Reading List 03
Our third reading list is culled from 'cultural producers,' a group of talents who expand upon their traditional training to spread ideas and culture. Although the term is relatively new, the sentiment behind their multi-faceted creative ventures is not a new phenomenon. These polymaths are simply brave enough to manifest the depths of their ideas and share the magic residing within.
Community Activist and Founder of Black Art Library, Detroit.
Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by Legacy Russell (2020)
"In a workshop a few years back I had the opportunity to hear Legacy talk a little about cyber feminism and the work around this book. In the digital age we’re living in it’s a super relevant read. I’m just excited to be able to support her."
The Library Book by Susan Orlean (2018)
"The other day I had a live zoom with the Brooklyn Rail where I was in conversation with some wonderful women (curator Alexis Assam and art writer Jasmine Weber) and this book was a suggested read. It’s a story about a fire in the LA Public Library as well as the history of libraries. There is so much history in libraries that I still have to learn since I’m building one of my own."
Black Futures by Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew (2020)
“A copy was donated to the Black Art Library and I quickly looked through but there are so many gems it’s going to take a while to get through and I’m fine with that! I’ll be getting a copy for my personal collection very soon!”
Journalist, Curator, and Founder of Stance Podcast
A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing by So Mayer (2020)
"I've heard so much noise around this book from three different friends that don't know each other so it is a must-read for anyone who is interested in reclaiming complexity and nuance in today's world."
What You Could Have Won by Rachel Genn (2020)
"One of my best friends, the writer/author Anna Wood, recommended it to me and she never sends a bad recommendation. It is about fame, public vs. private, as well as female resilience and having/taking control."
How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division by Elif Shafak (2020)
"This is a very direct, beautifully illustrated pocket-sized manifesto on where we are now and how to stay sane. She also talks about the need for Creative Pessimism and that ‘It is totally fine not to feel fine’ as there's a lot to not feel fine about and if you do feel fine you're not awake."
Art Historian and Host of Art Matters Podcast
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1847-1848)
"I’m currently in the middle of reading Vanity Fair for the first time. I love period books — I’ve read everything by Jane Austen and some Dickens, etc. I finally picked this book up because I got a beautiful version printed by Four Corners Books. They work with artists to publish classics with new illustrations, turning each one into an artist’s book."
Great Women Artists by the Phaidon Editors (2019)
"I always have a copy of Great Women Artists by Phaidon Books sitting out and I reference it a lot in my work. I was lucky enough to contribute to this book a couple of years ago and it’s been such a handy resource for me to discover women artists and reference pithy bios."
Honest Art Dictionary by The Art History Babes (2020)
"My most recent book purchase is the Honest Art Dictionary by the Art History Babes. They’re a group of four art historians and podcasters who are doing really great work to make art history a more accessible topic for all. I’ve dipped in and out of different parts of the dictionary recently as I’ve been thinking about simple ways to explain terms in my own projects."
CEO of HiZ.art and Host of Conversations About Art Podcast
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (1997)
"I love fiction and primarily that’s what I read! Earlier this year I read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and I felt like I fell into it, it was a mesmerizing and enthralling read. It was one of my favorite books of the last few years. Everything I Never Told You is her first novel and I’m really looking forward to it!"
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (1997)
"I continue to be drawn to the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle. I have read The Power of Now before but, like most things worth knowing, it takes multiple times for me to learn them."
The Courage to be Disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi (2013)
"The Courage to be Disliked was recommended by a close friend and fellow CEO, someone whose career trajectory in myriad ways mirrors mine. I love Japan and many things Japanese and my greatest goal is to achieve real happiness so there are many things about this book that excite me!"
Founder of 5735 studios, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Scene.
The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Besser van der Kolk, MD (2014)
"This book was recommended to me by my pole class instructor as a way to understand how our bodies internalize trauma. As I'm prioritizing peace and healing in my life and unpacking how generational trauma impacts me daily, I'm fascinated to learn more about this concept."
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (1989)
"This is a book that I take the time to savor once or twice a year, and winter will be that time. Full of incredible insights and gems about the feminine psyche, energy, and soul, it's a profoundly inspiring book that continues to yield insight upon every read."
Cultural Infrastructure Builder and Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary.
From the 20th to the 21st Century, Propaganda by Jonas Staahl (2019)
"Jonas Staahl exquisitely threads the needle between the imaginary and the utilitarian by tackling a fundamentally misconstrued term in art: propaganda. I chose this book because rather than analysis, Staahl provided insight into this thinking that has allowed him to deploy extraordinary art projects that produce tangible alternative political realities in space and time, particularly The New World Summit, in Rojava Syria."
The Last Whole Earth Catalogue: Access to Tools by Stewart Brand (1971)
"This is the time to build alternatives. We can destroy the ruins of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy as should be done. The opportunity to build new worlds is in front of us and getting up to speed on the devices, economies, lawyers, technologies, allies, administrators, food supplies, material reserves, energy supplies, and on and on is an essential task. This early book lays out not only a bewildering range of often antiquated techniques, but reminds us that the tools out there are neither good or bad, but powerful in constructing new worlds."
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)
"Butler manages to do in her prose what art often tries to do but falls slightly short. She creates new desire, new emotions, new relationships, new worlds. Using the genres of thrillers and science fiction as a backdrop, she magically creates fraught encounters rife with tentacles, gardens, feelings on the edge of the epidermis where DNA is tasted. For Butler, desire is both haunting, overpowering, destructive and wildly unknown. She is a towering figure that may stand alone as a creator of new emotions and thus worlds."
Artist and Director of Purpose, Eaton Workshop, Washington, D.C.
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis by Ayanna Elizabeth Johnson (2020)
"We need to understand that even though things are fucked up, we can still save ourselves."
Art Consultant and Founder & Director of Suzie Wong Presents, "the Caribbean, Seen."
This One Sky Day by Leone Ross (2021)
"I fell in love with Leone’s writing when I read and re-read her short story collection, Come Let Us Sing Anyway. She is spectacular, and this is her new novel due for release in 2021. Yes, I am lucky enough to have a proof copy and can’t wait to sink my self in and savor every word. It is about two star-crossed lovers in the land of Popisho… Popisho to raahtid! In the time of the pandemic, we need escapes to new worlds. Popisho is the place for me."
The Making of a Caribbean Avant Garde: Postmodernism as Post-nationalism by Therese Kaspersen Hadchity (2020)
"This work is part of a comparative series in Cultural Studies by Purdue University Press, and is a contemporary academic view arguing that postmodernism is in fact post-nationalism in the Anglophone Caribbean art world. Perhaps the most controversial possibility about this book is that its written by a Danish academic, resident in Barbados since 1990. This brings into question yet again, who writes about us, who defines us and who shapes internal and external perceptions of us island cultures? It's part of the post-colonial affliction in my mind. And yet it will offer new conceptual frameworks and analysis of institutional frameworks and cultural policies, all of which are of great value. A quandary perhaps? I’ll see."