Tabish Khan the @LondonArtCritic takes a break from exhibitions to recommend his top art books to read this year. Each one comes with a concise review to help you decide whether it’s for you.
Meaning in the Making by Sean Tucker, published by Rocky Nook
It’s easy to recommend this beautifully written book to any creative, with Sean Tucker encouraging every artist to find the meaning in their work. He is grounded in reality while offering a great philosophy on how to go about creating art.
Portrait of an Artist by Hugo Huerta Marin, published by Prestel
This is a lovely book of polaroids and interviews of hugely successful women that the author admires, stretching across all the arts so we have the likes of Marina Abramovic, Cate Blanchett and Annie Lennox within one book, all offering window’s into how they live and create art.
To See Stars Over Mountains by Vlatka Horvat, published by PEER and Unstable Object
Artist Vlatka Horvat took a walk every day of 2021, taking photographs as she went of fields and housing – the sights we’re all used to. She then altered them into fantastical realms so a waterfall cascades off a tower block and another residential tower has been turned into a beacon of light. It’s playful and the creativity is joyous to flick through.
Making Videogames: The Art of Creating Digital Worlds by Duncan Harris & Alex Wiltshire, published by Thames & Hudson
When playing videogames occasionally we have wow moments or even things we don’t notice that just work because the art direction is seamless – such as how a race track reflects light when a car’s headlights are on or off. This beautifully illustrated book uses 12 games to show the influences and thought that goes into the art direction of videogames.
Hello Rainbow: Finding Happiness in Colour by Momtaz Begum-Hossain, published by Leaping Hare Press
This book will make you stop and explore all the colours we see in our day to day life, whether it be in art, nature or just passing by on the street. Combining colour therapy with ideas around wellness and meditation it’s guaranteed to make every reader all the more colour-curious.
Francis Bacon by Cristina Portolano & Bauhaus by Valentina Grande, published by Prestel
The graphic novel is a great way to introduce art to a new audience, including those not steeped in the art world. Hefty tomes can be intimidating for those wanting to dip their toe into a subject and this pair of graphic novels gives a great overview of the life of Francis Bacon and the creation and evolution of the Bauhaus art school.