Reanimation Library Showcases Unusual Illustrations at Queens Museum

Some old books are getting new life at an art exhibit meets library at the Queens Museum. NY1's Clodagh McGowan takes us inside.

Andrew Beccone is a visual artist with a master's degree in library science.

So, it's only fitting that his project — the Reanimation Library combines both of his interests.

"It's really based on what I come across when I'm out in the world," Beccone said. "So, I'm not looking for like specific things."

He started his collection with just a few dozen books 14 years ago. Now, his library has about 2,500 books.

He says his best finds come from library sales and second-hand shops.

Most of the books are no longer in circulation and the topics range from painting under hypnosis to anatomy.

Beccone says the one thing all the books have in common is unique illustrations.

"You'll find a lot of natural sciences, urban planning, outer space, cooking," he said. "Things that really rely on images."

The Reanimation Library was housed in Brooklyn for close to a decade and Beccone exhibited pop-up branches across the world.

Now, he's an artist-in-residence at the Queens Museum, the library's new home.

"I like the idea of the life, the second life of this library coming from so many different sources," said museum visitor Nicole Duval.

"I love the idea of coming in here," said visitor Maryrose Rieselman. "It's more about the imagery of it."

There are no library cards for the Reanimation Library, which means you can't take the books home with you. But, if you find something of interest you can scan and print it here.

"Anyone can come to it and use it and approach it however they like," Beccone said.

The Reanimation Library will be open to the public Saturdays in January and February, or you can visit by appointment. For more information head to the library's web site

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