Jen Bekman is a gallerist, entrepreneur, and writer. Her eponymous gallery has been on Spring Street in NYC since 2003. She is also the founder of the international photography competition Hey, Hot Shot!. Her most well known venture is one of our favorite sites, 20×200, which offers limited-edition fine-art prints at affordable prices, curated by Jen herself. What are the current inspirations of someone who sees and works with so much good design and art day in and day out? Jen gives us a glimpse in this week’s Friday Five.
1. Nelson Swag Leg Desk
I’ve been coveting this desk for ages. I love the colorful accents against the walnut and white laminate, and the surface of the desk is perfect for a laptop. I know for sure that if I had this in my house I’d be less prone to lying on my couch and typing.
2. Photography Books
I have a serious addiction to photography books. My desk is always littered with piles of recent acquisitions, and the collection is bursting from every nook and cranny, at work, at home, and in storage. Three recent additions: Rinko Kawauchi’s brilliant and beautifully produced Illuminance (I splurged on Aperture’s special Limited Edition Box Set, which comes with two prints); Alec Soth’s oversize, elegant, and sold out in the US (sorry!) La Belle Dame Sans Merci; and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exquisite and hard-to-find Theatres, which I snatched up at Offprint in Paris (a hefty tome to lug back to the US, but well worth it).
3. Hermès Scarves
Not only are each of the scarves impeccably designed, beautiful objects with a history, they are made to last with the highest standards of quality. I wear mine all the time, so although they’re a luxury item, they’re not too precious to become wardrobe staples.
4. Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems
Frank O’Hara is the closest thing I’ve got to a hero. His faux manifesto Personism is the title I adopted for my (now neglected) blog. Lunch Poems is my favorite book of poems and I often carry it with me. Another book of his, Meditations in an Emergency, was my inspiration for a group show at the gallery during the summer of 2006. While FO’H will always be my fave, I devour all kinds of poetry all the time. I also love pairing up beloved poems with favorite works of art.
I love the energy and inspiration of exploring a new city and discovering what defines it. I’ve most recently spent time in Chicago, Barcelona, Paris, San Francisco (my home away from home), and New York (I love a chance to be a tourist in my hometown hitting up places like the Morgan Museum and Library). A picturesque beach is also a favorite destination — it could be Big Sur’s rugged coast, a couple of late summer weeks spent in Amagansett with friends who are like family, or the surreal-y inspiring Mediterranean coast.
Headshot photo by Mike Fernandez.