Read Into It

Read Into It

Reading is one of my passions. I’m not very quick about it, and my recall is unimpressive, but I feel like I gain something with every book I finish. I stick pretty much to biographies these days, but also seek out works that help me understand art and artists better – or inspire me to be more creative.

So here’s my list of both recent reads and books to consider. This post will be interactive, so please comment with your favorite art world titles (whether scholarly or gossipy or just plain helpful) and I will list them below.  I hope you’ll find some time to cozy up with words on art after all the holiday “have-tos”.

Reading Woman with Parasol , Henri Matisse, 1921

Reading Woman with Parasol, Henri Matisse, 1921


A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World by Marcia Tucker (2010). I just read this one for a new book club I joined at ArtTable. We’re meeting next week, so I won’t give away my reaction. But if you work in the museum industry this memoir will make you feel like part of a brave tribe.

The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer (2009). Upon recommendation of my photo mentor Ron Zak, I was reading this to get a better sense of writing about photography and it also helped me recognize that my own eye is distinct by default. 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (2015). OK, I read this one a while ago, but I just heard Gilbert on The Ted Interview podcast speaking again about showing up for the creative muse. If you find the book too “woo-woo” just spend 50 minutes on the podcast and she’ll win you over.

Your own reasons to make art are enough. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
—  Elizabeth Gilbert


Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World by Neil Gaiman (2018). Because I loved his 2012 commencement speech at the University of the Arts and his novel Coraline.

The Dream Colony: A Life in Art by Walter Hopps (2017). Because I’m a fan of Edward Kienholz but know nothing of his collaborator who sounds like a visionary!

New Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip from Phaidon (2018). Because I love the idea of planning travel around art destinations (see my Naoshima article) and the photos are great just in case I don’t make it to all 500.

Into Words: The Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham by Carroll Dunham (2017). Because again, I’ve never heard of this author and I realize I have much more to learn from this generation.

And for fun – the magazine article: Jerry Saltz: My Life As a Failed Artist (2017 New York Magazine). Because lessons come in many guises and we need to laugh at ourselves.

Nothing less than an alternative history of art that seems a little crazy but makes a lot of sense.
— Scott Rothkopf, on Into Words by Carroll Dunham

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12 Ways of Art Success

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Bide Your Time