Recently, I was asked to recommend some art-related reading. I have chosen to limit this list to printed books and not include online content or periodicals. I have read each book on this list (often more than once), and selected titles that I have found helpful in my own art and business practices. This list is not intended to be a review of each book, nor is it focused on new releases, as there are so many great books that remain relevant today.
Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists
Edited by Sharon Louden
Publisher: Intellect Books, 2013
Each artist discusses, in and honest and direct manner, their own particular circumstances and choices that have allowed them to prioritize their art practice. I highly recommend this book for recent graduates about to realize how difficult it can be to dedicate time for art making outside the bubble of academia.
Purchase from The University of Chicago Press.
How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery
Publisher: Allworth Press, 2009
Even if you have no intentions of opening a commercial art gallery, read this book. It helps de-mystify how galleries operate, what they are looking for, and how to maintain a successful artist-gallery relationship.
Purchase from Allworth Press.
Why People Photograph
Publisher: Aperture, 2005
Prolific photographer Robert Adams covers a diverse range of topics on making photographs, from his essays on other accomplished photographers to his thoughts on collectors, teaching, and humor in photography. A great read for photographers at any stage in their career.
Purchase from Aperture.
Seven Days in the Art World
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009
Thornton brilliantly explores the inner workings of the high-end of the art world from Art Basel to Auctions to ArtForum. This book is a great read for those interested in a quasi-anthropological approach to the tastemakers of contemporary art.
Purchase from Powell's Books.
Crusade for Your Art: Best Practices from Fine Art Photographers
Publisher: Crusade Press, 2014
Mentioned on DTP before, this book is a brief yet comprehensive guide for photographers learning to navigate the business side of their careers. Schwartz calls upon movers and shakers in the photography world to contribute their insights into specific areas (full disclosure: I am a contributor to this book).
Purchase from Crusade for Art.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
David Bayles and Ted Orland
Publisher: Image Continuum Press, 2001
By working artists and for working artists, Art & Fear addresses the difficulties of producing art in the real world. I recommend this book for artists of all disciplines who are in need of some perspective and the reminder that they are not alone in their struggles.
Purchase from Better World Books.
Kat Kiernan is the Editor-in-Chief of Don’t Take Pictures.