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On View

Reading from Left to Left: Radical Bookstores in NYC, 1930-2000s

April 8 - July 31, 2024 Fales Special Collections Gallery, Bobst Library, 2nd Floor

Radical bookstores are counterspaces and convergence spaces that inform social movement across the city. More than just sites of political participation and exchange, radical bookstores in New York City serve as critical infrastructure within New York City’s activist landscape. Come learn about the history of radical bookstores in New York City–from Communist bookstores, to anarchist bookstores, Black bookstores, and more. Curated by Shannon O’Neill, Reading from Left to Left: Radical Bookstores in NYC, 1930-2000s is on view April 8th-July 31st, 2024, in the Fales Special Collections Gallery, Bobst Library, 2nd floor.

Rule No. 5

February 27, 2023 - Ongoing
Atrium, Bobst Library, 1st Floor

“A library is a growing organism,” reads the fifth “rule” of library science as penned in 1931 by S.R. Ranganathan, widely considered to be the father of library science. In a world where “library” and “book” have taken on vast new meanings it’s the last of Ranganathan’s five guiding principles that prompts us to continuously respond to our environment and deeply interrogate the ways we curate, collect, organize, and preserve information for generations to come.

Created by Amanda Belantara and A.M. Alpin, Rule No. 5 is a collaboratively-created work that centers the voices of library workers as they reveal to listeners the magical, mysterious, complicated, and controversial world of libraries. Through six interactive sculptures, Rule No. 5 examines practices and objects that shape how we can search, who we will find, and what we remember. This interactive audio experience invites participants to open doors and drawers, plug in, and push buttons to explore and contemplate what it means to collect the world’s knowledge, preserve the past, and shape the future.

Learn more about Rule No.5 installation.


Dates: Ongoing
Bobst Library, Atrium

This site-specific, sound-art installation debuted in late 2019 and has been re-launched in the Bobst Library. Composed by Elizabeth Hoffman, the installation drew upon entry data from Bobst turnstiles—anonymized records of the number of persons who entered Bobst each hour on selected dates coinciding with the four lunar quarters of each month.

Learn more about the RETU(R)NINGS sound-art installation.

No Turning Back: Ten Years After Occupy

Dates: Ongoing
Online Exhibition

This exhibition is organized around Occupy Wall Street’s Declaration of the Occupation of New York City and thirteen exhibition themes, both of which point to central issues within the movement. While the Declaration was drafted by the Call to Action Working Group and ratified by the New York City General Assembly (NYCGA) on September 29, 2011, the themes were identified, authored, and presented by the curators of this exhibit.

Recent Exhibition History

Memory in Cloth: Safety and Solidarity for New York City Garment Workers

October 11 - November 17, 2023 Bobst Library, 2nd Floor

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, NYU Special Collections, in collaboration with LaborArts, launched a new pop-up exhibit in the Special Collections Center. The exhibit, Memory in Cloth: Safety and Solidarity for New York City Garment Workers, examines the historic fight for workplace safety, underscores the imperative of union organizing and solidarity, and it honors the creativity, memory, and collectivity of garment workers in New York City. In particular, the exhibit highlights the roles of immigrant workers in the labor struggle. The show is set in relation to the unveiling of the Triangle Fire Memorial.

*This Is Not A Drill*

September 20 - December 4, 2023 Bobst Library 8th Floor North Reading Room

This multimedia exhibition delivers artistic perspectives on the climate emergency, technology and equity. The exhibition features 10 projects—including film, performance art, sound art, and sculpture—from a dozen faculty, student, and community fellows, who examine the climate crisis from various academic lenses and artistic practices.

LifeWork: The Kathe Burkhart Papers

September 19 - December 12, 2023 Fales Special Collections Gallery, Bobst Library, 2nd Floor

LifeWork: The Kathe Burkhart Papers, an exhibition of drawings, paintings, photographs, writing, video, and two site-specific installations from the noted feminist interdisciplinary artist.

Burkhart is an interdisciplinary feminist artist who is perhaps best known for her Liz Taylor Series of paintings. Described as both a conceptual and installation artist, Burkhart works in multiple media, and often combines painting, photography, video, poetry and collage.

The solo exhibition features archival material and new work—some of which has never been shown in public—from the artist who taught at NYU from 2000 to 2015. The university acquired Burkhart’s papers in 2016 as part of its Downtown Collection documenting the city’s vibrant arts scene from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

Learn more about LifeWork: The Kathe Burkhart Papers.

Crafting Sustainable Futures: Collaborative Visions

March 21 - June 30, 2023
Mamdouha Bobst Gallery, Bobst Library, 1st Floor

Crafting Sustainable Futures: Collaborative Visions, is a show that creatively envisions a world that recognizes our shared responsibility for preserving the planet we all call home. This community showcase features artwork from NYU students, faculty, staff, and alumni that explores our interconnected existence and a positive ecological future. The artworks were inspired NYU Reads selections and *This Is Not A Drill*\ artworks, put in dialogue with topics of ecological sustainability, environmental justice, and the power of hope as we navigate the climate emergency.

The exhibition also features art by This Is Not A Drill (TINAD) 2022 Fellows Irene Mercadal, Richard Move, Pato Hebert, Tega Brain, and Karen Holmberg. Additionally, it shows new works coordinated by NYU’s Office of Sustainability, including “Stories of Climate Change” films and an installation by Graduate School of Arts and Science student Emma Bautista for the NYU 2040 Now initiative.

Sylvia and Sylvia: Black Women Behind the Music

September 8, 2021 – January 11, 2023
Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media Bobst Library, 7th Floor

The Sylvia and Sylvia exhibition in our Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media pays homage to Sylvia Robinson and Sylvia Rhone—two women whose names are far less known than those of the artists they championed.

Learn more about the Sylvia and Sylvia: Black Women Behind the Music exhibition.

*This Is Not A Drill*

September 28 - December 4, 2022
Mamdouha Bobst Gallery Bobst Library, 1st Floor

At the dawn of the new 20’s, we are seeing a major shift in public perception around issues of equity and the climate emergency, paired with the reckoning that traditional ways of approaching these kinds of issues have led to failure. There is vast potential to shape not just policy interventions, but to help birth new and more equitable ways of knowing what the issues are, where they come from, and how they can be addressed. Artistic imagination and creative ways of learning and knowing are crucial for avoiding the binary traps of techno-optimism or -skepticism which so often lead to paralysis. This is the focus of *This Is Not A Drill.*

Learn more about the *This Is Not A Drill* exhibition.

Portable Devices, 1574–1998: Notebooks from the NYU Special Collections

April 12 – June 21, 2022
Special Collections Gallery Bobst Library, 2nd Floor

This exhibition explores ways in which people stored and managed information prior to the computer age. From the vellum-bound recipe book of a seventeenth-century English housewife to the pink notebook of a twentieth-century American diplomat, the examples display a variety of material forms and organizational schemes. Then as now, notebooks were a powerful device for learning, planning, negotiating, managing, cooking, and remembering.

Learn more about Portable Devices.