What all art enthusiasts should be reading this Autumn

Earlier this Summer, we’ve listed the five books all arts students should be reading right now, as suggested by a selection of gallerists, professors and curators. Today, we look at the new Autumn releases from some world-class publishing houses that also focus on writings on contemporary art. From contemporary art theory to discourses surrounding the relationship between curators, artists and art institutions, these books, coming out between now and November, will keep you busy — at least until Christmas!

Why Only Art Can Save Us by Santiago Zabala — Release date: September 2017


View of Maurizio Cattelan, La Nona Ora at at Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes. (France) Courtesy Perrotin gallery.


Since 9/11 and the development of the culture of fear, we live in a state of constant emergency, heightened by the political upheavals we have witnessed in recent years.

Why Only Art Can Save Us by Santiago Zabala, draws on the work of philosophers Arthur Danto, Jacques Rancière, and Gianni Vattimo and Martin Heidegger’s “distinction between works of art that rescue us from emergency and those that are rescuers into emergency” to argue that contemporary art offers very viable and very real possibilities to save ourselves: that is, urge us into action in a situation of ongoing crisis. Going beyond the facile equation between contemporary art and consumerism, Zabala goes on to argue that art might be one of the most adequate means to preserve democracy.



How Institutions Think, edited by Paul O'Neill, Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson — Release date: November 2017




Borrowing its name from anthropologist Marie Douglas’ 1986 book, and inspired by the eponymous conference held in Arles in 2016,  How Institutions Think  is an anthology of essays and writings by an array of international writers edited by Paul O'Neill, (New York-based artist, curator and writer based) Dr. Lucy Steeds (Central Saint Martins) and Mick Wilson. (artist, educator and writer based in Sweden and Ireland)

The anthology gives readers an insight into not only the organization and work of art institutions internationally, but also into the ways in which their very structure influences the work of artists, curatorial practices, educational projects as well as the very world we live in. In addition, contributors to the anthology also investigate alternative models to our existing ones, and in particular the ways in which we may begin to think about truly progressive institutions — or “anti-institutions”.



The Artist Project: What Artists See When They Look at Art, edited by Thomas P. Campbell and Christopher Noey (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) — Release date: October 2017


Photo Courtesy Phaidon.


Edited by former Met director Thomas P. Campbell and Christopher Noey, Senior Advisor in the Office of the Director at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and series director of The Artist Project web feature, the book contains interviews with 120 artists discussing works from the Met that have particularly inspired or influenced them. Coming out this October, this series gives a unique insight on not only works from the New York collection but also on the ways in which artists engage with art and how this impacts their creative process.

The web series is accessible via Met’s website.


Photo Courtesy Phaidon.



The War between Data and Images, by Steve F. Anderson — Release date: November 2017


Also published by the MIT press, Steve F. Anderson’s (Associate Professor of Digital Media at the University of California Los Angeles) The War Between Data and Images analyzes the massive shift we have experienced in the 21st century: the subordination of visual culture to the digital one.

Far from establishing a dichotomy between the two, Anderson’s research — which spans examples ranging from software art, to virtual reality and mass surveillance — goes on to show how our understanding of digital culture presupposes the critical models humanity has developed for the study of images.

Across the domains of space, surveillance and data visualization, Anderson explores the “tensions between the totalizing logic of data and the unruly chaos of images.” For all art & tech enthusiasts and the geeker of art lovers, Anderson’s work is a must-read.




Sound Art: Sound as a Medium of Art, edited by Peter Weibel —  Release date: October 2017



Because of its interdisciplinary and hybrid nature, Sound Art is probably one of the toughest artistic disciplines to define. Edited by Peter Weibel, (Chairman and CEO of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, and Professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna) Sound Art: Sound as a Medium of Art contains is an anthology of essays retracing the history of sound as an art medium in its own right, a history that stretches back to the beginning of the 20th century and the experimentations of Futurism, Dadaism and Fluxus.

The book comes out four years after the end of the major 2012-2013 exhibition at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, (Germany) surveying the history of sound art. Visuals from the show accompany the text.