Located in Chicago’s South Side, BING offers art and artists’ books for reading and purchase, and presents readings, performances, and exhibitions by local and visiting artists.
BING is an experiment in the economics of art books, collections, retail, and artistic production and an experiment in the economics of congregating, hanging, reading, and cultivating taste.
BING provides access to books of unusual quality and inventory for the Washington Park neighborhood, the greater Chicago region, the US, and other countries.
BING explores and implements a model of a rotating book collection that is fueled by book acquisition opportunities (estate sales, donations, institutional gifts), and acts simultaneously as a holding cell and a reading room for the public’s benefit. The collection is curated by a knowledgeable staff and ranges from a local artist’s self-publication to museum exhibition catalogues to well-known artist monographs.
While a book collection is at BING, it is activated by a rigorous programmatic schedule that may include the following:
- Storytelling and writing workshops
- Lecture + artist talk series
- Book talk and signing series
- Exhibitions of art objects, film, and other suitable artworks for the wall, shelf space, and window
- Workshops with After School Matters teens on art, art books, research, collecting
- Cross-programming with partners like museums, galleries, universities, art centers, community centers, other bookstores
- Performances by artists, musicians, dancers, and actors in BING and adjacent spaces
- Gatherings of book clubs, art crits, criticism writing, etc.
BING provides access and develops aesthetics. It’s an opportunity for exposure and education, for participation and performance, for deep looking and reading. BING offers a hang space for local residents and art world jet-setters alike. BING works with Arts + Public Life and the University of Chicago’s creative business incubator initiative and is an experimental form unto itself.