Although a lot of events take place in the library, and members use the library space regularly, the library has often been separate from many of the activities of the club. The library has also historically been underutilized by members. Many members introduce themselves to me by saying, “I’ve been a member for years but I’ve never checked out a book,” or, “I’ve been a member for years but I’ve never been on this floor.”
The Library Committee and I have been working to bring the library closer to the center of life at the club, starting by increasing the visibility of the library, its staff, and its resources. That initiative has led to our blog and Twitter feed, our monthly article in the club newsletter, our graduate student programming, and the establishment of a reference desk at the front of the library, which Debbie and I staff for a few hours each day (it has led to the “Hey, people work here?” conversation many times). But, we are continually working on other ways to integrate the library into the life of the Club. One upcoming event gave us a perfect opportunity to do just that.
On October 14, the Yale Club will host an opening night reception for its first formal art exhibition. The eight pieces in the exhibition, which are all on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery, will be on display at the Club for the next year.
The exhibition, entitled A Creative Heritage, brings together a selection of work by artists who attended or taught at the Yale School of Art. Pieces by Josef Albers, Richard Anuszkiewicz, William H. Bailey, Jennifer Losch Bartlett, Bernard R. Chaet, and Jack Tworkov, will be on display throughout the Club. The images are, for the most part, serene – at least in the context of bustling midtown. They are very different from the traditional portraits and Yale-related photographs that adorn most of the walls here, but I suspect they will have a similar effect. Like the existing décor and the atmosphere that we strive to maintain at the club, the paintings that have been chosen should provide, as Stephen Scher writes in the exhibition catalog, “a moment of respite and reflection” from the busy streets of Midtown Manhattan.
Members can read more about the exhibition here.
To support the upcoming exhibition, we in the library decided to put together a small collection of books related to A Creative Heritage, drawn exclusively from our existing collection. We have volumes about the artists, by the artists, and about the movements to which the artists belonged, as well as books by and about the curators and collectors of the work. We encourage members to come in and check them out (really – please use the computer kiosk or checkout slips by the elevator). Non-members interested in a list of titles may contact me directly.
A Creative Heritage books will be on display in the library near the fireplace for the duration of the exhibition; members may check them out for a period of two weeks. Members who have suggestions for other books to add to this special collection are welcome to share them with me.