Inspired Reading

Inspired Reading | 2011 List

In the spirit of year-end lists, I have compiled a short list of my favorite literary-related things from this year. As you will see, the list spans from books, to magazine articles, to events that give one great access to literary dialogue. For me, this year has been a great year of reading. I am not attempting to list out all the texts that I have read this year, but thought I would point out two that I was introduced to through this column. Each artist or curator that I have interviewed has been vastly different in their interests, leading to unique reading lists that cover a wide range of subjects. Reading through each artist or curator’s list always feels a bit too ambitious, but it is always more than worthwhile at the end. I hope you have enjoyed reading some of the titles presented through this column over the past six months!

1. Kadist Art Foundation San Francisco-hosted launch of Fillip Issue No. 15, October 12, 2011
Instead of a traditional issue launch party, the editors and writers who did a residency in San Francisco decided to host a quiz night—writers vs. writers. When presented with a (sometimes random) image, the teams would buzz in to give their “answer”—some explanation of how the image related back to one of the essays in Fillip Issue No. 15. None of the brilliant contributors took themselves too seriously, so it was an evening filled with laughs, which was unexpected, given the titles of some of the essays (examples: Curating in the time of Algorithms or Apparatus, Capture, Trace).

2. The photography of Juliette Tang at

Juliette is an old friend of mine from high school. She has always been fiercely smart and a beautiful person. We reunited in San Francisco this year and she has been behind the photos that appear within my column here. She has an obsession with all things literary, and she has a knack for taking photos of books with a unique style that suggest the romanticism of reading the classics, walking through dusty library stacks, or curling up with a book in bed.

3. “Theoretically Speaking,” Critchley, Simon; Power, Nina; and Vermeulen, Timotheus; Frieze Magazine, September 2011

This is a first-person history of philosophical movements from the 1990s through today in relation to art, with each author taking on a decade. This serves as a summary of the major philosophical movements.

4. Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means (2003) by William T. Vollmann

This book appeared on Geof Oppenheimer’s reading list, and I am grateful because it was my first time reading a text by William T. Vollmann. Although Vollmann’s approach to research and writing is less than conventional (at least in the contemporary moment), I found it to be absolutely engaging. Vollmann seems to evaluate his subjects through both a historical and anthropological lens.

5. Istanbul: Memories and the City (2004) by Orhan Pamuk

This memoir appeared on Jens Hoffmann’s reading list for the Istanbul Biennial. It served as my introduction to Pamuk’s writing, and I have been hooked ever since. This memoir reads more like a great novel and Pamuk paints the city of Istanbul in a melancholy light.

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