Mar 2016

An artist's wet dream

Rizzoli Bookstore, 1133 Broadway, New York, NY

Wine, Cookbooks, Gardens, Performing Arts, Literature, Music, Fashion, Artists, Art, Art History, Film, Interiors, Furniture, Children, Photography, Architecture, Design, New Fiction, New Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Newspapers, Magazines, New York

Does this list sound like an artist’s wet dream? Or, perhaps the favorite things of the most interesting person in the world – of which they are experts in all of it?

These are actually the sections in Rizzoli bookstore. Known as a literary landmark. The foremost independent bookseller in North America. Nearly fifty years in New York.
Apparently, it’s famous to the book-loving in-crowd. And it’s the place I just happened to stumble into yesterday. Needing a couple of reads while I travel, the beautiful townhouse beckoned me inside. I ended up blowing two months of book budget in one fell swoop, literally in about seven minutes. Yes, I have a book budget. All the cool people do. Leave me alone.

Is this store beautiful? Yes, immensely so. Does it have a nice selection of beautiful, interesting wares on sale? Yes, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Was it the hippest store I’ve been in for a while? Yes, my meter rose just be being there. Was it warm, and smelling of coffee, a place you want to sit and read for a while? No, not at all. This is the one downside; its impeccable taste comes at a price. You are not meant to crash down and enjoy the offerings there, but appreciate them and move on.

So is this my absolute ideal book venue? No, but it came pretty damn close. Throw in a few couches and an espresso machine, and I might never leave.

I have found the real portrait of Dorian Grey.

Unknown Artist, French, 19th Century

Dorian Grey. The man that Oscar Wilde brought to life with his hedonistic machinations in 1890 – or so the general public thought. The man that has lived in legend, fable, and table talk for centuries. The man that embodies sensuality and indulgence to the extreme. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have found him.

Wilde wrote that Dorian’s original portrait was a full-length painting, finally destroyed as the debaucherous man came to his senses and took his own life. This made a fitting ending for the Victorian sensibilities of that time, allowing the writer to retain some semblance of not being too disastrously corrupting to the public. The ultimate playboy had to meet a just end. But – what if he didn’t? What if he is still around? Or, another person came along to pick up his mantel and let go of his soul?