Next to the episodes on the Back to the Drawing Board podcast, there exists The Bookshelf.
The Bookshelf is my gift to you. On Instagram, every first of the month, I share with you a book that reminds you how to look, gets you in touch with your creativity. These are not just books for artists, nor people who love art. They are books for people that want to learn to look, whether it's at veggies in the grocery store, or other people's body language. They are books that give you the permission to enjoy the mystery, embrace the curiosity and dive in deep. It is in this mystery that the best ideas come about. With that being said, book twenty two on The Bookshelf is..
Ulay: The First Act, Thomas McEvilley
Frank Uwe Laysiepen, known professionally as Ulay, was an artist that passed away just last year (2020). He is world famous and someone that has really cemented his name in the contemporary art landscape. Now, before you click away, hear me out: "Ulay: The First Act" is not just a book about Ulay.
The reason I choose "Ulay: The First Act" as this month's book on The Bookshelf is because this book relays the story of Ulay straight from Ulay's own mouth. I have been thinking lately, and wondering if contemporary art can ever be properly portrayed or understood without the story of the artist right beside it? Can the white, sanitized, object-focused exhibition spaces really show us the magic of contemporary art?
Therefore, reading "Ulay: The First Act" this month is not just about reading about Ulay. It's also about my curiosity as to whether the story of the artist helps us understand the work of the artist. And on a larger scale it's also about my curiosity about the best way to experience contemporary art.... Maybe that's through books? I'm about to find out!