Artists Space Bookstore on 55 Walker Street is a singular concept. The non-profit asked 100 artists, writers and curators to submit up to 10 of what they considered the most influential books. The subject matter could be anything at all. The result is a sprawling range of intellectual potpourri, which includes everything from aesthetic theory to literary fiction. Among the latter you’ll find some easily recognized names, such as Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano, Gabriel García Márquez’ Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex and Eileen Myles’ Inferno. Why isn’t Patty Smith’s Just Kids on here yet?
Besides art books in all its manifestations and a handful of biographies of infamous personalities (ahem Warhol), this eclectic collection also covers denser topics of sexuality (Proust’s Lesbianism), economics (Adam Smith in Beijing), politics (Autonomia: Post-Political Politics), sociology (The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life) and psychology (The Haunting of Sylvia Plath). I recommend from the bookstore the Butt Book as well as Albert Camus’ Resistance, Rebellion, Death.
You can view the entire list of titles along with the individuals who suggested them online. But wouldn’t you rather thumb through the books themselves, while lounging in plus-size bean bags and drinking complementary espressos?
The bookstore also serves as a venue for hosting lectures and performances after hours. The last in Artists Space’s summer series “Pride Goes Before a Fall / Beware of a Holy Whore” will be Wu Tsang and Alexandro Segade’s performance tomorrow, August 22, at 7pm.