Unique Fabric Artwork and a Spanish Language Bookstore on Display at the Mitchell Art Museum at St. John’s College This Spring

“Polly Apfelbaum: Sampling a Sampler Sampling” and “Librería Donceles: A Project by Pablo Helguera” open January 20 through April 14; Exhibitions are free and open to the public

ANNAPOLIS, Md. [January 17, 2024] – St. John’s College is pleased to announce the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Museum’s latest exhibition, “Polly Apfelbaum: Sampling a Sampler Sampling,” consisting of a single new artwork made by the renowned New York-based artist specifically for the museum. The unique fabric artwork will be created directly on the museum floor from unaltered, commercially printed fabric samples and remnants the artist purchased in New York’s Garment District. Also on view is the ongoing Spanish-language bookstore exhibition, “Librería Donceles: A Project by Pablo Helguera,” which opened at the Mitchell Art Museum last fall. Both exhibitions are on view from January 20 through April 14, 2024. 

Polly Apfelbaum, Crazy Quilt (Patterns), 2022, Fabric, 745 x 213 cm, Exhibition View, ‘Polly Apfelbaum, Josef Herzog’ Kunstmuseum Lucerne, 2022, Photo credit: Marc Latzel, Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

“Apfelbaum’s ‘Sampling a Sampler Sampling’ is deceivingly complex,” says Peter Nesbett, Director of the Mitchell Art Museum. “The fact is that simple-looking things can, if we give them time, pose timeless philosophical questions.”

“Sampling a Sampler Sampling” is loosely related to Apfelbaum’s well-known “fallen paintings,” dyed fabric floor-pieces that are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. At the core of all of Apfelbaum’s artwork is critique of judgement. In literally looking down upon these pieces, viewers are invited to confront their thoughts and prejudices about the place of craft, design, and women’s work within the realm of the fine arts.

“Librería Donceles: A Project by Pablo Helguera” is an installation that takes the form of a used bookstore crammed with a world’s worth of Spanish-language titles. Artist Pablo Helguera created “Librería Donceles” in Brooklyn 10 years ago to serve the growing Hispanic and Latinx communities in New York. Since then, the bookstore has traveled to more than a dozen cities, becoming a vibrant hub of activity in each. Visitors can peruse and purchase the titles on a pay-what-you-wish basis; immerse themselves in artworks, tchotchkes and decorations; attend readings, screenings, and performances; or just hang out. 

The Spanish Language Bookstore. Courtesy of Mitchell Art Museum

For more information on exhibits and programming, visit sjc.edu/mitchell or follow @sjcmitchell on Facebook and Instagram.

Visiting the Museum: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1-6 p.m., and until 7:30 p.m. on Fridays. Exhibitions are always free and wheelchair accessible. Parking is available on weekends in the Calvert Street Garage (one block away), at 19 St. John’s Street, and during the week at the Gott’s Court Garage (two-and-a-half blocks away) at 25 Calvert Street.


Located in Mellon Hall on the St. John’s College campus in historic downtown Annapolis, the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Museum complements the school’s distinctive learning culture by asking persistent questions about the human experience through art and with extraordinary artists. It is the only visual art museum in Anne Arundel County accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and one of only five to be accredited in the state of Maryland.


St. John’s College is the most distinctive liberal arts college in the country due to our interdisciplinary program, in which 200 of the most revolutionary great books from across 3,000 years of human thought are explored in student-driven, discussion-based classes. By probing world-changing ideas in literature, philosophy, mathematics, science, music, history, and more, students leave St. John’s with a foundation for success in such fields as law, government, research, STEM, media, and education. Located on two campuses in two historic state capitals—Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico—St. John’s is the third-oldest college in the United States and has been hailed as the “most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America” by Quartz and as a “high-achieving angel hovering over the landscape of American higher education” by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more at sjc.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell(at)sjc.edu