Books Make Great Gifts 2010: Artist Recommendations, Part II

Here are eleven more book suggestions from artists — books that inspire and perennial favorites and best this year.

Ethel Stein offers a wide-ranging list. The first is a new book by her son, Carl Stein, Greening Modernism: Preservation, Sustainability, and the Modern Movement, which has garnered great reviews including this one from Diane Lewis, a professor of architecture at Cooper Union: “A crisp, radical, and luminous book. Stein’s writing and selection and sequence of images offer an inspiring crystallization of the integrity of architecture and sustainability rooted in the principles of the Modern movement.” (Ethel must be so proud!).

The second is a children’s title,The First Dog, the story of Adam and Eve’s dog, written by Benjamin Cheever and illustrated by Tim Grajek. Finally, she recommends, La Cucina di Lidia: Recipes and Memories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Jay Jacobs, which contains her favorite recipe, Smothered Escarole, which she says is simple and delicious.

Architecture Without Architects, by Bernard Rudofsky, the landmark volume that accompanied the exhibit of the same name at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1964, remains a favorite of Adela Akers. “[V]ernacular architecture does not go through fashion cycles. It is nearly immutable, indeed, unimprovable, since it serves its purpose to perfection,” Rudofsky wrote in his highly influential work. Another favorite of Adela’s is The World From Above (a Terra Magica Book) by Hanns Reich and Otto Bihalji-Merin, a small book of black-and-white images taken from the air.

Presently, Adela is reading books on or about Agnes Martin, including Briony Fer’s essay, “Drawing Drawing: Agnes Martin’s Infinity,” from 3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing by Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz and Agnes Martin, reprinted in Women Artists at the Millennium and “The Untroubled Mind,” by Agnes Martin, which is included in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art – A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings.

Ceca Georgieva made four recommendations, including The Book of Bamboo by Vladislav Bajac, a poet, publisher and novelist who has translated the Beat poets and Leonard Cohen from English into Serbian. His first novel, The Book of Bamboo, has been translated into Bulgarian, French, and Russian but apparently not yet into English, though his award-winning historical novel, Hamam Balkania, has. Ceca also recommends Let Me Tell You a Story, by Jorge Bucay, which one reviewer called, The Book of a Thousand and One Nights in a Paolo Coehlo style. This book can be found in the original Spanish and in French, while Bucay’s The Power of Self Dependence, can be found in an English translation. She also recommends To Have or Be by Erich Fromm and finally, a Bulgarian book, The Herbs: Food and a Cure by Boris Michev, Alipi Naidenov, Sonia Chortanova and Todor Malinov.

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