Inspired Reading

Inspired Reading | What is on YOUR list?

Inspired Reading started with my own interest in building a library and dedicating more time to reading. In talking to artists and curators over the years about their current projects, I have found that influential books and other texts always become part of the conversation. I would always note them for myself, but rarely went back and actually read the books. Through the process I have created with this column, I have now read a wide range of texts that I may not have known of previously. This column has been rewarding in many ways, and the best part is always the conversation that happens with the artist or curator about their reading lists.

This month, I thought I would talk about my own reading habits. As an art advisor, I have the privilege of looking at art all the time. Keeping up with my reading is part of the job—it continues to inform my eye. One thing this column has proven to me is that artists and curators are influenced by a diverse range of texts—from novels to textbooks to cultural theory. They may have encountered these texts as a child, yet are just now seeing the influence of it in their work, or perhaps they were seeking out specific technical texts to help inform their making.

Photo by Juliette Tang

Because the influences can come from so many sources, I feel obligated to be continually reading and observing. Outside of the wonderful array of texts I read for this column, on an everyday level, I am reading press releases, catalogue essays, and magazine articles. For critical essays, some of my favorite resources are, e-flux JournalMay RevueArtforum and Frieze Magazine. I am also a New York Times junkie, and am so happy when I have a long flight and can read The New Yorker or The Atlantic cover-to-cover. Another great resource for me is Arts & Letters Daily.

A few favorite texts that have proven influential or to be great resources to me, both on a professional and personal level:

Dirk Boll, Art for Sale: A Candid View of the Art Market (2011)

Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another: Notes on Site-Specificity (2004)

John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972)

Charles Harrison & Dr. Paul J. Wood, Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (2002)

Two other great sources for reading recommendations are columns that inspired this one:

Frieze Magazine, Ideal Syllabus

Bookforum, Syllabi

What I want to know is … What is on YOUR reading list? Post a text or two in the comments section or email me at kellyahuang [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. F.R. David Magazine published by De Appel
    David L. Martin, Curious Visions of Modernity: Enchantment, Magic, and the Sacred
    Georges Perec, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris
    Antonin Artaud, 50 Drawings to Murder Magic
    Robert Irwin, Notes Towards a Conditional Art

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  2. One of my faves is Grant Kester’s book “Conversation Pieces.” Another great read is “Learning Mind: Experience into Art” edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Jacquelynn Baas.

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  3. Here in Massachusetts, town residents are reading The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn as part of Wrentham Reads One Book One Town town-wide program. The program is centered around reading Emily Dickinson during the month of April which is National Poetry Month. ED was not as much of a recluse as people surmise. Although not a resource book, it is inspirational, plus it is turning people into ED aficionados and to poetry in general.

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  4. tony says:

    For the Time Being by Annie Dillard

    Anything by Wislawa Szymborska

    Ecclesiastes

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