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In 1968, at the interface between minimal and conceptual art practices Richard Serra compiled a Verb List to account for actions that could be done to, or with specific materials. The list was published in The New Avant-Garde: Issues for the Art of the Seventies (1972).

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In 1993 I was editing a book entitled Reading Things. In the frontispiece I reprinted the Verb List, and in the endpapers, in the spirit of Serra's imperative to continue, I added a list of verbs to account for the transactions between people through things. 

TO ROLL TO CREASE TO FOLD TO STORE TO BEND TO SHORTEN TO TWIST TO DAPPLE TO CRUMPLE TO SHAVE TO TEAR TO CHIP TO SPLIT TO CUT TO SEVER TO DROP TO REMOVE TO SIMPLIFY TO DIFFER TO DISARRANGE TO OPEN TO MIX TO SPLASH TO KNOT TO SPILL TO DROOP TO FLOW TO CURVE TO LIFT TO INLAY TO IMPRESS TO FIRE TO FLOOD TO SMEAR TO ROTATE TO SWIRL TO SUPPORT TO HOOK TO SUSPEND TO SPREAD TO HANG TO COLLECT OF TENSION OF GRAVITY OF ENTROPY OF NATURE OF GROUPING OF LAYERING OF FELTING TO GRASP TO TIGHTEN TO BUNDLE TO HEAP TO GATHER TO SCATTER TO ARRANGE TO REPAIR TO DISCARD TO PAIR TO DISTRIBUTE TO SURFEIT TO COMPLIMENT TO ENCLOSE TO SURROUND TO ENCIRCLE TO HOLE TO COVER TO WRAP TO DIG TO TIE TO BIND TO WEAVE TO JOIN TO MATCH TO LAMINATE TO BOND TO HINGE TO MARK TO EXPAND TO DILUTE TO LIGHT TO MODULATE TO DISTILL OF WAVES OF ELECTROMAGNETIC OF INERTIA OF IONIZATION OF POLARIZATION OF REFRACTION OF TIDES OF REFLECTION OF EQUILIBRIUM OF SYMMETRY OF FRICTION TO STRETCH TO BOUNCE TO ERASE TO SPRAY TO SYSTEMATIZE TO REFER TO FORCE OF MAPPING OF LOCATION OF CONTEXT OF TIME OF CARBONIZATION '67 '68

SERRA

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TO RECOVER TO STORE TO SAVE TO BEG TO PAY TO STEAL TO CATCH TO CREDIT TO PROFIT TO PROFIT TO DIVIDE TO SHARE TO TRANSACT TO BENEFIT TO HOARD TO FILCH TO BARTER TO GATHER TO REAP TO DERIVE TO CAPTURE TO CONVERT TO SWAP TO TRADE TO SAVE TO ACQUIRE TO GET TO FIND TO RECOUP TO INHERIT TO EARN TO WIN TO OBTAIN TO PROCURE TO COLLECT TO PLAGARISE TO PRIZE TO PLUNDER TO BUY TO DEAL TO COMPENSATE TO RENUMERATE TO COMMISSION TO RETURN OF OWNERSHIP OF MONOPOLY OF POSSESSION OF BETROTHAL OF DEBT OF NEGOTIATION OF BARGAINING TO TAKE TO HARVEST TO CROP TO GLEAN TO HAGGLE TO REALISE TO BORROW TO REDEEM TO REGAIN TO BANK TO EXPORT TO RISK TO BID TO PLEDGE TO CREDIT TO MASTER TO APPERTAIN TO HOLD TO SQUAT TO INHABIT TO RESERVE TO HIRE TO SHOP TO SUCCEED TO LEASE TO HONOUR TO BESTOW TO DONATE TO SPECULATE TO AWARD TO ENDOW TO MARKET TO PILFER TO SWIPE TO GRAB TO SELL OF CHATTELS OF GOODS OF BELONGINGS OF POTLACH OF PARAPHERNALIA OF EFFECTS OF THINGS OF WARES OF MERCHANDISE OF FURNITURE OF EFFECTS OF INTERCOURSE TO HAGGLE TO OVERDRAW TO WELSH TO FIDDLE TO LOOT TO SCROUNGE TO PURLOIN OF VALUABLES OF INVESTMENT OF CAPITAL OF EXCHANGE TO PURVEY OF COMMERCE OF INSOLVENCY '93 -'94

CUMMINGS

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Editing Reading Things focussed a lifelong interest in the materials of culture, and the institutions we evolve to organise those materials.

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