2020 Reading List

It's no surprise that our favorite books have both substance and style. We're partial to monographs and biographies that look great on our shelves, but the selections below reflect themes that kept us inspired in 2020. While no simple thread connects them all, our time working remotely left us curious to learn more about artists whose oeuvre of work is grounded in a studio practice, as well as those for whom art and life are intertwined. Read on for a bit more background on our favorite titles enjoyed this past year.

We have long been fans and friends of Bosco Sodi. His latest monograph is one of few words, but none are really needed. The work speaks for itself, and the depth and quality of color showcased within its pages is at once calming and invigorating. Architectural Digest provided further background into Bosco's life and practice with their feature on his home, designed with Atelier Decada. Long a collaborator with architects like Tadao Ando and Kengo Kuma, Sodi clearly understands how to create an inviting and intriguing space.

Left: Hart, Dakin, Bonet, Juan Manuel, & Abrams, Matthew J. Bosco Sodi. Rizzoli, New York, July 07, 2020. Right: A living area of the artist's home in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, published in the December 2020 issue of Architectural Digest.

Josef Albers - like so many famed artists before and after his time - found incredible inspiration during his time spent in Mexico. While "Josef Albers in Mexico" serves as an incredible burst of color for a coffee table, its interior explains the ongoing fascination of artists and designers in their almost religious desire to pilgrimage and dwell in Mexico. As William Gray transitions into developing more material collections, we've returned to Albers' "Interactions of Color" to ground our palette research. Hand in hand, these two books - one focused on history and the other on technique - give a well rounded look at Albers life and work, and are almost encyclopedic in their ability to inform practical design decisions.

Left: Barriendos, Joaquin. Josef Albers in Mexico. New York, Guggenheim Museum Publications, November 21, 2017. Right: Albers, Josef. Interaction of Color (50th Anniversary Edition). New Haven, Yale University Press, 2013.

Ruth Asawa herself was a disciple of Mexican art and design, having initially learned how to weave with wire while visiting with master artisans there in 1947. While the most recent monograph of Asawa's work offers a beautiful visual and critical background to her work, Marilyn Chase's unofficial biography of the artist adds a deeper look into her dedication to motherhood and early childhood education. In a year when most were coming to terms with the reality of work/life balance, Asawa is quite the role model of an artist who did not sacrifice family or morality for the sake of professional gain.

Bell, Tiffany & Storr, Robert. Ruth Asawa. New York, David Zwirner, 2018. Right: Chase, Marilyn. Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, April 7, 2020.

"Living In" was our studio-wide gift at Meyer Davis this year - an incredible compendium of intriguing, unique, and warm living environments to inspire further connection to home. There's not much more to say aside from if you are considering reshuffling your home this year, start high and look here for a conceptual grounding of your decision making. Our favorite "chapter" is one focused on the home of Pedro Reyes and Carla Fenández in Mexico City. Its concrete structures could easily feel cold, but similar to the work of Luis Barragan, the duo's sensibility creates an unexpected warmth.

Left: Trotter, Andrew & Vidal, Mariluz. Living In, Modern Masterpieces of Residential Architecture. Berlin, gestalten, 2020. Right: A double height living room lined with books at the Reyes-Fernandez residence and studio in Mexico City, designed by Pedro Reyes.

When thinking of unique homes, it's pretty hard to make a list without including Ricardo Bofill's "La Fábrica." While others have published books on Bofill, we love the interpretation done by Apartamento, which features a short story set at the cement factory turned monumental home, as well as new photography by Nacho Alegre.

Left: Labanda, Jordi. La Fábrica. Barcelona, apartamento, November, 2018. Right: An interior of La Fábrica, photographed by Nacho Alegre.

Coincidentally, the book with the least amount of pictures on this list is by an artist known for flamboyance, color, and grit. "I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going" is a memoir by artist Peter McGough that recounts his relationship and artistic practice with David McDermott, as well as his experience of living with AIDS in the 1990s.

Left: McGough, Peter. I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s. New York City, Pantheon, September, 17, 2019. Right: Notes from the current studio of Peter McGough in Bushwick, Brooklyn, published in T Magazine, September 16, 2019.

We're hoping to return to museums on a regular basis very soon, and have been reminded this year of MoMA's incredible retrospective of Charles White that closed in early 2019. Moving and educational, the catalogue produced is full of history and beautiful representations of White's expansive body of work. The artist's hand is visible in each piece reproduced for the book, a great resource for any who draw and sketch regularly.

Left: Oehler, Sarah Kelly & Adler, Esther. Charles White: A Retrospective. Art Institute of Chicago. June 19, 2018. Right: CHarles White, Love Letter III, 1977.