I love reading. I’ve always loved reading, and I’ve never really been a discriminating reader. I love novels, short stories, and long-form non-fiction as much as I enjoy perusing the occasional obituary or classified ad that I might come across in some stray newspaper. In Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor writes that “people without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything, because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have experience.” In my more philosophical moments, I like to think that I live by these words, and that everything I read—be it a tome or a blurb—is crucial to my experience as a human being.
Looking at art is a way to have experience as well, and if we believe O’Connor, long looks at art allow us to see past what’s easily visible in our time and place. (O’Connor also writes that if you want to be a writer, you should take up painting, but that’s a subject for another blog post.) Before I get too dreamy here, let me just impart that looking at art, coupled with reading about art, is a truly exhilarating way in which to meaningfully experience worlds past, present and future.
My love of reading and art led me to review art books, but over the last year or so, I’ve written fewer and fewer reviews. I’ve still been reading art books, but the demands of my gallery job and other writing commitments haven’t allowed me to thoughtfully review them. This fall, I made the decision to leave my gallery gig and devote myself more fully to writing projects. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Hol’s founder, Greg Albers, approached me to see if I’d be interested in working for Hol when he moved on to Getty Publications. As Hol’s new managing editor, I’m excited to talk about art books that I admire, respect or wrangle with. I’ll be using this blog to consider art books and writing, as well as the genre’s place in literature at large. In the process, I hope to freshly reflect on Hol’s engaging, thoughtful list of art books.
These blogged musings will (hopefully) offer you—the reader—an invigorated experience of art writing old and new. If you ever have a question or comment on these posts, please don’t be a stranger. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.