18 April – 21 August 2013
Art Wall on Third Exhibition
The Art Collection, 3rd floor
40th Street @ 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City's Branch Libraries, Art Wall on Third installation view, inkjet prints. 2008-2012 © Elizabeth FelicellaThe Art and Picture Collections present Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City's Branch Libraries, a site-specific exhibition by photographer Elizabeth Felicella. Reading Room is a large-scale photographic mural depicting the interiors and exteriors of The New York Public Library’s 86 neighborhood libraries. The mural is composed of individual photos selected from Felicella's larger project, also titled Reading Room that catalogs all of the city’s branch libraries. Reading Room pays tribute to the city's libraries as an invaluable public resource while also proposing that the architecture of the libraries be read as a collection in itself, a time-line of changing ideas over the last century about design, building, the places we share, the ways we read, and our aspirations as a city and a society.
Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City's Branch Libraries, Art Wall on Third installation view, detail, inkjet prints. 2008-2012 © Elizabeth Felicella
Art Wall on Third exhibition series is curated by Arezoo Moseni.
Independent critic and curator George Stolz, joins Elizabeth Felicella for An Artist Dialogue series event on Saturday June 1 at 2:30 p.m. in the Corner Room on the 1st floor at Mid-Manhattan Library.
Between 2008 and 2012, I photographed every branch library in the five boroughs of New York City with a large-format view camera. This catalog contains over 2,000 4x5 inch negatives and prints. It is the only comprehensive document in existence of New York City’s three branch library systems.
Parkchester Branch Library, Bronx, NY. Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City's Branch Libraries, inkjet print. 2008-2012 © Elizabeth Felicella
Reading Room examines our city’s libraries at a moment when information technology is prompting questions about their purpose and their future. It proposes that the architecture of the libraries be read as a collection in itself, a time-line of changing ideas over the last century about design, building, and the ways we read. Libraries, as storehouses of collective knowledge, are broadly and fundamentally communal; reading, an act of intellect and imagination, is profoundly intimate. Thus a fundamental premise of my project is that the design and furnishings of a branch library tell many stories about the culture of books and reading, about the history and growth of the city, and about our aims and expectations for our shared spaces and for us as readers.
Epiphany Branch Library, Manhattan, NY. Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City's Branch Libraries, inkjet print. 2008-2012 © Elizabeth Felicella
Reading Room has received support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts Program for Architecture Planning & Design, and with administrative support from the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP).