Tabish Khan the @LondonArtCritic normally picks his favourite top 5 exhibitions that are on right now. However, in this article, he has switched to books to read this year. Those looking for more arty reads should see his top books to read from last Summer.
Censored Art by Gareth Harris & How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers by Hettie Judah, published by Lund Humphries
I’m a fan of this series of books that takes important art topics and covers them in digestible reads. Gareth Harris looks at art in repressive regimes, the contentious issues of removing statues, and how social media controls the art we see. While Hettie Judah exposes the art world for how private view timings and studios, among many other things, are not welcoming of artist mothers.
We See The Sights by Miriam Elia, published by Dung Beetle books
Continuing her hilarious series of Dung Beetle books that are a sarcastic take on Ladybird books, this is another fun read as a mother takes her children to see London’s sights. With Kim Kardashian replacing Nelson on his column and an empty decolonised British Museum it’s as witty and as relevant as ever.
The Art of Tapestry by Helen Wyld, published by Philip Wilson Publishers
This beautifully illustrated book looks at how tapestries were made, how they were used as political tools and how they came into and out of fashion. Using the tapestries in The National Trust collection as the starting point, it’s a fascinating look at an art form that doesn’t get the same attention as paintings.
Banksy: A Graphic Novel by Francesco Matteuzzi, Marco Maraggi & Keith Haring: The Story of his Life by Paolo Parisi, published by Prestel
Taking an artist’s biography and turning it into a graphic novel makes it a lot more accessible and that is the case with the life and work of both Banksy and Keith Haring in these two books. It’s a series that has impressed me in the past and these two are excellent additions to those wanting a surface-level view of artists and their practices.
Revisiting Modern British Art – Edited by Jo Baring, published by Lund Humphries
An interesting and refreshing look at Modern British Art and how it has evolved and continues to evolve. Ranging from how the two World Wars impacted the trajectory of art in Britain to essays on how it’s being re-written to account for the contribution of black and Asian-British artists.
Through a simple A-Z guide this short read charts the history and controversies of the Royal Academy of Arts including the Constable / Turner feud and the more recent Sensations exhibitions. It’s a pocket sized quick read that keeps the tone nice and breezy throughout.
Collective Wisdom by Katerina Cizek, William Uricchio & others – published by MIT Press
This book presents a lovely Utopian vision of the world where everything is created with a truly collaborative approach in the wider arts. It makes a strong case that this will lead to more diverse views. It also lands the important point that most accomplishments are achieved by people working together and not the often valorised lone genius.
An opinionated guide to Art London by Christina Brown, published by Hoxton Mini Press
This short guide to London’s art scene is a handy reference book on the places you should go to see art and also make art. It’s digestible in one sitting and written for those who go to some galleries but may not be aware of all the others that are on offer – plus some tips on where to buy art supplies, art books and create art yourself. It’s one person’s opinion so it’s not comprehensive but as the title suggests one persons opinion on what to see – though it covers off all the major galleries.
More posts on art books HERE