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A captivating tour of the bookshelves of ten leading artists, exploring the intricate connections between reading, artistic practice, and identity Taking its inspiration from Walter Benjamin's seminal 1931 essay, the Unpacking My Library series charts a spirited exploration of the reading and book collecting practices of today's leading thinkers. Artists and Their Books showcases the personal libraries of ten important contemporary artists based in the United States (Mark Dion, Theaster Gates, Wangechi Mutu, Ed Ruscha, and Carrie Mae Weems), Canada (Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller), and the United Kingdom (Billy Childish, Tracey Emin, and Martin Parr). Through engaging interviews, the artists discuss the necessity of reading and the meaning of books in their lives and careers. This is a book about books, but it even more importantly highlights the role of literature in shaping an artist's self-presentation and persona. Photographs of each artist's bookshelves present an evocative glimpse of personal taste, of well-loved and rare volumes, and of the individual touches that make a bookshelf one's own. The interviews are accompanied by "top ten" reading lists assembled by each artist, an introduction by Jo Steffens, and Marcel Proust's seminal essay "On Reading."
New York im Jahr 2001. Große Ziele hatten sich die drei Freunde aus wohlsituierten Verhältnissen einst gesetzt. Jetzt sind sie um die dreißig und müssen feststellen, dass sie ihren Erwartungen nicht gerecht geworden sind. Marina ist ohne festen Job, ihre Freundin Danielle hat zwar eine feste Stelle, weiß aber nichts mit ihr anzufangen, und Julius gelingt es mehr schlecht als recht, seinen aufwändigen Lebensstil mit dem Schreiben von Literaturkritiken zu finanzieren. Ein jeder für sich versuchen sie, das moralische und ideelle Vakuum, in dem sie leben, zu füllen, und nicht einmal der intellektuelle Übervater der Generation – Marinas Vater, der Journalist Murray Thwaite – ahnt, was ihnen allen droht. Da taucht aus der Provinz Marinas Cousin Bootie auf, und seine Ambitionen stellen sie alle gefährlich bloß, kurz bevor der 11. September ihre ganze Welt verändert.
As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object—whether pristine collectible or battered relic—is growing as well. Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favorite novelists who share their collections with readers. Stunning photographs provide full views of the libraries and close-ups of individual volumes: first editions, worn textbooks, pristine hardcovers, and childhood companions. In her introduction, Leah Price muses on the history and future of the bookshelf, asking what books can tell us about their owners and what readers can tell us about their collections. Supplementing the photographs are Price's interviews with each author, which probe the relation of writing to reading, collecting, and arranging books. Each writer provides a list of top ten favorite titles, offering unique personal histories along with suggestions for every bibliophile. Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books features the personal libraries of Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Díaz, Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud and James Wood, Philip Pullman, Gary Shteyngart, and Edmund White.
Ronald Brooks Kitaj (1932-2007), born in Ohio (USA), was one of the most important artists Unpacking My Library2in London's art scene of the 1960s. He was a fervent reader and book collector and his colourful and sometimes provocative paintings contain many political, philosophical and literary references. Kitaj's Jewish identity played an important role in his life and work. Bringing together paintings from collections around the world and a series of screen prints of book covers that Kitaj made in 1969-70 with the master printer Chris Prater, the exhibition Unpacking My Library offers a fascinating insight into Kitaj's unique Jewish, bibliophile sensibility. The series In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part reflects the humour and irony with which Kitaj questioned the role of spirituality and morals in the modern age. The exhibition takes place in the print room.00Exhibition: Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (20.03.-12.07.2015).
Short-listed for the Art and Christian Enquiry/Mercers' International Book Award 2009: 'a book which makes an outstanding contribution to the dialogue between religious faith and the visual arts'. What does modern Jewish art look like? Where many scholars, critics, and curators have gone searching for the essence of Jewish art in Biblical illustrations and other traditional subjects, Rosen sets out to discover Jewishness in unlikely places. How, he asks, have modern Jewish painters explored their Jewish identity using an artistic past which is- by and large - non-Jewish? In this new book we encounter some of the great works of Western art history through Jewish eyes. We see Matthias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece re-imagined by Marc Chagall (1887-1985), traces of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca in Philip Guston (1913-1980), and images by Diego Velazquez and Paul Cezanne studiously reworked by R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007). This highly comparative study draws on theological, philosophical and literary sources from Franz Rosenzweig to Franz Kafka and Philip Roth. Rosen deepens our understanding not only of Chagall, Guston, and Kitaj but also of how art might serve as a key resource for rethinking such fundamental Jewish concepts as family, tradition, and homeland.

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