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Art Books To Read In Quarantine
Because now’s the perfect time to start reading
Gorgeous Listicles 23 Apr 2020

Let’s face it, we’re not going to be attending any art parties, private views or dinners with our pals in the near future. Staying indoors is the new going out, and it means we now have A LOT of spare time on our hands. The days seem twice as long as they were pre-corona and many art girls may be at a loss when it comes to what to do with all those extra hours. Well my friends, I have the answer for you! Why not pick up a new book? While we can’t get to libraries or bookshops, most online outlets are still posting orders, making picking a new book that much easier. Reading is a great way to escape the realities of what is going on outside our windows, and it can also help top up your knowledge of the art world you so desperately miss. Here’s a list of books you might want to start with. 

Collecting Contemporary Art by Adam Lindemann

For all the art girls out there looking to start a collection of their own, or looking to sell to collectors, this is a good place to start. This book provides you with the info you need on primary and secondary markets, the art world’s social circles and a timeline of the most important art buying dates in the year. As a bonus, it also includes interviews with critics, dealers, collectors and auction house experts. Basically, it contains everything you need, result!

Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement 

What art girl hasn’t had a secret crush on the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat at one moment in time? Probably not many. This biography by Jennifer Clement documents his life through his relationship with his muse Suzanne Mallouk, who came to be known as Widow Basquiat after his death. This sounds juicy!

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

Mary Gabriel’s Ninth Street Women looks at five twentieth-century women artists who made their mark on a male-dominated art world. The New York based abstract painters Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler all redefined what it means to be an artist. 

Modern Arab Art by Nada Shabout

Most art girls will know about modern art from Europe and America, but what about the rest of the world? Nada Shabout’s Modern Arab Art provides a historical and theoretical overview of modern art from the Arab world from the 1940s until today. The book negates the idea that Arab art is a timeless and exotic “other”, and is the perfect way to discover a new part of the art world from your couch.

The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal

Written by ceramist Edmund De Waal, The Hare With Amber Eyes tells the story of a collection of netsuke (small ivory carvings) in his uncle’s Tokyo apartment. The book sees De Waal explore the story of these objects, which travel through apartments in Japan and palaces in Vienna, while explaining the origins of the netsuke themselves.

The Art Of Love by Kate Bryan

Who doesn’t love a good art-fuelled love story? Kate Bryan’s The Art Of Love tells us about the romantic lives of our favourite couples from throughout art history. From Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Gilbert & George, Bryan documents everything: the short-live drama fuelled affairs and the long lasting relationships we all wish we had ourselves. 

Great Women Artists by Phaidon

Now here’s a book every art girl ought to have on their bookshelf! Published last year, Great Women Artists, crosses out the word “women”, reminding us that female artists are just as important as male artists, and that artists should not be defined by their gender. Featuring over 400 artists, spanning 500 years and more than 50 countries, the book presents each female artist with a key artwork and accompanying text. 

Out Of This Century by Peggy Guggenheim

What better way to spend your time indoors than by reading art legend Peggy Guggenheim’s autobiography?! The book includes notes on her relationships with Jackson Pollock and Max Ernst, as well as her discovery of new artists. It’s a must read!

Boom by Michael Schnayerson

The subtitle to Michael Schnayerson’s book Boom is “Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art.” The book tells the story of the rise of the largest unregulated financial market in the world and the hard-nosed dealers who are behind it. Beginning in the 1940s, Schnayerson speaks with everyone from Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner to Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly, moving from 1950s artist studios to today’s Art Basel, quite simply a must-read!

Text Lizzy Vartanian

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