Book Club

Who is Octavia Butler and why is the art world obsessed with her writing?

The late author’s sci-fi stories have inspired artists such as Alberta Whittle, Candice Breitz, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Precious Okoyomon

Ultimate reading lists

Book extracts

In Pictures

Features

‘Don’t smudge’: Paula Rego gives a unique insight into her work as she is interviewed by leading artists

The artist's peers, including Tracey Emin and Marlene Dumas, asked the veteran Portuguese artist about different aspects of her artistic practice for a new book

What now? Lessons for the art world in the BLM and #MeToo era

In a new book Farah Nayeri says that “cancel culture” is nothing new, politics and art have always been intertwined—but now it is citizens, not kings and popes, who call the shots

‘Caravaggio was a major-league asshole’: the long tradition of scandal in art

According to Noah Charney’s new book, infamy in the art world—be it contrived drama to drum up publicity or genuine artistic rivalry—is as old as art itself

What is the art world reading?

Interviews with writers

The best art books for summer 2022—as recommended by artists, curators, museum directors and dealers

From artist biographies and essay collections to a dystopian novel, surf culture and a rock’n’roll autobiography

Compiled by José da Silva and Gareth Harris
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The sensory language of paint, from Matisse banishing blue to Rococo’s love affair with pink

In her new book, Chloë Ashby explores the power of colour in art. Here, she takes us on a whirlwind tour and recommends four other fascinating new books on colour

An expert's guide to Raphael: five must-read books on the Italian Old Master

All you ever wanted to know about Raphael, from a page-turner monograph to a tome of his “irresistible” drawings—selected by the art historian David Ekserdjian

Book Clubreview

Brazilian kinetic and optical art pioneer Abraham Palatnik surveyed in visually remarkable book

The monographic publication Enchantment/Experimentation coincided with an extensive exhibition organised by Galeria Nara Roesler in New York this year

Book Clubinterview

Old Master meets YBAs: James Cahill tells us all about his debut novel

The author explains why his new coming-of-age novel is set against the backdrop of the 1990s art world and what drew him to the paintings of the titular Tiepolo

An expert's guide to Piet Mondrian: four must-read books on the Dutch artist

All you ever wanted to know about Mondrian, from a comprehensive biography to a book about his various studios—selected by the curator Ulf Küster

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What is the life of a muse like? Not as amusing as you may think

The subjects of great works of art have not always led the romanticised life we imagine, as examples from a new book show

An expert's guide to Louise Bourgeois: five must-read books on the French-American artist

All you ever wanted to know about Bourgeois, from the artist in her own words to an illustrated book for children—selected by the Hayward Gallery’s Ralph Rugoff and Katie Guggenheim

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In Pictures | Ukraine before the 2022 Russian invasion, from holidaymakers in Odesa to the frontlines of Mariupol

Mark Neville’s new photobook—of images taken over the past six years—is a call to action that has been sent to hundreds of politicians and other influential people around the world

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Take a fresh look: a new little history of art offers a global perspective

In her forthcoming book, Charlotte Mullins aims to challenge the “myopic prioritisation of male Western art” in earlier art history publications

Five of the best recently published art-inspired novels

Our pick of new fiction with an art theme, from seasoned writers to exciting newcomers

Book Clubinterview

Q&A | Osman Yousefzada on wrapping a department store and having early works destroyed by his family

The artist and designer tells us about his new memoir, which details growing up in Birmingham and taking his mum to a museum for the first time to see his installation of her bedroom

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Extract | Surrealism’s tricky global transformation

The art historian Partha Mitter looks at Surrealism’s uneasy relationship with colonialism and primitivism in this extract from a catalogue accompanying a new Tate show about the movement’s worldwide impact

An expert's guide to Picasso's Blue Period: five must-read books on the Spanish painter's early career

All you ever wanted to know about Picasso’s Blue Period, from the definitive early biography to the journals of his “first great love”—selected by the curator Susan Behrends Frank

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Extract | Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing and painting tips

The Old Master’s advice is among the fascinating facts and illuminating anecdotes gathered in a new compendium called Artifacts

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Extract | What should we do about paintings with racist titles?

In a new book of cultural essays, the Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan ponders whether we should change offensive names given to art—and what that might say about us

An expert’s guide to Georgia O’Keeffe: five must-read books on the American painter

All you ever wanted to know about O’Keeffe, including a comprehensive biography, the artist’s “perfect” novice recipe book, and her letters to photographer Alfred Stieglitz—selected by the curator Theodora Vischer

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In Pictures | Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s

The book, coinciding with a retrospective exhibition at the Menil Collection, explores the “shooting paintings” Saint Phalle made between 1961 and 1963, called Tirs, and other areas of her practice

Book Clubinterview

Q&A | New children’s book delves behind the scenes of the art world

Doro Globus, the managing director of David Zwirner Books, tells us why she decided to write a book highlighting the many jobs that make a great exhibition

Who read what in 2021? The art world shares its top tips

Leading directors, curators and artists reveal their favourite books of the past year

Compiled by Gareth Harris
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Marcel Duchamp monograph released more than 60 years after it first appeared in print

Historic texts by critic Robert Lebel in facsimile edition explore how the conceptual art pioneer adopted his female alter ego and cemented his reputation in America