July Reading List

BY Katrina Kufer / Jul 11 2017 / 18:36 PM

As summer rolls through, here is our selection of five recent art books to check out

July Reading List
Image courtesy Cornerhouse Publications
Inside The Anti-Museum: An Anthology.

Happy Little Accidents: The Wit and Wisdom of Bob Ross
Edited by Michelle Witte

Bob Ross may be the kooky, iconic television painter and host of The Joy of Painting, which aired between 1983-1994, but his giggle-worthy quips were technical and moral-building gems. Initially guiding TV viewers on how to paint sprawling landscapes – with his “happy little trees” – this overview complied by Witte presents a collection of paintings and insights by Ross, including the straightforward but encouraging: “There’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us”, “Friends are the most important commodity in the world. Even a tree needs a friend” or “If we all painted the same way, what a boring world it would be.” A light but important read to remind aspiring artists, or jaded spectators, that sometimes it is all about the basics.
Available here

The Force of Listening
Edited by Lucia Farinati and Claudia Firth

Excerpts from conversations with artists, activists and political thinkers such as Ultra-red, Precarious Workers Brigade, Pat Caplan, Anna Sherbany, Ayreen Anastas, Rene Gabri, Nick Couldry and Adriana Cavarero are sprinkled throughout this book, which explores the simple, but difficult, task of listening. Narrowing the scope to the intersection between contemporary art and activism, the dialogue-style text considers what could be if listening were a priority derived from conversations that took place between 2013-14 following the Occupy Movement. Presenting questions pertaining to attention, interconnection, collectivity, solidarity, resonance, the politics of the voice and the ethics of listening, this publication forcefully encourages a rethinking of existing institutional frameworks.
Available here

Letters to a Young Painter
By Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated for the first time into English, this little known collection of writing from 1920-26 follows Rilke’s iconic Letters to a Young Poet, and is an encouraging read for up-and-coming artists. Soon to be released by David Zwirner Books, eight private letters written with warmth and sensitivity respond to the struggles of a teenaged Balthus, paving the way forth for the painter with proposed solutions, an inspiring book on how despite Rilke facing his own decline, that there can, and should, still be an embracement of the creativity of others without ill will.
Available here

Yto Barrada: A Guide to Trees for Governors an Gardeners + A Guide to Fossils for Forgers and Foreigners
By Yto Barrada

This two-volume collection by Abraaj Prize-winning Moroccan artist Barrada is a comprehensive look into her tongue-in-cheek practice. Drawing from very real and relevant situations inspired by her home region and global contemporary concerns, these publications are mock guides. A Guide to Trees is a satirical prompt for urban landscapers on how to ready a city for VIP arrivals, complete with advice on painting and cleaning everything from fruits and flags to palm trees, steadily veering from patriotic towards ominous. The second part, A Guide to Fossils, is a guidebook-style research foray into Morocco’s desert industry of digging up of archaeological artefacts and the ensuing forged fossils for sale in the tourism and black market trades.
Available here

The Anti-Museum: An Anthology
Edited by Mathieu Copeland and Balthazar Lovay

This book tackles the museum head-on with an introduction by Mathieu Copeland, texts by Johannes Cladders, Beatriz Colomina, Henry Flynt and interviews with John Armleder, Robert Barry, Ben and Genesis P-Orridge. Addressing the ever evolving impression and positioning of a museum – as a literal and figurative institution – Copeland takes readers on an antithetical journey from anti-art and anti-artists through to anti-philosophy and anti-religion. An anthology that touches on Dadaism and figures such as Gustav Metzger and Henry Flynt through to Japanese avant-garde and Lettrist Cinema – it’s a rebellious panorama of the vivacity of taking an opposing stance. 
Available here

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