April 15, 2015

London-based punk artist collective Le Gun creates drawings for Parisian bookstore Shakespeare & Company

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Shakespeare & Company, the legendary bookstore in Paris, is collaborating with London-based punk art collective Le Gun and The Cob Gallery this month for a display of drawings and book shaped “sculptural works” timed to coincide with Paris based art fair Drawing Now.

According to the press release, the exhibition will feature drawings inspired by the “bookshop and port in a storm frequented by generations of boozy literary types.” Those types, which are featured in “a new large scale drawing inspired by the bookshop’s rich cultural history” (split in two and pictured above and below) include writers like Zadie Smith, Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller, Paul Auster, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Richard Wright, Lawrence Durrell and James Baldwin.

In addition, the show “responds to the ramshackle, cult surroundings with a collection of sculptural and drawn works” and will sell merchandise (like this tote bag) featuring the Le Gun drawings in the bookshop.

In an interview with Huck magazine, members of Le Gun explained that the exhibition is a celebration of all those who have passed through the shop—writers of the Beat Generation, tumbleweeds (writers who stay in the shop in exchange for work), and the spirit of George Whitman, Shakespeare & Company’s founder.

 “The shop has accrued so much history since it opened in the 50s… The beat generation’s influence is something we admire—particularly William Burroughs using the library to research Naked Lunch. The shop also lets writers sleep there and produce work which is a unique and fascinating thing… The characters represented are both living writers and dead writers sharing this space at the same time— reflecting the sense that this space is truly steeped in history… George Whitman’s head can be found in the attic, this alludes to the picture as manifestation of Whitman’s mind, and the drawing can be read as an exquisite corpse in composition. His spirit resonates in the shop.”

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Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.

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