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The Art Newspaper’s Book Club shines a light on art books in their myriad forms and brings you exclusive extracts, interviews, picture galleries and recommendations from leading art world figures. Sign up to our newsletter (👆top right) and follow us on social media using #TANbookclub

What is the curator Chrissie Iles reading during lockdown?

The Whitney Museum of American Art curator delights in learning about the global culture of the Middle Ages and finds lessons for the future in a Cauleen Smith monograph

Chrissie Iles

Festac‘77: The 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (2019) by Ntone Edjabe et al.

“It’s a wonderful encyclopaedic compendium of an incredible gathering of thousands of creators of pan-African black culture in 1977 in Nigeria—and beautifully designed. “

Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It by (2019) by Rhea Anastas et al.

“The ideas around empathy, generosity, selflessness and collaboration that this monograph opens up feel newly serious and urgent now; there is so much to be learnt from this book about how to be with one another in the future.”

Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World Through Illuminated Manuscripts (2019) edited by Bryan C. Keene

“This was a stunning exhibition, and its accompanying book is the first to map out the Middle Ages as a global culture, through its illustrated manuscripts and books.”

Slow Down Fast, A Toda Raja (2019) by Camila Marambio and Cecilia Vicuña

“This slim volume of conversations with the Chilean artist and activist Cecilia Vicuña also offers important lessons for how to build new approaches to the future regarding indigeneity, climate change, and political power, in ways that now feel more urgent than ever.”