Summer 2020 Reading Recommendation
Summer is already here, and with it, a bit of some time to recharge. The last few months were so intense and full of turmoil. The unknown for what is coming just adds more stress. Yet, this period also gave me more time to read. Recently I started to read more artists’ biographies, thanks to our artistic director Paula Rosell. Reading artists’ biographies give me insights about the artistic mindset. I have read a few great books recently, and I wanted to share it with you. I limited my list to three, so it won’t be overwhelming in number. So without further ado, here are books you should read:
Walk Through Wall – A Memoir, Maria Abramovic
“Art is not just about another beautiful painting that matches your dining room floor. Art has to be disturbing, art has to ask a question, art has to predict the future.”
Born in 1946 in former Yugoslavia, Abramovic is a legendary performance artist who challenged and broke existing borders while creating new ones. Her performances often include mutilation, suffocation, abnegation, fasting, extreme denial, and more.
In this beautiful memoir, she writes in an honest, authentic, and open way about the three Marinas, as she sees them in herself “There is the warrior one. The spiritual one. And there is the bullshit one.”
Throughout the book, she introduces each Marina and takes us into her inner world, sharing her desires, fears, dreams, and realities. Honestly speaking, I didn’t expect a biography to be so compelling. I couldn’t stop reading it, and in the period I read it, getting to this book was the highlight of my day.
Her story demonstrates how much courage, belief, passion, resilience, and persistence are needed for every creator who aspires to make an impact.
“What is Art? I feel that if we see Art as something isolated, something holy and separate from everything, that means its not life. Art must be part of life. Art has to belong to everybody”.
I could have continued quoting Marina and share her stories, but, I will leave it to you to read.
Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the world, Miles J.Unger
“I was alone. Very Much Alone” Picasso
When you hear the name Picasso, what you have in mind? Often I hear Cubism, originality, creativity, passion, and success. This is how we perceive Picasso.
Yet, pushing aesthetic boundaries, like Picasso pushed, usually meant struggling for years, often decades without real income, recognition, or success.
This book tells us the story of the young painter who suffered and endured poverty before becoming the genius we all know today. It describes beautifully the processes and events that led to the creation of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” A painting Picasso drew in 1907 and that many consider as the most important painting of the 20’s century.
Learning about Picasso’s struggles, doubts, and uncertainties, his heartbreaks, and despairs (he waited almost nine years before he publicly exhibited the painting) made me reflect on the sacrifices required for creating something truly innovative.
The public, the art world, and his close friends believed that this creative genius lost it. In that period, “no one else was buying from him [Picasso] anymore” – even his few collectors didn’t want anything with Picasso’s Art. The painter Derain even thought that “one day we would find Picasso had hanged himself behind his great picture, so desperate did this enterprise seem.” “This was the price he had to pay for traveling down a road where few could follow,” wrote Fernande, Picasso’s first lover.
It is an insightful story of the most significant creative disruption that brings the drama, the ups and downs, the despair and delirium of one of the greatest creators we have ever known.
Sparks of Genius, The 13 Thinking Tools of the world’s most creative people, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein
I am often being asked about tools, methods, or exercises that one can do to become a more creative thinker. While this book is almost 21 years old, it is relevant today as it was in 1999. The Root-Bernstein couple has been researching the relationship between art, science, and creativity for a few decades. This book introduces us to the behaviors, skills, and tools that many successful artists and scientists are holding: from Albert Einstein and Mozart to Virginia Woolf.
Do you want to become more original and creative? Well start with these 13 tools: observing, imagining, abstracting, recognizing patterns, forming patterns, analogizing, body thinking, empathizing, dimensional thinking, modeling, playing, transforming, and synthesizing. It is a detailed book with ideas on how you can become a better creative self. I especially recommended to parents who want to build creative thinking in their children.
Let me know what did you read. Which one did you like, and any other books you think we should read as well.
Enjoy the summer.