BURNAWAY's Best of 2015: Good Reads

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From exhibition catalogues and magazines to literature, here’s what engrossed our experts this year.

Kirsten Stolle's Only You Can Prevent A Forest on view at Halsey Institute through Dec 10, 2022

Barry Hannah. (Photo: Garden and Gun)
Barry Hannah. (Photo: Garden and Gun)

Daniel Fuller (Atlanta)
Curator at Atlanta Contemporary
Since arriving in the South, I have been on a massive Southern Lit kick. Barry Hannah has long been my favorite writer, and being down here has allowed me to meet people who knew him. If you go to the bar upstairs at City Grocery on the square, there sits writer after writer, many with stories of Hannah sitting there with a Coca-Cola, telling stories, telling jokes.
I love magazines: Art Papers of course. Mousse has become my favorite not from Atlanta.
I also love Fantastic Man, The Gentlewoman, Lucky Peach, Marfa Journal, The Paris Review, and Gravy Quarterly from the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the cover of New York magazine, July 13-26, 2015.

Erica Ciccarone (Nashville)
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is The Fire Next Time of our age. Like Baldwin did in 1963, Coates addresses the racial crisis in America with urgency, condemning police violence against black Americans and the social violence that cultivates and allows racism to fester. Writing to his 14-year-old son, Coates describes the exclusionary white dream pervasive in the American imagination, a dream that is only possible because of the subjugation of black and brown people. Toni Morrison called the book required reading for all Americans, and I enthusiastically agree.

The November-December 2015 issue of Art Papers.

Lisa Tuttle (Atlanta)
Artist, Public Art Administrator at Fulton County Arts & Culture
Loving my renewed subscription to New Yorker: best writing (long essay, political, fiction, poetry, cartoons, reviews) anywhere, I think!
Recent edition of Art Papers, November-December 2015: lovely and restrained, but surprising combination of text and image.
Everything BURNAWAY, of course! Livelier by the issue – good job, Stephanie! [Ed. note: Well, golly, thanks Lisa!]

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 9.50.18 AM
Joe Nolan (Nashville)
Writer, artist, musician
My favorite art read this year was the new edition of Abstract Expressionism by David Anfam. The book looks at the vast influence the movement had and continues to have on American art, and attempts to document its impact while also acknowledging that objectivity can be hard to achieve when judging the relatively recent revolution.

Robert Storr, featured in The Observer.
Robert Storr, “How Today’s Art Critics Sucks, Especially Jerry Saltz,” featured on Observer.com.

Rebecca Lee Reynolds (New Orleans)
Assistant professor of art history at University of New Orleans
I decided to figure out what “post-Internet art” is. This article helped: Brian Droitcour, “The Perils of Post-Internet Art,” Art in America (November 2014).
I love a good diatribe: Jonathan Jones, “Grayson Perry Review—Like being trapped in a room full of trendy folk talking bollocks,” The Guardian (22 May 2015).
A credible use of cat GIFs in art criticism: Cassie Packard, “9 Thoughts on Funhouse Art, Now with Cat GIFs!,” Hyperallergic (July 31, 2015).
Sara Estes’s “Burning Questions” column on BURNAWAY: I love these! And they come in handy for professional development classes with art students.
Critics slamming critics: Ryan Steadman, “Yale Art Dean Robert Storr on How Today’s Art Critics Suck, Especially Jerry Saltz,” Observer  (April 10, 2015).

The catalogue for "The Power of Pictures," an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York that will appear at Nashville's Frist Center in 2016.
The catalogue for “The Power of Pictures,” an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York that will appear at Nashville’s Frist Center in 2016.

Vesna Pavlović (Nashville)
Artist, assistant professor of art at Vanderbilt University
Susan Tumarkin Goodman’s essay “Avant-Garde and After: Photography in the Early Soviet Union” in the catalogue for “The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film” currently at the Jewish Museum, New York. It’s a detailed overview of early Soviet photography and its role in state propaganda. I look forward to seeing this exhibition at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts [March 11-July 4].

studio & Cube
Mary Addison Hackett (Nashville)
My favorite read is a three-part concoction that touches on aspects of production, place, labor, and meaning:
Studio and Cube, On the relationship between where art is made and where art is displayed, by Brian O’Doherty.
The exhibition catalogue for Chantal Akerman’s “Too Far, Too Close” at M HKA in Antwerp, Belgium.
A Manual for the Immaterial Worker by Bureau for Open Culture.

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