Wednesday, February 17, 2010

calvin tomkins' "lives of the artists."

image via fargfabriken

above image is maurizio cattelan's Him, 2001. that is adolf hitler, praying. and i only include it because i can't find a decent image of tomkins' book cover and this is far more interesting.

tomkins' book was published in 2008, a collection of articles he wrote throughout the last couple decades on contemporary and living artists -- jeff koons, damien hirst, cindy sherman, maurizio cattelan, and more. it's a fantastic, easy-to-read, easy-to-digest overview of these artists, all of whom are absolute giants in the art world in their own way, and tomkins provides compelling explanations why. he includes interview notes and quotes by the artists that are at turns poignant and hilarious. where it might be easy for him to throw in his own criticisms of the work that he presents (Him by cattelan is one of the examples in that part), he lets the artist do the talking, and gives you, the reader, an opening to check the work out for yourself before you start absorbing others' judgments prior to seeing it yourself.

this is a really cool book; i found it at the library, but if i come across a copy at the bookstore, i might just have to snag this one for my own library. :)

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