Monday, August 6, 2012

Reading List

Ever since my the Crow workshop, maybe before, I've been asking myself, what makes art art?  What makes good art good?  How can meaning be conveyed through non-objective abstract art?
In my usual semi-obsessive way, I've gone about looking for answers in books.  Despite all the information out there on the internet, I still find sinking into a book the best way to really research something. Call me old-school - you'd be right - and proud of it.

So I bought a number of modern art books, like this one and am browsing all, digging deeper into most.  I found a couple volumes at the used bookstore (You can call me cheap, too.) that looked at the first 50 years of modern art, 1900-1950, essentially.  I really liked this approach because it allowed me to try to understand how art moved into abstraction from a generally representational basis, without trying to absorb 100 years all at once.   My formal art education ended in 1987, and what a surprise - things have changed in 25 years!

Then I stumbled on an amazing book that I am totally devouring, it is the catalog from the Color Chart Exhibit at MoMA 2008.  What an exhibit. It's okay to love paint swatches.  I guess I was not the only one hording them as "art parts."

Then I decided I needed to figure out what had been going on in those last 25 years.. and decided to start with But Is It Art? Which is a short relatively easy read on the evolution of art theory.  More than I ever wanted to know about bodily fluids as art material, but helpful nonetheless!


  1. Contemporary art may have changed but the basics of good art has stayed the same. Art goes through phases of popularity. Would you say what is published in Architectural Digest good architecture or interior design? You know what is good but not necessarily what is popular or gets good press. Trust your instincts.

    1. Very true. I feel like my instincts can recognize good art, but am not always sure I can create it! Architecture and interiors do go through similar phases to art. Some is classic and enduring, some not. For example the whole Post-modern fake historic glued on cornices, etc. phase that Michael Graves fell into.