Richard Prince’s Soon-to-be Public Catskill Hideaway


Known as a painter of nurses and photographer of Marlboro men, appropriation artist Richard Prince has been quietly creating an arts retreat deep in the Catskills, a few hours drive from New York City. As the Wall Street Journal wrote about this week, Prince is preparing to open the estate to the public. Large works, like the car above or others coated in image screens from his ‘Girlfriends’ series or the installation of framed  rubber below, are scattered throughout the property along with works in progress. For me, though, Prince’s library would be the treasure trove. The artist is also a prodigious book collector, especially of the 20th century, and he has rows upon rows of bookshelves in white-shelved studio library. Moreover, book-collecting has inspired his work, so that covers of pulp fiction turned into his successful Nurses series of paintings. I’d drive the 200-miles to see it.

More on the WSJ website here.



Formal Comparison: Isa Genzken and Vasa-Velizar Mehic

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I think you could also categorize this as: “things you find in the library when you should be working on your thesis.” That aside, I thought this was a striking formal comparison between Genzken’s and Mehic’s work, although certainly serendipitous rather than evidence of a connection between the contemporary German artist and the older Yugoslavian aartist. Having recently seen the Genzken show at MoMA though,  it popped out at me.


Isa Genzken’s building representing Berlin’s buildings made by leaning colored glass panes at MoMA’s current Isa Genzken: Retrospective. Part of her 2004 series “New Buildings for Berlin.”

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Vasa-Velizar Mehic’s Bouquet (1970) in the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art, found in a book in the library called The Museums of Yugoslavia, which dates it pretty clearly.

How do you get your books?

Not ‘how do you choose your books?’ but, how do you physically get books into your hands? People love Amazon’s prices and delivery to the door, and for many nothing beats the browsing through stacks at your favorite bookstore, whether it includes a Starbucks coffee while you browse brightly-lit Barnes & Nobles’ bestsellers or squeezing between dusty stacks of a locally-owned used bookshop. Neither of these options can compare to the public library.

The most prominent advantage is that the public library has no price tags. Worries over whether a book is worth 25 dollars aren’t a factor when the offensive item is free and returnable. You can check out and return many books at once, and browse them at your leisure. True, the library charges late fees, so eventually you have to give them back.

However, not owning books is an unappreciated advantage in itself. Most people only read a book once. A library of classics you return to is a great resource, but on the other hand, you can always check a book out again. Bookshelves are useless, inefficient storage spaces put on display in a way you would never show trunks of old clothing or holiday decorations. Once you buy a book, you are stuck with it; no amount of reasoning makes it seem ethical to simply throw it away, and books are often hard to give away.

As a space, a library offers distinct benefits, such as being undisturbed in public. They don’t play music and talking is discouraged. You can read or study in quiet, comfortable environment. Often, the library offers that hot commodity: free wireless Internet. You won’t find that in your typical bookstore where the cafe Internet is pay as you go.

Because of space, a public library is the best browsing. With typically more shelf space than a bookstore, you can pick up, flip through, and put down books for hours. Libraries carry older books than most bookstores, and have started carrying DVDs and magazines as well. Many libraries try to engage patrons in civic programs. They offer lectures as well as computer classes or book groups. Plus, a library is a great spot to drop off children, if only for story hour.

Manhattan’s New York Public Library (NYPL) system has changed the way I get books. The large research branches are housed in gorgeous public structures, and offer exhibitions as well as the civic programs of smaller libraries. The small branch libraries don’t always have that extensive browsing quality, but they offer another feature that makes life so easy: delivery. Not to your home, but to the library of your choosing. On the NYPL website, you can search their collection and order books and DVDs, and they will let you know when they are available for pick up via email. NYPL’s online service enables you to renew online and view due dates and late fee as do many libraries, but you can also keep a list of books that you would like to read at some point. The collection includes DVDs of smaller or older films that the local video store simple doesn’t have. With libraries in every neighborhood, books have never been easier to come by.