Beinecke Reading Room

Reading room in Beinecke Library, looking onto the sculpture gardenBeinecke Reading Room underground from the Claes Oldenberg “Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks”.

Gordon Bunshaft’s almost brand new Beinecke was a jewel box lit from within glowing through the Vermont marble facade housing stacks of beautiful bindings in a multi-story bronze and glass vitrine. Blonde wood and neutral carpet. Wearing light cotton gloves so as to not get perspiration on the fragile works and endless treasures. Holding a newspaper from pre-revolutionary Philadelphia reporting the comings and goings of ships and cargoes in harbor, the type crisply embossed into the newsprint. Falling into box after box of Paul Strand’s platinum prints their nearly infinite gray scale. A tiny Louis XV child’s chair from Gertrude Stein’s apartment, with a Picasso design needlepoint-covered seat, embroidered by Alice B. Toklas. Regret that I didn’t spend more of my time at Yale there.

Joshua Shapiro