Teaching with Contemporary Art

Summer Reading

Tim Hawkinson, "Egg", 1997 Ground fingernails and hair, superglue Courtesy Ace Gallery, Los Angeles

Friends close to me know two things- I have a coffee problem and I have a book-buying problem. If I have money in my pocket and am anywhere close to books on sale, especially books about art and artists, I am sure to spend every last cent. And no, I am not into the Kindle thing. Frankly I can’t stand reading for long periods of time from a computer screen, but I love spending summer days drinking coffee that ranges from extremely hot to ice cold and catching up on books that I’ve been wanting to get to, or get back to.

Here are some of the titles I’ll be packing as I move from home to the Art21 Educators summer institute and then onto vacation this summer….

Philip Gefter’s collection of essays, Photography After Frank (2009)

Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook’s Rethinking Curating (2010)

Phaidon’s Press Play: Contemporary Artists in Conversation (2005)

Jennifer New’s Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art (2005)

Richard Brereton’s Sketchbooks: The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives (2009)

Danny Gregory’s An Illustrated Life (2008)

The last three listed above are all about sketchbooks and approach the topic very similarly by highlighting a range of artists that are quite serious about the work they do- whether preparing for finished works or allowing themselves to work through ideas on the way to something even bigger. All three are worth a look, especially if you are like myself and want good examples of sketchbook possibilities to share with your students this September.

While I wanted to include Terry Smith’s What is Contemporary Art? on my summer reading list, I can’t in good conscience recommend it at this time. Has anyone been able to get past the first 40-50 pages?? The verbal gymnastics make me tired. But maybe I just need another cup of coffee.


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