Jefferson Market Library Gallery Re-Opens

by Corinne Neary, Senior Librarian

After a long hiatus, we recently started showing art in our basement gallery space again. Our first exhibition, titled Lost in Sea, from artist Delphine Le Goff is on display until the end of May. Delphine sat down with us to tell us more about her work, her life in the East Village, and her favorite books.

Delphine, you’re the first person to show work in our basement gallery space since we reopened in July!

ARTIST DELPHINE LE GOFF, above. Photo courtesy of Corinne Neary

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and the art you make?

Hello, thank you for letting me take over the entire space! It’s an honor to be invited. I am originally from France and have lived in NYC for 18 years and counting. I am based in the East Village. During lockdown, being jobless at this time, I started to draw (buildings and storefronts mainly).

We asked you for something that really used the whole space of the gallery. Can you tell us about what you created?

I work in Visual Merchandising and have worked for Anthropologie, Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman just to name a few. (I actually still freelance at Bergdorf and sell my art there). Visual Merchandising and Window Dressing is unfortunately a dying art.

When I got asked to do this project at Jefferson, I was excited to have carte blanche and no budget. When you have to make it work from the ground, it’s very exciting and it’s when you get the most creative. We went to Materials for the Arts, which provides NYC arts nonprofits, public schools and city agencies with access to free materials, and found a bunch of stuff and I just got in the Zone and put it together. Everything in the room came from MFTA. I am so thankful that I got left alone to express myself! As I was putting everything together, it felt like being at sea.

What do you think about libraries as spaces for showing art in the community?

As a public space, I think it’s fantastic that the library is inviting artists to express themselves and show something different to the public passing by. I have noticed that a lot of homeless are stopping by to read, to warm up, to use the facilities. It’s great if my art installation (or anyone else’s art) cheers them up. While I was working on it, it made patrons smile, including a lot of teenagers and kids. This feels good. If I can make people smile and open big eyes, well, I think it means I did a good job!

As a Village resident, how do you think the arts community here helps you in your work?

As I said, I live in the East Village. We have a strong sense of community here. We all help each other. I would not be where I am (in my career and happiness) if I weren’t part of this great community! When I started drawing during lockdown, I got encouraged by friends, and by organizations (Tompkins Library, EV Grieve, EVIMA). I now not only do Window Dressing and Visual Merchandising, but I draw, sell my art, do commission work and co-own a store 3rd & B’zaar ( where you can find my prints) with my business partner Maegan Hayward.

One last question. We need to know, do you have a favorite book? And have you read anything you loved lately?

My favorite author is Boris Vian. I read all his books. Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Little Prince are books that are following me since I was a child. You can see different perspectives as you get older. I wish I would have more time to read. I go from French to English, English to French. Right now I am reading a philosophical essay between Houllebecq and Onfray. I just finished Negative Space from Lilly Dancyger.

Thanks, Delphine!