Booked Solid / Artist Autobiographies Read up on the always-fascinating lives of artists.
January is a good month to read more. It’s probably a wee bit cold where you live and it’s oh-so-cozy to curl up with a book by a fire (if you're lucky). Plus, artists are never boring. Here are our recommendations for biographies about some of the great artists.
Walk Through Walls, Marina Abramovic
If a performance artist can be a superstar, Abramovic is it. She’s known for her history of shocking, often intense, works of art involving her body. You might remember her 2010 piece for MoMA where she was physically present for the duration of the exhibition, sitting wordlessly across from any visitor who wanted to experience her presence.
Just Kids, Patti Smith
The ground-breaking musician writes about her friendship with acclaimed and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in New York in the late 1960s and 70s. Learn about this time through the eyes of two of the era’s most important artists.
Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography, Andrew Wyeth
Wyeth, one of the most celebrated American realist painters, tells his life story through a series of 137 works. Whether through a lengthy explanation or just a few lines, Wyeth reveals himself by providing the story and inspiration behind every single painting.
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, Sally Mann
This autobiography by the acclaimed photographer Mann was a National Book Finalist in 2015 and made many “best of” lists that year as well. Her story deftly weaves photography and storytelling together and captures life in the American South, in particular.
My Art, My Life: An Autobiography, Diego Rivera
Rivera was a key member of the Mexican muralist movement and was famously married to Frida Kahlo for about ten years. Originally published in 1960, Rivera’s autobiography tells the story of his life and his intertwined romantic, political, and artistic pursuits.
Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama
Recognized for her obsessive polka dot paintings, installations and sculptures, Japanese artist Kusama is one of the most fascinating people out there. She was influential in the New York art scene of the 1960s and 70s, but moved back to Japan in 1977 and checked herself into a psychiatric hospital, where she still resides.
Originally published in 1975, this “autobiography” of Andy Warhol is enigmatic, just like the artist. Don’t expect a straightforward memoir of Warhol—it’s broken into chapters with titles like “Beauty”, “Death,” and “Economics.”