelly Sachs and Else Lasker-Schaler to Bertolt Brecht and Arnold Zweig.

The sculptures were later shown at the Jewish Museum Berlin; Lions' courtyard of the Buda Castle; the Boston Public Library and Bryant Park at the New York Public Library.More recently, the sculptures have been shown at the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA), and Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota, FL).

The Berlin exhibitions included a live dance-theater piece created by choreographer Sommer Ulrickson to original music by Ari Benjamin Meyers. Ulrickson and Meyers based their work on the 1933 Berlin book-burning itself, which lasted for hours and was attended by an estimated 40,000 people.

New York Times report on project.