Book Club

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

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

Sackler family: three takeaways from a new book about the dynasty’s rise and fall

The publication claims Nan Goldin may have been tailed by investigators and reveals how the Met lost out to the Smithsonian thanks to a lack of flattery from its director

What is the art world reading?

Interviews with writers

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

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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

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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

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Highs and lows of humanity reflected in new book that began on Facebook

The Book of Change includes almost 300 works, highlighting environmental challenges but giving glimpses of a better world

An expert's guide to Land Art: five must-read books on art and the environment

Books that make connections between art and the current climate crisis, chosen by the curator and author Ben Tufnell

Last photograph of Lucian Freud’s stolen Francis Bacon portrait published for first time

Image taken at Neue Nationalgalerie moments before the 1988 theft features in a new book of the artist’s copper paintings

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How the Beano encouraged generations of artists to break the rules

We asked eight artists about the comic's influence ahead of a new exhibition exploring the publication's history and featuring contemporary art with that "Beano sensibility"

An expert’s guide to Albrecht Dürer: five must-read books on the Renaissance artist

All you ever wanted to know about Dürer, from the Old Master’s own accounts of his achievements and mishaps, to a recent creative take on his travels—selected by the art historian Susan Foister

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In Pictures | How Gianfranco Gorgoni captured the mysticism of the Land Art movement

More than 150 rarely-seen photographs chronicle the history of seminal earthworks in the landscape

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In Pictures | Behind the scenes of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work wrapping the Arc de Triomphe

A new book looks at the detailed preparations and 60 years of planning behind the work being unveiled in Paris

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Extract | How the colours in ancient Pompeian frescoes ‘spoke’ to Mark Rothko

A new book by the art historian Ben Street attempts to demystify how we look at art and argues for reacting instinctively to what we see