ICA LA staff share some of their favorite summer reads straight from the book shelves of our pop-up bookstore curated by Marfa Book Co.. The independent bookstore, publisher, and project space from Marfa, Texas presents its first experimental pop-up at ICA LA with a selection of publishers in the fields of poetry, art, photography, and criticism. Each publisher has been chosen for the depth of their editorial vision, with publications selected to reflect their distinct perspectives from presses based in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S., to Europe and Latin America. Visit the museum to discover the diverse selection of titles, Spanish-language children’s book from LA librería, and exhibition catalogues of ICA LA artists. Dive into these 10 page-turners perfect for those long and luminous days, available at our museum shop. Happy reading!
Books from Marfa Book Co. and Japanese Aji stone bookends from The Good Liver pop-up shops at ICA LA
Angela Y. Davis, ‘Freedom is a Constant Struggle’
Author and activist Angela Y. Davis reminds us that we live in a time of “outrageous injustice”, and that fighting it will be a constant, in this collection of essays, interviews and speeches. Compassion fatigue is not an option. Her continued writing means she is not giving up. To read her work means that we persevere. We must!
Claudia Rankine, ‘Citizen’
We read ‘Citizen’ with the entire student body of Metropolitan High School - a continuation school across the street from the museum - as part of the NEA Big Read in partnership with the City of LA Cultural Affairs Department. Together, we read the prose poem that weaves stories about micro-aggressions of racism, and discussed Rankine’s technique and meaning. In combination with workshops with poet Vanessa Villareal and artist Miwa Matreyek, honest words and images came out of the hearts and minds of the students. A beautiful animation of their work is on view on our YouTube channel.
- Asuka Hisa, ICA LA Director of Learning and Engagement
Danez Smith, ‘Don’t Call Us Dead’
‘Don’t Call Us Dead’ will leave you speechless while simultaneously giving you precious words on how to navigate the world we live in. Smith uses poetry to document, deconstruct and rebuild humanity in a complex, distinct voice. He uses various forms of poetry with intention, especially with the end of ‘litany with blood all over’, where the words “my blood” and “his blood” overlap continuously on the page. Reading this book in its entirety is a journey through time and space, where the poet recalls house parties, living with HIV, and growing up black and queer in the Midwest. If I were to choose one line from the book that embodies this collection of poems, I’d pick “your body is still your body” from the poem ‘a note on the body’. As marginalized people navigate daily life in America, it’s necessary to remember one’s autonomy over oneself.
- Darline Morales, ICA LA Frontline
Eve Babitz, ‘Eve’s Hollywood’
‘Eve’s Hollywood’ is the perfect carefree-summer read. This collection of essays by Eve Babitz is an adventurous exploration of Los Angeles cosmopolitan culture during the post-war era up to the counter culture. Together, these essays take a cool poignant aim at bourgeois frivolity and Hollywood decadence that recalls the prose style of Capote and Nabokov, and the films of Godard and Fellini. I especially love how Babitz captures defiant fashionable Chicanas during the 1950’s in “The Choke” - it reveals her rebellious dash for bohemian and intellectual self-fashioning, that’s to die for. If you’re a fan of Hilton Als’s ‘White Girls’, you’ll appreciate the vintage essaying happening here, too.
- Eduardo Robles, ICA LA Frontline Coordinator
Gato Negro Ediciones
Three captivating titles from this risograph printed, pocketbook series ‘Contemporary? Manifestos!’
Doris Summer, ‘For a Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Lexicon of Cultural Agents’
Luciano Concheiro, ‘A Theory of the Manifesto or a Manifesto for Manifestos’
Juan Caloca, ‘Untitled Manifesto’
- Beth Soroko, ICA LA Advancement Associate
Layli Long Soldier, ‘Whereas’
Layli Long Soldier’s debut collection of poems could be read as a reference to a very particular time in American history and personal trajectory as a response to the Congressional resolution of apology to Native Americans, and to the many acts of violence that has scarred the United States. But she also goes beyond the obvious as an act of bright hallucination, beautifully and seriously beating with rhythm in her veins. It’s a book that also speaks to current times, heavy with identity, crying out loud for this transition in the air being breathed as an art form.
Lygia Pape, ‘Magnetized Space’
Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
This book/catalogue is a guide to the threads of dynamic processes by Brazilian artist Lygia Pape (1927-2004), active in the concrete and non-concretist movements. During her lifetime she remained largely invisible, leaving behind a body of work that aspires simplicity and sophistication. ‘Magnetized Space’ weaves and defines her extremely varied and wide-ranging practice during her lifetime, and is a beautiful overview of getting to know her world and radical career that continues to raise urgent questions today.
- Amanda Maciel Antunes, dosa + mercantile
Glenn Phillips and Philipp Kaiser, ‘Harald Szeemann: Museum of Obsessions’
This comprehensive book accompanies the Getty Research Institute’s exhibition about renowned curator Harald Szeemann. GRI curator Glenn Phillips devoted many years to the study of Szeemann’s massive archive. The illuminating texts, interviews and unpublished archival materials in this 400-page compendium, offer dazzling insights into Szeemann’s singular accomplishment. After exhibiting part of the exhibition at ICA LA, ‘Museum of Obsessions’ is currently touring to the Kunsthalle Bern in Bern, Switzerland, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Rivoli in Turin, Italy through 2019.
Caitlin Murray, ‘Flaubert’s Breath’
Marfa Book Co.
Using the Lydia Davis translation of Gustave Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’, Murray excerpts sentences and paragraphs from the novel that reference breathing and breath, bound in this tiny, blue book with a spiral binding. The combination of Flaubert, Davis, and Murray eloquently evokes the poignant story of Emma Bovary.
- Elsa Longhauser, The Good Works Executive Director
‘Learning to Read with John Baldessari’
Museo Jumex, Mexico City
This playful monograph dedicated to the career of Los Angeles artist, John Baldessari is an education in the relationships between image and language that demystifies Conceptual art. As a leading figure in West Coast conceptualism in the 1960s, Baldessari also influenced subsequent generations of contemporary artists as a teacher at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. ‘Learning to Read with John Baldessari’ is an alphabetical journey through the artist’s pedagogic approach to art-making and its parallels in the classroom. A collection of stories and anecdotes by former students – including Tony Oursler, David Salle and many others – discuss making art with a capital A, under Baldessari’s tutelage. “There are great artists, and there are great teachers but the rare combination of both is reserved for a few. John Baldessari is one of them”, recounts L.A.-based artist, Liz Craft. Baldessari’s ‘A Painting That Is Its Own Documentation’, 1966-1968 is currently on show at the museum as part of the exhibition, ‘This Brush for Hire: Norm Laich & Many Other Artists’, co-curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston.
- Jonathan Velardi, ICA LA Social Media Coordinator
Visit Marfa Book Co. at ICA LA Weds-Fri 11am-7pm and Sat-Sun 11am-6pm. The Marfa Book Co. collaboration with ICA LA is generously underwritten by Michael Silver.