First in an occasional series, as part of a general Arthur effort to combat the ongoing, escalating de-bookshopping of our planet by bringing attention to particular exquisite stores’ existence and reason for being…
From the Hermitage Beacon website:
Hermitage is located in Beacon NY alongside the Hudson River 60 miles north of Manhattan. The actual structure is a house nearly 100 years old. It resides between a Spanish church and two coal silos no longer in use. In the near background lies a defunct railroad track and a creek which empties out into the Hudson. Mt. Beacon stands in the background of all this. This description was a signal to come here and plant seeds.
What is Hermitage?
Hermitage is a context. It was created from a lack of situations and spaces where books, art, & culture are gathered, displayed, and presented in a way that goes further than curation. The feeling is more of intention. To create a space that a specific one would choose to be a part of instead of remaining quiet for lack there of.
As a bookshop the focus is heavy on American poetry between the 1950s-60s. The small press movement that centered around the Don Allen-edited anthology “The New American Poetry” published by Grove Press in 1960 is heavily represented here. American Luminaries such as Robinson Jeffers and Kenneth Patchen who preceded these poets are represented here. American underground renegades who didn’t fit into a grouping like Wallace Berman and d.a. levy are represented here. The feeling of what has been done in America in the 20th Century that is beautiful and against restraint of conforming to conservative social, political and religious norms is present here. European writing from the early to mid 20th Century in original tongue and translations are given a space alongside in their influence and relation. Art monographs and books designed by visual artists who were tapped into poets and correspondence amongst poets and other artists are found here.
The idea behind running a bookshop like this is to hand pick every book that is chosen to a part of a collection, and made available to anyone who may walk through the door. To shed light on materials that should be seen. An area of Hermitage is designated to exhibits on specific Presses, Books, and moments in time related to the collection, and having them right alongside the bookshop. Artists working in the form and concept of the book, and making new worthy additions to this tradition are given shows here to be a part of this lineage. Close comrade and maker of books, Kensie Duffy currently working in this area, has stated his two primary principles in his book works to be “modesty & dignity”.
“Yes I’ll Buy That”
Modesty and dignity are two principles that are key to the practice of Hermitage.
– Jon Beacham. Proprietor.
Official Hermitage Beacon website: hermitagebeacon.com