Tabish Khan the @LondonArtCritic takes a break from exhibitions to recommend his top art books to read this Winter. Each one comes with a concise review to help you decide whether it’s for you.
Everyone is Creative: 7 Steps to Unlock your Creativity by Guy Armitage, published by LOM ART
This is a helpful and playful how to book, that sets out how you can work habits into your daily routine to help unlock the creativity we have in all of us. It’s a joy to read as it’s written in a light and playful style, with illustrations that make it easily digestible. Plus there’s a quote from me on the back cover and there’s no better endorsement than that.
Marina and the Curse of the Royal Yugoslavian Academy of Art by Miriam Elia, published by Dung Beetle books
I’ve always been a massive fan of Miriam Elia’s riff on the Ladybird books and she strikes again this time telling the story of Marina Abramovic’s journey to getting a solo show at the Royal Academy of Arts. It’s playful, cutting and even Marina is a fan of it.
Woman Life Freedom: Voices and Art from the Women’s Protests in Iran – edited by Malu Halasa, published by Saqi Books
This is such a powerful collection of essays about the fight for Women’s rights in Iran told through short stories, artworks and diverse personal re-collections. It’s a truly moving book and covers a wide breadth of individuals and their own desires to express themselves.
The Lost Van Gogh by Jonathan Santlofer, published by Sourcebooks
This is an enjoyable pacey thriller revolving around the discovery of a lost Van Gogh painting that involves dark web art deals, kidnapping, muggings and a jet-setting plot. It’s hard not to draw positive parallels with the likes of The Da Vinci Code, with it’s short chapters and a story that keeps you hooked throughout. On sale from 1 January 2024.
An opinionated guide: British Art, published by Hoxton Mini Press
It’s impossible to condense all of British art history into one pocket sized book, but this one comes pretty close. Taking us from Anthony van Dyck right through to Sonia Boyce, by way of Constable, the Pre-Raphaelites and conceptual art, it’s a whip through of British art that can be digested in one sitting.
How art is made: The Craft Behind The Masterpieces by Debra N Mancoff, published by Frances Lincoln
Most art lovers are often too busy admiring the beauty, the meaning and the brushstrokes of artworks to give much thought to the actual process that went into making the work. This book looks at masterpieces through a lens of material, from gold through to graffiti, to see how this affects what we see in the finished pieces.
All images copyright respective publishers and authors.