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I am just posting this out of curiousity and a need for a serious distraction from the admissions waiting game.

Anyone else intimidated by art history/art theory? Does anyone else have a list of books they feel that the need to get to at some point? What are you reading or what have you read?

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I had to create a bibliography for one of my applications, but I feel a bit like the stuff I picked wasn't serious enough. I borrowed "The Craft Reader" from a friend, but i haven't looked at it yet, because it's gigantic.

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I looked up "The Craft Reader" on Amazon and it looks like pretty heavy reading to me. Mentioning books in applications is tricky business, because even if you've read it, studied it, and written about it, it can come off like you're just saying what someone else wants to hear. I don't like jargon filled theory, but I'm a philosophy junkie. I like Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty. I also like Danto's Andy Warhol, because it's smart and written in plain English.

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probing a stack of philosophy books... Started by reading on a specific artist I was curious about and then one thing led to another, now I'm in deep mud but loving the reading and I can already see that it will help me with my art practice BIG TIME....

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I have to say I love Grant Kester's two books, Conversation Pieces and The One and The Many. They may not be relevant to most of the practices I see on this forum, they are focused on social practice/collaborative work, but they are excellent books. He teaches at UCSD.

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This is an odd thread, maybe misplaced. I thought art students hate reading. At least this is what I often hear from other disciplines outside art departments. Myself, I read very little art books. Although, I do make it a duty to read my monthly ARTFORUM. I do read 3 to 6 hours everyday, mostly analytic philosophy books. Im currently reading "The Linguistic Turn" by the pragmatist Richard Rorty and "Philosophy and Conceptual Art" edited by Peter Goldie. And I agree with randomroad, Danto's "Andy Warhol" was a fun read.

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This is an odd thread, maybe misplaced. I thought art students hate reading. At least this is what I often hear from other disciplines outside art departments. Myself, I read very little art books. Although, I do make it a duty to read my monthly ARTFORUM. I do read 3 to 6 hours everyday, mostly analytic philosophy books. Im currently reading "The Linguistic Turn" by the pragmatist Richard Rorty and "Philosophy and Conceptual Art" edited by Peter Goldie. And I agree with randomroad, Danto's "Andy Warhol" was a fun read.

'

black people like watermelons and fried chicken - oh and Asians love math

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Depending on the program, it'd be wise to become familiar with:

Walter Benjamin

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Theodor Adorno

Michel Foucault

Susan Sontag

Maybe Slavoj Zizek

this book on Robert Irwin

http://lawrencewesch...-thing-one-sees

You can check out books by Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith, Dave Hickey. Some folks still want you to read Clement Greenberg...,

There are a lot of people writing about new genres, social media, visual culture. It can get overwhelming. If you want a head start, you might peek at your fav University's reading list.

Edited by fine mess
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Rorty-Rorty: I also subscribe to Artforum, but I admit I don't always slog through the writing. I read Harpers, New Yorker, and Cabinet though my subscriptions are all running out. I think It's a good idea to be generally informed as well as know what's going on in your field.

I forgot to mention any old school aesthetic philosophers. If you've never taken any courses on aesthetics, prepare to start with Plato and move on up to Continental Postmodernists.

Edited by fine mess
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I looked up "The Craft Reader" on Amazon and it looks like pretty heavy reading to me.

I guess? I've read a lot of similar stuff like the Craft Perceptions & Practice series, I think I'm just crafted out for the moment. Also, coming from a craft discipline, sometimes I don't know what else I could be reading.

Edited by forestine
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Rorty-Rorty: I also subscribe to Artforum, but I admit I don't always slog through the writing. I read Harpers, New Yorker, and Cabinet though my subscriptions are all running out. I think It's a good idea to be generally informed as well as know what's going on in your field.

I forgot to mention any old school aesthetic philosophers. If you've never taken any courses on aesthetics, prepare to start with Plato and move on up to Continental Postmodernists.

Those publications are nutritious as well. However, there are ALOT of art magazines to choose from, it just depends on what your interests are. But, i do think Artforum is my favorite. There is also a great book for artists by philosopher Joseph Margolis titled, "What, After All, Is a Work of Art?".

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Margolis sounds interesting-thanks!

Personally, when it comes to art mags I'm looking to see what everyone is up to (as much as possible) and who's making the most challenging work so Artforum is my choice. I once cancelled my subscription because they ignored Chicago, but their coverage seems to have picked up a lot since then (some years ago).

Plus, with all the full page ads, Artforum is an attractive thing to look at. Magazines like Art News and Art in America are pretty lukewarm in comparison. I used to like Frieze and Modern Painters but haven't looked at those for a long time.

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Here's some of my recommendations:

The Open Work by Umberto Eco,

The Plague of Fantasies by Slavoj Zizek

In the Context of No Context by George W.S. Trow

The Nineties: When Surface was Depth by Michael Bracewell

Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino

Writing Spaces: Computers, Hypertext and the Remediation of Print by Jay David Boulter

Inside the White Cube by Brian O'Doherty

Although of course you end up becoming yourself: a road trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky

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Art theory and philosophy books are great, but personally I also find a lot of my inspiration through fiction and poetry. Usually the more experimental variety. I'd recommend Jeannette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry and Oranges are Not the Only Fruit for the off-beat and thrilling use of imagery--her novels and poetry have definitely influenced my painting. Also Margaret Atwood's Good Bones.

I'm interested in writing as well, and I find that great fiction writing really resonates with me as a visual artist.

Edited by canarybones
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I think good MFA programs know the value of interdisciplinary influences. In fact, some of them stress an understanding of interdisciplinary research in their program description. I'm hoping the connections I made to writing in my statement of purpose carry some weight.

Canarybones, if writing resonates with you as a visual artist I highly recommend "The Triggering Town" (writing about writing, but I think you can replace "write" with "paint" in any paragraph) by Richard Hugo.

The OP is talking about theory and crit related to academic coursework though, I think.

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R. Mutt,

Are you looking for a theoretical framework to suit your work? If so, a word of advice is to avoid over-use of academic language. Don't kill off your unique perspective with too much jargon. I don't know if it's true or not but I've read that reviewers think of overly academic writing as the kiss of death in a statement. Take that with a grain of salt though, I have no idea if it's accurate. I do believe that writing clearly and honestly about your work is key.

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when you want to get away from art babble:

'Incognito'- David Eagleman (Neuroscience)

'War of the Worldviews' - Deepak Chopra & Leonard Mlodinow (essay debates between science & religion)

Nothing - Frank Close (vacuums, voids & other shit about the quantum world)

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