If Division Leap demonstrates the rare book catalog as art object, Jon Beacham practices book dealing as performance art. Hermitage captured the idea of the bookstore as alternative art space. True, Hermitage did not last long and it was, on that level, a bad business model, but I do not think that was really the point. Hermitage was an experiment, a performance by Jon to explore issues related to and intersecting art and commerce. Looking at his catalogs, he had great material and a fanastic eye. His shows on Auerhahn, Zephryus Images, and da levy still speak to me today. I am just catching up as my Auerhahn posts prove.
Maybe I am painting a pretty picture but I see Jon selling the works of the Beats, New York School, and other rebels and outsiders on the street as another form of performance art. Buying Bob Kaufman's Abominist Manifesto on the street for example. Book selling as a form of busking. It is a tough way to make a living, but it fits in with Jon's film screenings, his job printing and his other curatorial and art practices.
Taking a look at the pieces above, they really speak to me. They express the idea of art as a way of life. They also say Just Buy a Fucking Book.