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Michael Findlay “The Value of Art”

Summer Reading 0

When we were still at school, the holidays used to start with a long list of compulsory (later redefined as “recommended”) summer reading. If the world of art interests you, we recommend reading at least these five books this summer.

1. Michael Findlay “The Value of Art” 

Analyzing the movements of the art market within the last four decades, the author tackles the inexhaustible question – what is art worth? The question mark does not apply just to art as a consumer product, however, since the book also considers the place of art objects in society and culture. Not many behind-the-scenes experts in the art market would willingly share their experiences like Michael Findley has. The Scotland-born author of this book is one of the first art dealers, who chose New York’s up-and-coming art neighbourhood SoHo as his field of work in the 1960s, later becoming head of the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at Christie’s in the 1980s. Since 2000, Findlay is Director of New York’s historic Acquavella Galleries.

2. “Studio Olafur Eliasson” 

This book by Taschen is fresh from the press – an extensive insight into the Berlin studio of prominent Icelandic artist of Danish origin, Olafur Eliasson (1967), currently operating as an interdisciplinary creative space. Since graduating from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, the artist’s name has been heard in connection with projects in a number of significant art institutions, including “The Green project” at Tate Modern (2003), “Take your time: Olafur Eliasson” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2007) and MoMA, New York (2008). Once, in an interview, Eliasson stated that he feels like a small art institution with the mission of highlighting and raising issues of public interest, often not graspable in a museum environment. The impressive “Studio Olafur Eliasson” collection gives readers the opportunity to explore every nook and cranny of the artists studio’s diverse projects and plans, revealed not only in an impressive range of visual material, but also conversations and reflections put into writing. The book was originally created as a rare collector’s edition, but is now available in a more down-to-earth format – without the clamshell cover – for each and every follower of Eliasson’s career.

3. Michael Peppiatt “Interviews with Artists, 1966–2012”

Art critic, curator, writer and author of several significant publications on art, Michael Peppiat (1941) has met more than a few legends of 20th century art during his career. Francis Bacon (1909–1991), Henry Moore (1898–1986), Tàpies (1923–2012), Jean Dubufet (1901–1985) and Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) are but some of the giants contained in “Interviews with Artists, 1966–2012”, reflections of their multifaceted natures revealed in this significant collection of interviews. Unlike other books of this format, which provide an lasting idea of the personality interviewed, Peppiatt manages to coax just enough information out of each interviewee to awaken readers’ desire to learn more. 

4. “BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors”

One of this summer’s must-have books not only provides an insight into the locations of the world’s most prestigious collections of art, but is also useful reading when planning future culture and leisure holiday itineraries. “BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors” gathers the portraits of 172 private collections, including both the most famous collections of art and hitherto unknown discoveries. All of them are open to visitors. As the creators of the book claim, this is a unique compilation, having no equivalent in the material or digital worlds. “We asked ourselves, why doesn’t something like this already exist?” say the authors of this art guide. Art collectors, gallerists, artists and journalists were involved in the making of the book, and their suggested reserves of culture are located in 124 cities and 34 countries. The fact that the book’s opening coincided with that of the reputable Art Basel art fair gives this publication an additional charm.

5. Romualdas Rakauskas “Šiokiadieniai. Weekdays”

“Šiokiadieniai. Weekdays” – a catalogue of the work of Lithuanian master of photography Romualdas Rakauskas (1941), published in June by the Kauno fotografijos gallery, shines a light into everyday life in the cities of 60s and 70s Lithuania, focusing on moments from Vilnius – a city of new discoveries for the artist – and the more reserved Kaunas. The different rhythm, history and cultural heritage of these two large Lithuanian cities are what form their special and unique characters, flowing from the pages of Rakauskas’ album. It is this ability to portray a city through its people, who oblige the eager captures of his work process, that defines Rakauskas’ creative work. Already in 1965, encouraged by his contemporary Antanas Sutkus, Ratkauskas created their joint photography book “Vilniaus šiokiadieniai” (Daily Life in Vilnius), which turned photojournalism into art with its idiosyncratic vision, becoming the first publication of its kind in the Soviet Union.