What Artists Are Reading Now

On a couple of different days, I asked my Twitter followers what art-related book they were reading or had recently read.

They’re responses enticed me to my second Kindle purchase. Keep reading to find out what I selected and what is next on my list.

Art Books

A small glimpse into my art library.

The Pornographer of Vienna by Croft, such a great read! About Egon Schiele – @paintmarks (I think this will be 3rd up in my queue of must-reads.)

Arshile Gorky: The Man, The Time, The Idea by Harold Rosenberg – @tomhlasartist (I’d like to read more about Gorky after reading the de Kooning bio, but I’m not sure I want it to be from Rosenberg.)

I am in the middle of reading Jackie Battenfield’s The Artist’s Guide & Beauty & the Soul, Piero Ferrucci – @bethvw (Battenfield’s book is excellent. Will have to look at the other.)

The View from the Studio Door; Art and Fear…highly recommend both – @krenbennett (read it, agree)

Stitches by David Small, a fantastic graphic novel/biography. – @raraavisstudio

Currently reading Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland – @StaunchStudio and @glimmeringprize (read it, agree)

James Gurney’s Color and Light – @aarondraws

New Museum founder, Marcia Tucker’s autobiography. Fascinating art world snapshot & inspiration – @JuliaKirt (This is next up on my list.)

The Element by Ken Robinson – @CreativeStash

Thomas Mann, Jewelry Artist – @nanlee

Just finished “The Yellow House-Van Gogh & Gauguin’s Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles” by Martin Gayford – @kwillisart

I read The Gardener Heist – loved it. cant wait to go see those empty frames hanging in the museum – @debmillerart

Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova … Good one – @AnnMarieScott (read it, agree)

The Fifth Element, the art of Emily Mason. Stunning. – @EdminsterArtist

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams, Natural Affinities – @RandysRules

Miss O’Keeffe – great book about the last year of Geogia O’Keeffe’s life written by her nurse – @JerzeyGirlDream

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – @farringtonphoto and @shanaphoto (read it, recommend it)

Just Kids by Patti Smith. – @noisydogstudio and @collageartist

Just Kids is a fabulous book about the relationship of Mapplethorpe & Patti Smith. Art is the core of everything. GREAT READ! – @lizamyers (Note: They convinced me. I started it right away and am about 30% through my Kindle edition of this book. Loving it.)

Drawing Down the Moon (the art of Charles Vess) – @latlansky

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12 comments to What Artists Are Reading Now

  • becky nielsen

    Last year I read Black Angel by Nouritza Matossian about Arshile Gorky and liked it very much.
    Am glad to have this list – will go look for some of these.

  • Alyson,
    Looking at your reading list here makes me drool! You know how Oprah has Oprah’s Book Club? I totally think you should have Alyson’s Book Club!!

    The book club I belong to tend to read things I really don’t give two hoots about but these? OMG!

  • Thanks for the tip on “The Pornographer of Vienna.” Shiele is amazing, and Amazon has a lot of copies of the book really cheap. Same sort of deal for The “Yellow House,” so how could I resist?

    I’m installing a big outdoor piece this morning, so I’m jazzed anyway!

  • I read a lot, but I don’t always read about art. Guess my mind needs a break since I seem to always be focused on art in one way or another.

    A really good book I read was “The Artist’s Mentor” by Ian Jackman. It is about what inspires artists and he has gathered quotes from some very well known artists. For biographical fiction I loved “The Girl with the Pearl Earring,” “The Agony & the Ecstacy” and “Lust for Life”.

    Thanks Alyson, I’ll definitely be adding to my reading list.

  • Just finished “Free Play, Improvisation in Life and Art” by Stephen Nachmanovitch. Beautifully written book about the importance of improvisation in creative endeavors. I think I underlined something in very nearly every paragraph.

  • I am re-reading the classic “NO MORE SECONDHAND ART” by Peter London, which always refreshes and inspires me in my work. One of my favorite quotes under the heading “Uncovering the Original Me” :
    “To create art drawn from within is to create a world of our own and also to uncover an all-but-forgotton original, primal self.”
    His words tend to hit me where I live, and powerfully.

  • Hi Alyson – This seems to be on everyone’s mind – lots of talk about what people are reading in the art community right now. This list is great. I’ve wanted to read “The View from the Studio Door” for some time – maybe I need to put that more at the top of the list.

    My list usually consists of nonfiction, I think fiction will have to wait until my autumn years. Maybe when you can put it under your pillow at night – osmosis. Anyway, my list for the past 2 months consists of:

    9 Steps To Work More and Do Less – Stever Robbins. He also has a good podcast.

    40 Digital Photography Techniques – I teach a Beginner Photography Class – and I’m always looking for new books in this area.

    Understanding Digital Cameras, by Jon Tarrant – This is an advanced book, very good. Very technical. Section it off – read 15 pages a day or something.

    Leverage Your Best, Ditch the Rest – Whoops – should I mention this one? It’s written by a coach.

    The Artist Guide to Grant Writing – We all know this one. I am just starting this one up. I was just appointed the Grant Chair for our Art Organization in Boulder – so I am really excited to read this. I hear it’s great.

    The list is on my blog jennressmann.wordpress.com with some comments and images of the books – always like a good review.

    Glad to hear everyone is reading! (Hope there weren’t too many shameless plugs :)

    - Jennifer

  • Checking back in to report that I finished “Just Kids” and LOVED it. What a heartwarming friendship. Two people totally devoted to their art.

    Just ordered Marcia Tucker’s bio. As a former museum pro, I really was interested in this one.

  • My most recent art read was Iriving Stone’s _Lust for Life_, the novel about Vincent VanGogh. Excellent book!

    I’m about to start Rilke’s _Letters to a Young Poet_. It’s for a group I belong to, but I have no doubt it will be helpful in my own artistic journey! :)

  • [...] Novels with artists portrayed. If you write about the lifestyle of artists on your blog, this would be a great type of book to review. It’s also interesting to see how reading the story of an artist can impact your art. [...]