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museum of nothing collage

The Museum of Nothing is currently in the omicron stage of development, with a Beta test opening on June 19, 2023, in the Red Barn Gallery at UCSB.What will be on view is a sample, mainly what I call "The Kitchen Collection." See Collections of Nothing for an account of what that is. Suffice it to say that it will cover approximately two hundred square feet of wall space with over 5000 discrete things.

See below and to the left for some possible images for the glossy gift-shop catalogue of The Museum of Nothing. And here is some text for the Introduction to that book:

The Museum of Nothing was founded in 2022 for the study, cherishment, and frivolous display of nothing in beautiful glass cases, also on shelves and pedestals. The museum aims to be jam-packed with more or less galore than you can fathom for your exclusive viewing pleasure. Nothing—our unfathomable nothing—aches to be hung with such flagrant insignificance, such inconsequential buzztalk, and such whimpering self-hatred, that the all-seeing eye of time immemorial shall weep with joy. In practice, both eyes will most likely do so. . . .

Founded in 1776, the museum responded to the founders’s insomniac fretting over all the possessions that Americans would eventually hold and then discharge as worthless—the tawny turkey feathers, musket ball cartons, and busted quilting needles. The fundamental mind simply halts at the halter of it all around the neck of nothingness. Were we to think these no-things could claim no repository, no card catalogue, no seat in the public lavatory of entitlement? Might there not be some edifice of brick and mortar to gather the accumulated vacancy of sense in the district of study? Thereto would arise a bastion, just beyond the reach of rationality or reason to exist. This very book would vanish from your hands, if The (stately) Museum of Nothing were not. Call me verbose, but then you’re just adding words to the flux, and soon we will have to establish a weir, which is where we are today, hydraulically speaking, clutching this catalogue as if our lives depended on it. . . .

Down each hall go corridors, lined on every expanse with walls. Lovely arches over the void seem especially redundant. Soaring ceilings run with pus. Grab a rag! After a simple handshake transaction at the outlandish turnstile, you will be granted affordances to behold whatever you might care to guess, if you care at all or have even given it a second thought. The vastness never seems to end, which leaves it up to you to end, or not to end, as you choose. . . . A box in the lobby stands waiting for your comments, which deserve to be stored for posterity and then some. As usual, there will never be a time like now to introduce the obvious.

Museum of Nothing notice
Museum of Nothing notice
Museum of Nothing
dave king life cereal

Collecting and Hoarding at UCSB's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, November 5 (on Zoom)

4:00.   The Creative Edge of Collecting--talk by William Davies King of UCSB


4:30.   An Oikos for Everything: Hoarding against Waste--talk by Rebecca Falkoff of NYU

7:00.  Collections of Nothing Enough Is Enough--a play by William Davies King

       RECORDED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2oLQXa7zX4

          A production of UCSB's LAUNCHPAD--Risa Brainin director, with Irwin Appel and Annie Torsiglieri and WDK

          Both events were followed by a talkback.




Here is a link for more information:


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Hyper-Illuminated Books Click on a year to see the annual gallery

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two characters with cut strips of colorful paper between them
My one-act play: "Les Mots Justes, or Hold Your Tongue" in Alone,Together anthology

This 6+ hour festival of Zoom plague-inspired theater took place on June 6, sponsored by UCSB's play development program LAUNCHPAD--39 plays, 24 playwrights.

And I was among them with this 10-minute play "Les Mots Justes, or Hold Your Tongue"

Now an anthology of all these plays has been published by Dramatic Publishing Company, and I was happy to be the editor of this book since it gave me the opportunity to work with a great group of professional playwrights.

Here is UCSB's press release on the publication:


The wonderful performance of my play can no longer be seen on the internet because all these plays are now licensed for others to produce, but contact me if you'd like to read my script. Here is a link to the festival website:


Here is the Dramatic Publishing Company's page on the book, which is not available except electronically now but will soon be in print:


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Lorem Ipsum
The Creative Edge of Collecting--On exhibit at UCSB Library

This exhibit finally was dismantled in December 2021 after being on display for nearly two years (most of that time with the library closed to the public due to COVID). 

But IF you did get in, you would have seen a display of my collections of nothing, co-curated by me and a UCSB undergrad Museum Studies student, Rhiannon Gonzales.

Here is a link to a video "walkthrough" tour I quickly made before the library closed:


And here is a link to UCSB Library's page about the exhibit:


This is a feature story about the exhibit, written by a UCSB undergrad, Eddie Lo:


And this is a wonderful interview of the curator, Rhiannon Gonzales:



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life collage
Tree of Life (TM) catalogue

To accompany my June 2019 performance event, Tree of Life (TM), my old friend Bill Crawford suggested we create a catalogue. He co-wrote a book of breakfast cereal history, and I am a collector of cereal boxes. Seems to work.

I wrote part, and he wrote part, and we created some cereal box collages with a book designer in Mexico.

It came out pretty well, and I have copies for purchase, if you write to me.

My aspiration is to repeat the Tree of Life (TM) event in some other exhibition space, and the catalogue would apply just as well to such an exhibit.


Here is my exhibition proposal---in pdf.       


yoga man
cover of cultural deconstructions

KOLAJ is an excellent quarterly journal of collage from around the world, and they have an annual festival in New Orleans, to which I was invited in 2019:


I brought many bibliolages to show there in the LeMieux Galleries, and I was going to do a presentation on bibliolagerie--hyper-illuminated books.

BUT along came Hurricane Barry, and so after one half of a day, the festival was cancelled, and most people fled for home. Wendy and I stayed around, and the hurricane turned out to be a non-event for New Orleans. It hardly even rained.

No one saw the work.

But Ric Kasini Kadour, who runs the organization, put together a book that includes a section on my work. The book is called Cultural Deconstructions, and it is available for sale through the  KOLAJ site at this link


william davies king
About Me

William Davies King is Distinguished Professor of Theater and Dance at the University of California Santa Barbara. His Collections of Nothing (University of Chicago Press, 2008) was named as one of the top 100 books of 2008 by Amazon.com. He is also the author of Henry Irving’s “Waterloo”: Theatrical Engagements with Late-Victorian Culture and History (University of California Press, 1993; winner of the 1993 Joe A. Callaway Prize), Writing Wrongs: The Work of Wallace Shawn (Temple University Press, 1997), “A Wind Is Rising”: The Correspondence of Agnes Boulton and Eugene O’Neill (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000), and Another Part of a Long Story: Literary Traces of Eugene O’Neill and Agnes Boulton (University of Michigan Press, 2010), and editor of a new edition of Agnes Boulton’s Part of a Long Story (MacFarland, 2011) and the Eugene O’Neill Review. He edited both the critical and the multimedia editions of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night for Yale University Press, and the same press has recently released his critical edition of The Iceman ComethHe is working on another book about collecting and various other projects to do with O’Neill. And he thanks his wife Wendy and daughters Ruthie and Eva for tolerating it all (him).

Find his complete c.v. at https://theaterdance.ucsb.edu/people/william-davies-king

chair kid