Which Literary Work of Art Should You Visit?

From Matthew Burgess, the much-acclaimed author of Enormous Smallness, comes Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring. Often seen drawing in white chalk on the matte black paper of unused advertising space in the subway, Haring’s iconic pop art and graffiti-like style transformed the New York City underground in the 1980s. A member of the LGBTQ community, Haring died tragically at the age of thirty-one from AIDS-related complications. Illustrated in paint by Josh Cochran, himself a specialist in bright, dense, conceptual drawings, this honest, celebratory book honors Haring’s life and art, along with his very special connection with kids.

At the beginning of the year, I had sort of nebulous plans with a friend to take off work early, hop on a train to the city, and go visit one of my favorite places in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago. Those plans were squelched by COVID-19 and the (rightful) closures of art museums worldwide, but I’ve been surprised at how often I think of those plans, and how much I miss being able to wander around an art museum. Even if I didn’t go that often, I liked thinking that I was able to, at any time, jump on the train and visit some of the most wonderful, famous works of art in the world.

One of my favorite works of art to visit is the gigantic Picture of Dorian Gray by Ivan Albright at The Art Institute. It’s a horrifying painting, truly, but it captures Oscar Wilde’s vision so completely, and it’s so detailed that I just can’t get tired of looking at it. It was created originally as a movie prop for the 1945 film adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, but it certainly rises above those commercial beginnings. Missing Dorian Gray made me think about other works of art that are either inspired by or that inspired great books, and I put together a quiz. One day the Art Institute and other museums around the world will reopen their doors to welcome us in; in the mean time, here’s a quiz to help you plan your next visit.

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