Image Credit: London Artist’s Studio (THOR CC BY 2.0)
Tonight, the evening of Monday 5 December 2016, sees the announcement of the winner of the Turner Prize 2016. The Turner Prize is awarded to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the preceding year. To mark the occasion, LSE Review of Books has brought together 7 must-read books on artistic production across the globe.
Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else. David Balzer. Pluto Press. 2015.
If everything can be ‘curated’, what happens to the figure of the curator? This award-winning book traces the historical transformation of the value and labour of curation as a profession as its practices come to permeate everyday life. Recommended to readers interested in a critical history of the curator and art exhibitions as well as those looking for a discussion of identity and value in the digital age.
Adjusted Margin: Xerography, Art and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century. Kate Eichhorn. MIT Press. 2016.
This book tells the story of how the xerographic copier or ‘xerox machine’ became a key medium for artists and activists in the latter half of the twentieth century. This compelling and well-researched work offers vivid examples of the deep political significance that became attached to these concrete acts of reproduction and dissemination.
Of Remixology: Ethics and Aesthetics after Remix. David J. Gunkel. MIT Press. 2016.
Is remix a revolutionary creative practice or an illegitimate stealing of other people’s work? This book challenges the terms of this debate by arguing that both arguments are predicated on shared values, despite ostensibly opposing goals. The text provides an accessible, lively and impressive conceptual mashup of the conflict between the so-called copyright and copyleft that offers much of interest to users and producers of creative content.
Remote Avant-Garde: Aboriginal Art Under Occupation. Jennifer Loureide Biddle. Duke University Press. 2016.
This book focuses on the emergence of an avant-garde Indigenous aesthetics in ‘remote’ Australia in the context of the parallel instantiation of governmental policy aimed at targeting perceived levels of delinquency and dysfunction in Aboriginal communities. Readers will find knowledge, breadth and complexity in this refreshingly energetic, sensitive and nuanced work.
Central Asia in Art: From Soviet Orientalism to the New Republics. Aliya Abykayeva-Tiesenhausen. IB Tauris. 2016.
This book traces Soviet portrayals of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in twentieth-century art. This beautifully-illustrated work brings together accessible art analysis and detailed historical context to give a comprehensive and empathetic understanding of the featured artworks.
The Philosophy of Design. Glenn Parsons. Polity. 2015.
This book provides a well-structured discussion of the philosophy of design, drawing upon the author’s extensive work on beauty, aesthetics and nature. It shows design as a valid and important area of philosophical inquiry, covering a range of social, epistemological and ethical issues. This is an essential read for anyone looking for an engaging and accessible mapping of existing philosophical scholarship on design.
Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries. Angela McRobbie. Polity. 2015.
This book addresses how the encouragement to foster one’s ‘creativity’ as a set of capacities or skills necessary for professional success is entwined with the rise in freelance, temporary and low-paid labour. Drawing upon Angela McRobbie’s extensive contributions to the field of cultural and creative industries, this text underscores the contemporary link between creative work and precarity, but also offers hope for future change.