The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library, located on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, is a prominent historic landmark in the beautiful Beaux-Arts architectural style. The main branch of the system, the Schwarzman is known for its soaring fifty-foot ceilings, classical marble facades, and miles of bookshelves running beneath Bryant Park behind it. The library has been a destination for book lovers for over a century. I was beyond honored when the NYPL asked me to design an exhibit featuring art from my book, Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines, for the front window of the lovely bookshop on the main floor.
I knew the exhibit would need to be magical to adequately match the sense of marvel people feel after passing the famous lion sculptures (Patience and Fortitude) and entering the cavernous white marble interior. Naturally, I enlisted the help of the most talented multimedia artist I know, Eloise Corr Danch. The cover of my book features Ernest Hemingway’s Lady Brett Ashley, a Jazz Era character, so Eloise created delicate paper stars that scream Art Deco. My publisher, Chronicle, carefully mounted select spreads from the book and mocked up a large version of the cover. We fanned stacks of books across the window showcasing the Deco-inspired cloth spine, endpapers, and additional spreads. The exhibit will be up through the month of October.
Here’s a peek at the exhibit: