Month: January 2015

Favorite Books on Art

by Lindsey

unnamedIf you know me, you know my love of art is deep and boundless. I can spend hours in a museum. I studied arts administration in grad school (because of aforementioned museum interest). I am fascinated by copyright law and appropriation and controversy. I get really fired up when people don’t like a piece simply because, “I could have done that.” [Insert angry eye roll here.]

What most people don’t know is that I didn’t major in art history at any point. My graduate degree was largely about nonprofit management (with an arts focus, but still). All that to say: I really don’t know that much about art. However, though love of something doesn’t necessarily equal knowledge about something, it typically translates into a desire to know more. Thus, I am an avid reader of books about art/artists/museums/your mom. (Just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention.)

Here are my favorites for all you art history or should-have-been-art-history-majors out there:

The $12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark     (Thompson)

This book offers an exciting look at art economics (artonomics?). Seriously. Why are you laughing? If you’ve ever wondered how, as the cover depicts, a stuffed shark might fetch $12 million, this is the book for you. It covers auctions, dealers, critics, museums, specific artists/sales, and so much more. One of my favorite sections is about how color relates to price/desire.

Seven Days in the Art World     (Thornton)

This title is pretty self-explanatory. Thornton dives head first into seven of the art world’s most well-known arenas, beginning with “The Auction” and ending with “The Biennale.” She offers a wide view of the art world at a specific span of time (the late 2000s) by running its bases for the reader’s benefit.

Lives of the Artists: Portraits of Ten Artists Whose Work and Lifestyles Embody the Future of Contemporary Art     (Tomkins)

Lives of the Artists seems like one of those books you might be assigned in grad school (in a good way). If you can’t tell from my list and a conspiculous lack of Renaissance and ancient art texts, I’m a modern/contemporary art fan. On top of that, I’m fascinated by how artists work, so vignettes into their lives really works for me.

The Rescue Artist     (Dolnick)

Art and crime are two of my favorite subjects. Add them together, and I am a happy, happy girl. Well, I mean, I don’t like crime, per se, but I like reading about crime. Do I wish the Scream had never been stolen? Yes. Do I want to read about it since it was stolen, as this book accounts? YES.

The Participatory Museum     (Simon)

 So, technically this is a book more about museums and less about art/artists…but this is my list, and I’ll put what I want on it.  If you want to get into my niche fascinations with the art/museum world, you’d land squarely into the museums as third places/participatory art experiences/audience cultivation and contribution, etc. So, when I found this book, I fell instantly in love. Nina Simon is my real life, present day hero.  (You should also check out her blog, and feel free to pass along job openings you find at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.)

On my nightstand:

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures     (Wittman)

 This book is in my purse right now, just waiting for lunchtime to roll around. I miss Serial and I need some intrigue in my cultural consumption.

33 Artists in 3 Acts     (Thornton)

Sarah Thornton’s follow up to the aforementioned Seven Days in the Art World gets an automatic spot on my reading list.

What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art     (Gompertz)

The description alone was enough for me to bite: “Every year, millions of museum and gallery visitors ponder the modern art on display and secretly ask themselves, ‘Is this art?’ A former director at London’s Tate Gallery and now the BBC arts editor, Will Gompertz made it his mission to bring modern art’s exciting history alive for everyone, explaining why an unmade bed or a pickled shark can be art—and why a five-year-old couldn’t really do it.” Yes, let’s all learn how a five-year-old really couldn’t do it, folks. Really, really. REALLY.

Happy reading, folks.

Author’s note: I sourced links from Amazon, but, if you want to buy independent, allow me to recommend Parnassus Books.

2015 “Resolutions”

by Kelsey (and a little Lindsey)

Happy 2015, Kittens.

Before we move on to the Resolutions, here’s the thing —

Spoiler Alert: I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions.

If one isn’t likely to begin doing something on any of the other 11 months of the year, there’s nothing about January that will solidify one’s lamentable will power. It’s just not going to happen.

Plus, now that the Christmas season is over, I am fully planning my descent into the veritable Swamp of Sadness (if you caught that reference, we could be friends) a.k.a. January by stocking up on sweatpants and discount-priced Reese’s Christmas Trees. There is nothing about January that makes me want to do anything but watch Netflix.

But that said, I am likely somewhere in the world’s 90th percentile of list-makers and Post-It users (don’t worry, I recycle). So here are some “resolutions” that I’m currently working on or have on my to-do list:

Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer Series

Clearly we’re starting at the easy end of my list. I’ve heard great things about this series for years, and I am all about shows/films with a strong female lead. Lindsey has also been on my case to watch it. I’m almost through with the first season, and I have no regrets. It also has a surprising lineup of one-liners that make me laugh, which I wasn’t anticipating. Also, it was made in the 90s, so have some understanding in the special effects department.

Stop Comparing Myself to Strangers on the Internet (via Emily McDowell)

This print and mantra is on the top of my 1) to purchase list and 2) to do list. It’s just so true. I follow so many friends and also inspirational designers/writers/creators on Instagram/Twitter/Blogs etc., that it’s easy to be discouraged comparing what seems like my meager existence to all of these rock stars. Things are never really what they seem: STOP. IT.

Be Grateful

I am a pessimist. This is often projected as a predetermined setting, which vindicates all culpability for one’s own perspective. I don’t really think this is true, but I also know that changing something so deeply ingrained is difficult and lengthy. And although I also don’t think that all pessimists are deeply unhappy trolls of sadness, that mindset does not lend itself to one of gratefulness (or health/happiness). Thus, one of my biggest current undertakings. How to go about this? See some tips/more info at FastCompany and NYTimes.

Mindfulness Meditation

I have a meditation book on my Kindle that I’ve restarted about 3 different times throughout the past 2-3 years. I know that meditation has amazing benefits (via FastCompany), but I find it very difficult to do. That said, mindfulness meditation is again making its way to the top of my agenda. See also FastCo’s other articles for people who hate meditation here — a look at the evolution of mindfulness in modern culture here — and as a combat for anxiety here.

Reading Bedtime

Guys, screens are bad for us (she types, staring at a screen). Recently I’ve been trying to set a “reading bedtime” for myself, where one hour before I plan to go to sleep, I shut off all of my screens and read. If you have an issue with falling asleep while reading at night, I might suggest not reading in bed (check out that underutilized couch/chair instead) or go to bed earlier (9:00 PM goal for this lady). And it’s so much easier on my brain to check-out when I get home from work by watching Netflix. Largely due to this committed relationship with Netflix, my reading game is getting behind. Reading bedtime FTW.

Learn to Code

With the plethora of resources (many free) at our disposal these days, there is no excuse for not getting out there to gain some coding skills. And ladies, we’re behind.  And the benefits are many, from website building to career advancing.

Now, I’ll turn this over to Lindsey for a couple of her current goals…

Get Healthy

Yes, I realize everyone and their mom (literally) wants to lose weight, blah blah blah after the holidays. I’ve been that person. This year, however, I’m trying something new for health reasons. As I mentioned, I put on a lot of medication-related weight this year. As a result, my cholesterol isn’t the greatest. Thus, I’m starting January with the Whole30 (basically really strict paleo) challenge and an exercise routine. I’m not one to follow fad diets, but I figure a hard switch to veggies and such should help me initially lessen my junk eating habits. I turn 30 in 2016 (aaarrrrggggghhhh!), so now is a good time to get healthy for good, don’t you think?

Planner Time

I’ve been a slacker when it comes to writing down life’s moments and keeping organized. I bought my old stand-by, and I’m ready to start filling it up.


You know those people who only floss a week before the dental appointment (out of fear) and a week after (out of fresh motivation)? That’s me. I always say I’ll do better, and then lazily brush and go to sleep. Well, I’ve got a pack of those flosser stick things, and I’m ready to show plaque who’s boss.

Whatever your resolutions (or lack of), we’re hoping great things for 2015.