Birthday Books

I turned 47 this week, which is one of those years that isn’t really worth noting too strongly, but it’s nice to have a meal with close ones and maybe drink a little more than you should. It’s also a chance to request books you can’t fully justify buying but still want, if not need. This is what I received this year.

Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War by Hito Steyerl

This has been on my list for a while as something I could tell was both inherently absurd and massively intriguing. I had read the opening piece, A Tank on a Pedestal, which whetted my appetite with its simultaneously scattershot and forensic piecing together of stuff and things. I’m hoping her work will help me refine my own methodology for piecing together stuff and things. Or just put me off the whole notion. Either will be a win.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency by Nan Goldin

I first saw this at the Whitechapel gallery in 2002 when I was living in London. I was barely a photographer and definitely not an artist so it’s fair to say being blown away by her work was a formative experience. It’s photography but in service of something bigger, something more. It’s often technically flawed but always beautiful, even when it’s horrifying. It’s a great example of transforming the mundanity of the everyday into the universal. The slideshow is currently at Tate Modern and if you’re in London I strongly recommend you experience it. I was mooning over the book after we went to see it this summer, Fi noticed and now I own a copy.

Walking the Line by Richard Long

Any discussion of Land Art or Walking Art will eventually invoke Richard Long. In my dabbling in the latter and interest in the former I’ve come across his work over and over but never really got a sense of what it was about or what drove him, so it is definitely overdue I go deeper. This book, a joint-gift from various relatives, should do the job.

Books I want-but-don’t-need are listed on this corporate wishing service and it occurs to me than in the spirit of decorporatising my online activities I should probably move this onto my website in some form, since it’s just a list with links, though the convenience of adding things is strong so I probably won’t. All told, remember other purchasing avenues are available, and are sometimes actually cheaper these days now Amazon has secured their monopoly.

Anyhoo, plenty to read. Thanks all!